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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.


Adamstown Cutoff - Brief Historical Background:

Metropolitan Branch
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Metropolitan Branch
Mile: 0.0 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: B View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 43 K 7 Topographic Maps

The west end of the Adamstown Cutoff had met and joined the B&O's Metropolitan Branch here on the right. This view looks back to the railroad facilities at Point of Rocks.


Start
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Start
Mile: 0.0 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: B View: NE
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 43 K 7 Topographic Maps

The gap in the trees marks the location. This spot is about a mile east of Point of Rocks, and is where we'll start measuring the Cutoff distance.


Overgrown
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Overgrown
Mile: 0.3 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: B View: E
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 43 K 8 Topographic Maps

As the Cutoff gradually ascends, sections are quite overgrown and difficult to follow. The flat shelf of land is the primary indication a railroad had once been here.


Culvert
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Culvert
Mile: 0.7 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: B View: N
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 44 A 8 Topographic Maps

This is the first of over a dozen culverts that can be found along the route. About half are of this simple piped design.


Tie
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Tie
Mile: Date: Sep 2007
Ease: View:
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 37 G 11 Topographic Map

Ties like this one can be found at scattered locations. They have endured for at least 60 to 70 years; the Cutoff was given a rehab in the early 1940s as preparation for possible need for the war effort.


Curve
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Curve
Mile: 1.2 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: C View: NE
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 44 C 8 Topographic Maps

Curves like this were the Achilles' heel of the Cutoff. The primary curve along the route was located at a steep section. The combination meant that in wet weather the engine wheels would slip and the trains would get stuck. Stuck trains meant delays and the need for a helper engine, the very item the Cutoff had been designed to eliminate.


Cut
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Cut
Mile: 1.4 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: C View: N
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 44 C 7 Topographic Maps

The B&O tried to ease the grade via this cut, but it didn't resolve the problem Someone has since filled in a portion of the cut, perhaps a utility company to provide access to the wires seen overhead.


Inside Cut
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Inside Cut
Mile: 1.4 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: D View: S
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 44 C 7 Topographic Maps

This is the view back from down inside the cut.

For most of the final 30 years of its existence, the Cutoff served as a storage track of sorts, hosting B&O equipment in need of repair.


Box Culvert
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Box Culvert
Mile: 1.8 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: C View: SE
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 44 C 7 Topographic Maps

The long-lived granite slabs of several box culverts are to be found. The B&O appears to have used box culverts (instead of piped ones) where larger flows of water were expected. The opening of this one is about 5 feet high. Some of the stones exhibit the lines of 20th century drilling techniques, revealing this is not an original 1830's culvert.


MD 28

MD 28
Mile: 2.0 Date: Sep 2005
Ease: A View: NW
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 44 D 6 Topographic Maps

MD 28 crosses Tuscarora Creek as seen here, but the hump in the road just beyond is the reason for this photo: that had been the grade crossing for the Cutoff. The road bridge in the foreground has been replaced since the time of this photo.


Huge
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Huge
Mile: 2.1 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: B View: E
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 44 D 6 Topographic Maps

This brobdingnagian box culvert is the largest to be found anywhere along the OML. Dave stands by as a height reference, and he's no lilliputian. He comments that this is the intake side of the culvert, and the other side is even larger.

By the 20th century, machinery made it possible to handle ever bigger slabs of granite, so the railroad opted for a box design here. Earlier builders would probably have chosen an arch.


Another
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Another
Mile: 3.0 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: B View: NE
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 44 D 4 Topographic Maps

Another piped culvert sits at the edge of a farm field.


Drain
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Drain
Mile: 3.0 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: B View:
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 44 D 4 Topographic Maps

The input end of this culvert is more like a drain, the only one I know of this design on the OML. Dave remarks that it's so unusual that perhaps it was modified into this form by a local landowner/farmer.


Pleasant View Rd

Pleasant View Rd
Mile: 3.4 Date: Sep 2005
Ease: A View: S
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 44 D 3 Topographic Maps

The Cutoff crosses Pleasant View Road as seen in the view that looks back (south).


Driveway
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Driveway
Mile: 3.4 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: A View: N
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 44 D 3 Topographic Maps

In the opposite direction the Cutoff is now this private driveway, but hiding beneath...


Arched Bridge

Arched Bridge
Mile: 3.4 Date: Sep 2005
Ease: B View: NW
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 44 D 3 Topographic Maps

...is this beautiful arched bridge, the largest on the Cutoff. Any B&O railfan would be proud to have this carrying their front driveway.


Crossing
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Crossing
Mile: 4.2 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: A View: N
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 44 D 1 Topographic Maps

The flat area near the speed limit sign shows where the Cutoff had again crossed Pleasant View Road.


Ballast
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Ballast
Mile: 4.3 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: A View: N
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 44 D 1 Topographic Maps

Some stone ballast and wooden ties still mark the disused right of way here. The total length of the Cutoff was 6.2 miles (as measured from Point of Rocks).


Doubs Rd
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Doubs Rd
Mile: 4.7 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: A View: SW
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 37 E 13 Topographic Maps

Utility poles spanning the middle of a cornfield tell you where the Cutoff had been. This is looking back from the Doubs Road grade crossing.


Gravel
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Gravel
Mile: 4.7 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: A View: N
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 37 E 13 Topographic Maps

By turning around from the prior photo, one can see the gravel road that traces the Cutoff. It's getting close to rejoining the Old Main Line, marked by the utility poles on the left.


Grass
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Grass
Mile: 4.8 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: A View: NE
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 37 E 13 Topographic Maps

Hiding in grass made brown by the drought of summer 2007, the Cutoff has saved one more artifact for us...


One More
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

One More
Mile: 4.8 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: A View: SE
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 37 E 13 Topographic Maps

...it's one more piped culvert, this one sun bleached.


Sibling
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

Sibling
Mile: 4.8 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: A View: W
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 37 E 13 Topographic Maps

The culvert can look across to an older sibling of the arched variety. The bridge in the distance has carried the OML over Tuscarora Creek since the 1830s.


East End
Photo courtesy Dave Hiteshew

East End
Mile: 4.9 Date: Sep 2007
Ease: B View: NE
Area: A IC2:
Map: Fr 37 E 13 Topographic Maps

CSX 65 and 5516 point the way to the spot in the distance where the Adamstown Cutoff and Old Main Line had rejoined.

Many thanks to the Hiteshews for their travels spent gathering these pictures, and then sharing them with all of us.


This tour ends here!

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