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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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Union Dam Tunnel
Updated Dec 2013

Union Dam Tunnel
Mile: 15.2 Date: Nov 2013
Ease: C View: S
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 12 J 4 Topographic Maps

CSX 894 blurs out of Union Dam Tunnel's north (west) stone portal.


Curves
NEW! Dec 2013

Curves
Mile: 15.5 Date: Nov 2013
Ease: C View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 12 H 4 Topographic Maps

Even with the tunnel, the track is forced through a series of S-curves. As winter approaches, grays and browns will dominate the landscape for the next 4 months.


Under I-70

Under I-70
Mile: 16.0 Date: Jan 2000
Ease: B- View: NW
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 12 G 3 Topographic Maps

CSX 736 negotiates its way under Interstate 70 in this wintry scene. The coal drag is dwarfed by the highway overpass, which is much taller than the similar overpass of I-95 back at mile 7.5.


CSX 736

CSX 736
Mile: 16.0 Date: Jan 2000
Ease: B- View: NW
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 12 G 3 Topographic Maps

Four engines can make their own heat on a cold day.


Erosion
NEW! Dec 2013

Erosion
Mile: 16.1 Date: Nov 2013
Ease: B View: N
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 12 G 3 Topographic Maps
1813

Mills clung to the shore up and down the Patapsco Valley, only to be undone by the river's periodic convulsive floods. Even concrete was no match for the forces of nature, and it too eventually succumbed. This block, likely dragged here from upstream to combat erosive undermining of the tracks, celebrated its 200th birthday for this photo. Its 1813 date was stamped 15 years before the B&O was conceived; few dated artifacts from before the "rail road" era survive in any form in the Valley. The block may be a remnant of the Eagle Factory established near here around 1800.

The Pantheon in Rome, rebuilt in 126 AD, remains the world's largest surviving unreinforced concrete dome. After the fall of the Roman empire, concrete construction techniques were largely forgotten until a revival during the 18th century.


Under I-70

Under I-70
Mile: 16.2 Date: Jan 2000
Ease: B View: S
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 12 G 3 Topographic Maps

Hey, you forgot the caboose!


HS Tower Site
NEW! Dec 2013

HS Tower Site
Mile: 16.4 Date: Nov 2013
Ease: B View: N
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 12 G 2 Topographic Maps

According to a 1917 B&O Form 6 (Station List), HS (Hollofield) tower had been sited in this vicinity, perhaps in the clearing on the right. Fire destroyed the tower on December 18, 1923 and claimed the life of the telegraph operator on duty. I have yet to locate definite evidence of the tower, such as the concrete of a foundation.


MoW
NEW! Dec 2013

MoW
Mile: 16.5 Date: Nov 2013
Ease: B+ View: N
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 12 G 2 Topographic Maps

A CSX Maintenance of Way team gathers to keep the OML in good shape.

Other rail companies have used similar convertible equipment to transport passengers (see link).

Link: Rail Bus


Oldest Grade Crossing

Oldest Grade Crossing
Mile: 16.6 Date: May 1999
Ease: A View: E
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 12 G 2 Topographic Maps

A CSX track inspection car turns off the rails onto pavement at the Old Frederick Road grade crossing. This is the only still-active grade crossing within the easternmost 20 miles of the OML.

But of greater significance in the continuing quest for B&O superlatives: this is the oldest surviving railroad grade crossing in the world. The road here likely dates back to 1775 when Ellicott's Upper Mills stood near this location, and then the railroad arrived around 1830.

The oldest roads of an area generally follow the highest ground because that means fewer muddy spots and fewer bridges. In Howard County, Old Frederick Road traces a ridge that marks a watershed boundary: north of the road, streams feed the Patapsco River, while south of the road they lead to the Patuxent River.

Also of note is the highway bridge that crosses the Patapsco just beyond the tracks. It was built in 1934 making it the oldest automobile bridge still in use in this area, as well as a survivor of the floods of Tropical Storm Agnes. It was renovated in 2005/2006. Its restored plaque reads "Patapsco River Bridge - Built 1934 - State Roads Commission - E. Clinton Uhl, Chairman. - E. Brooke Lee. Robert Lacy. - H.D. Williar Jr. Chief Engineer. - W.C. Hopkins Bridge Engineer".

Link: Real-time USGS stream flow data near this location


CSX 321

CSX 321
Mile: 17.0 Date: Aug 2005
Ease: B View: E
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 12 F 1 Topographic Maps

Westbound coal empties swing past milepost 17 with CSX 321 in the lead.


Tied Culvert

Tied Culvert
Mile: 17.1 Date: Nov 2000
Ease: C View: N
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 12 F 1 Topographic Maps

A stack of recycled railroad ties shores up this culvert. I've not seen so many ties used for such a purpose anywhere else on the OML.


New Signals

New Signals
Mile: 17.8 Date: Aug 2005
Ease: B View: N
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 12 D 1 Topographic Maps

In 2005, CSX completed replacing the OML's B&O color-position signals with ones like those seen here. Just beyond the bend is the old mill town now named Daniels.


Daniels

Daniels
Mile: 17.9 Date: Aug 2005
Ease: B View: N
Area: B+ IC2: 87
Map: Ho 12 D 1 Topographic Maps

Over the centuries, the hidden industrial town of Daniels has witnessed many changes. First named Elysville, then Alberton, what remains is named Daniels, after the company most recently to have owned and operated it. The town began pre-railroad with a flour mill, which evolved into a substantial cotton mill, and sprouted churches plus 118 employee houses.

The building at center is the former St. Albans church. The grounds are now used by The Mulch Factory, which suprisingly receives bulk quantities of wood chips via truck rather than train.

Links: 1968, 1984


From Above

From Above
Mile: 17.9 Date: Mar 2000
Ease: B View: NW
Area: B+ IC2:
Map: Ho 12 D 1 Topographic Maps

The mill town was located at the head of a particularly winding stretch of the Patapsco River that caused the B&O headaches for many years. The earliest alignment (green) had trains screeching around an 18-degree curve on tracks that hugged the south bank of the river to avoid the surrounding hills.

The B&O waited until 1906 to build a 2-mile long straighter alignment that includes the bridge across the Patapsco River seen at left.


Daniels Bridge

Daniels Bridge
Mile: 18.0 Date: Apr 2001
Ease: B View: W
Area: A- IC2:
Map: Ho 12 D 1 Topographic Maps

The longest railroad bridge across the Patapsco now carries just one CSX track. Originally, there were two tracks, but sometime after 1950 the OML was converted into single track. In this view from the east, only the mounting plate remains from the second track. Apparently the B&O decided that the stone structures could handle the imbalance, and never centered the remaining, active track.


Gary Memorial Methodist

Gary Memorial Methodist
Mile: 18.0 Date: Apr 2001
Ease: B View: S
Area: A- IC2:
Map: Ho 12 D 1 Topographic Maps

Seen through the single-lane road under the Daniels Bridge is Gary Memorial United Methodist Church. The church, which was built in the 1879 to serve the mill town, remains active to the present day.

In spring 2001, the church hosted a portion of the Walt Disney Pictures production of "Tuck Everlasting." In fact, Disney used this Web site to help select this and other locations within Patapsco State Park for filming of their movie.


Mill Town History
NEW! Dec 2013

Mill Town History
Mile: 18.0 Date: Feb 2012
Ease: A View: S
Area: A IC2:
Map: Ho 12 D 1 Topographic Maps

This sign relates the town's history. With a little digital editing, two photos have been pasted together and stored large enough that the text should be readable (click the photo for the full size version).



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