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Old Main Line Photo Tour

B&O Old Main Line
Modern day photo tour

Accompanying each photo below are:

Click a photo to see a larger view. Please send your comments and corrections to Steve.


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Lynn Burke Road

Lynn Burke Road
Mile: 43.9 Date: May 2001
Ease: A View: SW
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 32 B 13 Topographic Maps

Yet another arched bridge, this time over Lynn Burke Road. This is the only stone arched bridge along the OML whose sole purpose remains to span a road. The road looks to have been a fairly significant one before I-70 severed its connection to Frederick Road, the original National Pike. Now, residents of a small group of homes trapped between the OML and I-70 are the primary users of this passage.


CSX 381

CSX 381
Mile: 44.2 Date: Jan 2005
Ease: B View: E
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 32 A 13 Topographic Maps

Headlights overcome the approaching dusk of a cold winter afternoon. Coal empties are going back to the mines for a refill.


Bush Creek

Bush Creek
Mile: 44.7 Date: Jan 2005
Ease: D+ View: N
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 31 K 13 Topographic Maps

The second-largest stone arch bridge on the OML (the Carrollton Viaduct is larger) is found here. It dates to around 1900 when built as part of the Mt. Airy Cutoff.

The other side of this bridge can be seen from I-70 in non-leaf season. Look south from eastbound I-70 shortly before the truck weigh station.


Railfan House

Railfan House
Mile: 45.0 Date: Jan 2005
Ease: C View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 31 K 13 Topographic Maps

Closer to the tracks than any other home along the OML, this beautifully rustic stone house at the mp 45 grade crossing was the OML railfan's dream abode. The house appeared to predate the railroad, but sadly, was demolished in either 2007 or 2008. The original (pre-Mt. Airy Cutoff) B&O route traversed about 1000 feet south (left) of this spot.

Links: Chessie Steam Special pic 1977, more about the Chessie Steam Special


CSX 505
NEW! Apr 2009

CSX 505
Mile: 45.6 Date: Mar 2009
Ease: C+ View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 40 H 1 Topographic Maps

CSX 505 and CSX 4838 lead eastbound another mile-long procession of loaded coal hoppers past an old farm grade crossing.


Davis Branch
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Davis Branch
Mile: 46.1 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: B View: S
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 40 G 1 Topographic Maps

This is the westermost of the stone arched bridges constructed around 1902 for the Mt. Airy Cutoff. Note the water flow follows what appears to be a bend in the bridge... actually these are two separate bridges. The one in the distance is the disused circa 1830 original. It can be seen more closely on the Mt. Airy Planes Western approach tour page.


Monrovia

Monrovia
Mile: 46.2 Date: May 2001
Ease: A View: N
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 40 F 1 Topographic Maps

Standardization? What's that? Here's yet another bridge with a unique design. This one spans Green Valley Road, Rt 75, in Monrovia.

This is the only 2-lane wide, century-old road bridge I've seen along the OML.


Rural

Rural
Mile: 46.4 Date: Sep 2005
Ease: A View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 40 F 1 Topographic Maps

West of Monrovia, the scene becomes progressively more rural as the tracks and I-70, adjacent pals since before Mt. Airy, part company.

In this vicinity, the ADC maps block off an "Intercoastal Industrial Center" but there are more empty fields than industry here so far. The grade crossing in the foreground provides utility access.

For future reference, note the concrete Whistle post on the left.


Mt. Airy Cutoff

Mt. Airy Cutoff
Mile: 46.5 Date: Sep 2005
Ease: A View: E
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 40 F 1 Topographic Maps

There's the same Whistle post as seen from the opposite direction.

This non-descript location is significant because it is the western terminus of the Mt. Airy Cutoff. Click on the picture to enlarge it, then look carefully at the bottom right, and you may spot the rusty rail hiding in the weeds. That rail is an artifact left over from the OML's original alignment.

Prior to the construction of Mt. Airy Tunnel and Cutoff, from here east to Bush Creek, the original alignment had run roughly parallel just to the south. Upon opening of the Cutoff route in 1902, the original alignment was abandoned, except for a portion that survived for decades as a siding into Monrovia.

A virtual tour of this disused original alignment appears on other pages at this site.


UT Test

UT Test
Mile: 46.6 Date: Sep 2005
Ease: B+ View: S
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 40 E 1 Topographic Maps

UT = Ultrasonic Test

The same technique used for some medical tests, such as checking a developing fetus, can be employed for non-destructive evaluation of steel rails. In a UT rail test, an instrument generates sound waves in the rail, then monitors how the waves bounce back. Internal defects and irregularities in the steel cause the waves to bounce back in a distinctive manner the instrument can detect.

The punched out information on the tag says this test had been performed here on February 23, 2005. An odd-looking ribbon rail weld nearby may have been the reason for the test.

I suspect "UT test" is redundant in the same way "ATM machine" and "PIN number" are.


Corny

Corny
Mile: 47.0 Date: Sep 2005
Ease: B View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 40 D 1 Topographic Maps

A new cash crop for CSX? An ear for railfanning? Aww, shucks, very corny.

It's late in the season, but this determined plant found a home in the ballast and produced a tiny ear of corn.


Cornfield

Cornfield
Mile: 47.2 Date: Sep 2005
Ease: B View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 40 D 1 Topographic Maps

That green stuff between the rails? Yes, that's more corn. In the spring, the door on a passing hopper car rumbled open, and left a trail of corn kernels behind. It amazes me that the seeds found enough soil and moisture to grow within the ballast, however something tells me these will not get much taller...


Bridge 32 1/4

Bridge 32 1/4
Mile: 47.4 Date: Sep 2005
Ease: B View: N
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 40 D 1 Topographic Maps

This example is the largest of a series of small culverts/bridges in this vicinity; according to B&O Roadway maps, it goes by the name "32 1/4".

The mortarless construction says this bridge dates to the 1830s, and the stone shelf suggests it had previously had a stone arch. I suspect the arch was a casualty of regrading necessitated by the Mt. Airy Cutoff.

Like all the bridges along the route, it is wide enough to accommodate double track, but has hosted single since the 1950s.


Double Culvert

Double Culvert
Mile: 47.9 Date: Jul 2005
Ease: C+ View: NW
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 40 B 1 Topographic Maps

What do you do when there's more water than a single culvert can handle, but not enough vertical clearance for an arched bridge? Why, you build a double culvert of course. This one dates to the 1830s. There's another example of the double design along a disused ROW in the vicinity of Hartman Tunnel. That one and this are the only two I know of.


Trackwork

Trackwork
Mile: 48.9 Date: Jul 2005
Ease: B View: S
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 39 K 1 Topographic Maps

Recent trackwork by CSX left this farm's grade crossing in need of repair. The small bridge ahead spans Bush Creek.


Crossing Ahead

Crossing Ahead
Mile: 49.2 Date: Jul 2005
Ease: B View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 39 J 3 Topographic Maps

The Whistle post warns of a crossing ahead. We're approaching Ijamsville.

CSX pulled out the OML's utility poles around the same time it installed new signals, consequently few photos exist of the OML with the old poles and new signals.


Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard
Mile: 49.5 Date: May 2004
Ease: B View: E
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 39 J 3 Topographic Maps

This is the reverse view of the prior, snapped a year earlier while the CPL signals were still on duty.


Ijamsville

Ijamsville
Mile: 49.6 Date: May 2001
Ease: A View: SE
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 39 J 3 Topographic Maps

Sleepy Ijamsville sits quietly along the OML, its slate quarry closed long ago. The B&O used to have a station here, but I don't believe that it was the disused brick building shown. I don't know what this building housed. The grade crossing is that of Mussetter Road.

Reader Nick Fry writes:

    "Steve, the brick structure in Ijamsville is the former general store. I live near the area and have done some research on both Ijamville and Monrovia. Both towns were destroyed by the Great Depression, specifically in 1930 when the local bank failed, taking all of the other businesses with it. Across the road from the front of the store in Ijamsville is the site of an old mill that as of the early 1990's was in ruins but standing. Apparently CSX or the county had those ruins torn down. The (former B&O) station in Ijamsville is on the other side of the tracks about 50 feet or so east from the site of the old store. According to an article from the Frederick News Post that I got from the Historical Society of Frederick Co., there was a concrete slab from the foundation visible until the 1970's."


Slate Quarry
Photo courtesy MD Geological Survey
NEW! Nov 2008

Slate Quarry
Mile: 49.7 Date: ~1900
Ease: B View: NE
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 39 J 3 Topographic Maps

Ijamsville's slate quarry opened in the 1700s. It relied more on mining than quarrying, and in 1870 the mining tunnels caused the collapse of the adjacent railroad trackage. At that point, the quarry closed, never to reopen.


Reichs Ford Road
NEW! Nov 2008

Reichs Ford Road
Mile: 50.2 Date: Oct 2008
Ease: B+ View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 39 G 2 Topographic Maps

Here, just prior the the Reichs Ford Road grade crossing, the OML originally veered to the right so as to keep on the north side of Bush Creek.


Green Greaser
NEW! Nov 2008

Green Greaser
Mile: 50.4 Date: Oct 2008
Ease: B View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 39 G 2 Topographic Maps

The greaser may be green, but the grease is still black from this unit made by Portec Rail. At remote locations, CSX is replacing mechanically actuated units with solar-powered ones.


Bridge 33B

Bridge 33B
Mile: 50.6 Date: May 2001
Ease: B View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 39 F 2 Topographic Maps

Since departing Mt. Airy, the OML has been following Bush Creek, but this is the first tour picture that shows the stream, here muddied by spring rains. Barely discernable on the steel wall at right is the faded bridge number 33B.

Bush Creek meanders a fair amount in this area, and the OML crosses it six times within a distance of about 2 miles. All the bridges resemble the one pictured here. According to Impossible Challenge, Hartman Tunnel (ahead) was built in 1901-1902, so it's logical these bridges were constructed at the same time. One of the bridges ahead carries a date plaque of 1927 however, so perhaps the bridges seen now are not the originals.

More evidence of the OML's former life in a double-track configuration is obvious here. Apparently CSX has deemed centering the remaining track unnecessary, and the worn timbers provide maintenance truck access to Hartman Tunnel.


CSX 8853
NEW! Nov 2008

CSX 8853
Mile: 50.7 Date: Oct 2008
Ease: B View: E
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 39 F 2 Topographic Maps

On a cloudy autumn afternoon, CSX 8853 rolls empty autoracks west over bridge 33B.



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