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WB&A Photo Tour

Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Railway
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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Pole Line

Pole Line
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: A View: S
Area: A EH: 84
Map: AA 17 E 1 Topographic Maps

This view looks a mile back toward the Paxtuxent River from the Anne Arundel County side. Though the WB&A's alignment is obviously marked by the utility poles, confusion over of who presently owns the old right of way has delayed construction of the WB&A Trail here. Apparently the county owns the land on the northwest side of the WB&A (right) but for unclear reasons has refrained from extending the trail through it.

Link: Buz Meyer and the trail


Two Rivers

Two Rivers
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: A View: N
Area: A EH: 91
Map: AA 17 E 1 Topographic Maps

Turning to look the opposite direction from the same spot reveals large tracts of land have been available to facilitate construction of the Two Rivers community. Off photo left, gravel pits that date to the early days of the WB&A have been repurposed into retaining ponds. Stone was mined here for WB&A track ballast, and later for other uses into the 2010s.

Prior to the paving of Two Rivers Boulevard during 2013, the utility wires had continued away from the camera toward the gap in the trees at distant right. The WB&A had a stop where Two Rivers Boulevard meets Conway Road ahead but no evidence of it remains there.


Trail Resumes

Trail Resumes
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: A- View: N
Area: A EH:
Map: AA 12 E 13 Topographic Maps

Now we're closer to the aforementioned gap in the trees. Both the trail that had ended at the Patuxent River and the utility poles resume following the WB&A's alignment here. Why does the trail curve in from the right (east)?


Dining Room

Dining Room
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: A- View: S
Area: A EH:
Map: AA 12 E 13 Topographic Maps

The trail makes a big S-shaped, incomplete detour at the Two Rivers development not only because of the previously mentioned property dispute but also because now someone's dining room is in the way.

This home and the others adjacent have the distinction of being the only private residences anywhere sitting atop what had been the WB&A line. Rails to nails?


Braegers Road

Braegers Road
Mile: Date: Aug 2000
Ease: B View: S
Area: A- EH:
Map: AA 12 F 12 Topographic Maps

After rail service ended during 1935 much of the right of way between Bowie and Odenton was repurposed into Braegers Road, which remained unpaved until about 2008.


Little Patuxent

Little Patuxent
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: B View: NE
Area: A- EH:
Map: AA 12 F 10 Topographic Maps

The WB&A's bridge across the Little Patxuent was likely one of the bridges sold for scrap during the 1930s. The trail waited until 2008 to receive this replacement.

Since the sign reads, "No Jumping, Diving, Swinging From Bridge" that means anything else goes, right?


Bridge Artifact

Bridge Artifact
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: B View: NE
Area: A- EH:
Map: AA 12 F 10 Topographic Maps

attachments The trail's bridge reuses the WB&A abutments at either end, but curves above the mid-river supports where after 80 years one can still find bridge attachment hardware.

Between roads, houses, trails, and, as we'll see later, airports and Light Rail, very little of the WB&A's route has remained in an untouched state likely to yield artifacts.


Hills

Hills
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: B+ View: S
Area: A- EH: 107
Map: AA 12 G 9 Topographic Maps

Hills like these revealed by deep zoom back 1.5 miles were not a problem for the electrically-powered trains that could match the speed of the era's steam locomotives. Instead, the frequent stops made by the WB&A slowed travel: the trip between Baltimore and Washington took less time on the B&O.


Creek

Creek
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: B+ View: N
Area: A- EH:
Map: AA 12 G 9 Topographic Maps

Though the WB&A's bridge here remained walkable into the 2000s, for the trail it was replaced in favor of this model. It appears a fresh mound of concrete was poured down over the old abutments.


Strawberry Lake Way

Strawberry Lake Way
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: A View: N
Area: A EH:
Map: AA 12 G 9 Topographic Maps

When Strawberry Lake Way arrived around 2000 it created a new grade crossing.


Old Waugh Chapel Road

Old Waugh Chapel Road
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: B+ View: NE
Area: A- EH:
Map: AA 12 H 6 Topographic Maps

I was hoping to find an older structure supporting Old Waugh Chapel Road. This location was a WB&A stop.

With the original railway defunct since 1935, scant are WB&A artifacts and Web info. This tour may be the most concentrated record of the WB&A currently online.


Piney Orchard Parkway

Piney Orchard Parkway
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: A View: NE
Area: A- EH: 159
Map: AA 12 J 3 Topographic Maps

The nearest black car has just rolled over where the WB&A's main line and South Shore division had met at diamond track. At Naval Academy Junction, offices as the spot was known, passengers bound for or from Annapolis would change for trains to Baltimore and Washington. Their platform was on the right near the USPS mail collection box. The brick building beyond is a remodeled WB&A office.

The location was called Naval Academy Junction because the US Naval Academy in Annapolis was one of the primary stops along the South Shore division. Midshipmen and others would change to/from main line trains here. Before becoming the South Shore division these still-usable rails were part of the Annapolis and Elk Ridge Railroad. Some of these rails have forging dates in the 1920s.

Links: older pics, building's tenant


Odenton Map
Photo courtesy Johns Hopkins University

Odenton Map
Mile: Date: 1952
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: EH: 154
Map: AA 12 Topographic Maps

The A&ER arrived first (1840), but it was not until 1872 when the B&P (later Pennsylvania) Railroad intersected that the town of Odenton formed. Another 32 years elapsed before the WB&A joined the railroad scene.

By the time of this 1952 aerial photo, the WB&A's operations through Odenton had ceased with part of its right-of-way expropriated by Telegraph Road (Maryland 170), and other parts reorganized into the Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad. This aerial photo predates Maryland 32.

Crosshatched lines show where rails remained extant as of 2017. The stretch between Odenton Station and Naval Academy Junction was used at least as recently as 2013.


1961 Aerial
Photo credit unknown

1961 Aerial
Mile: Date: 1961
Ease: View: N
Area: EH: 152, 154
Map: AA 12 K 3 Topographic Maps

Northeast of Naval Academy Junction was Naval Academy Junction Yard, the WB&A's primary car maintenance facility, not to be confused with "The Yard" as midshipmen refer to the Naval Academy campus some 10 miles away in Annapolis.

During 1941 the WB&A's old yard was repurposed by the National Plastics Products Company which endured until 1961 when, per the boxcars in this photo, rail service was still active. The site changed owners several times and saw its last industrial use by Nevamar Company during the early 2000s.


Substation

Substation
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: A- View: SW
Area: A- EH: 177
Map: AA 12 K 2 Topographic Maps

Both in 1961 and today electrical substations dot the route, the most tangible evidence of the WB&A's former presence. When this yard substation was last used by the WB&A, it stepped down the supply from 33000 volts to the 1200 volts employed by the rolling stock.

Links: pics of WB&A rolling stock, more (as B&A)


Apartments

Apartments
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: A- View: NE
Area: A- EH:
Map: AA 12 K 2 Topographic Maps

During 2013 the old factory buildings were demolished to make room for new apartments on a portion of the land.

Link: Flats170 history


Separating

Separating
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: A View: N
Area: A- EH:
Map: AA 12 K 2 Topographic Maps

Northeast of Odenton, Maryland 170 and the WB&A go their separate ways.


Severn Run

Severn Run
Mile: Date: Feb 2005
Ease: B- View: W
Area: A EH:
Map: AA 6 K 13 Topographic Maps

On the north side of Maryland 32 is found the only remaining stretch of accessible, undisturbed WB&A Main Line right of way. A mere 500 feet in length, it still manages to contain three significant WB&A artifacts, one of which is this double quasi-arch masonry bridge across Severn Run, the largest surviving WB&A masonry bridge. A similar but smaller bridge has been reviewed by the Maryland Historical Trust.


Old Mill Road

Old Mill Road
Mile: Date: Feb 2005
Ease: A View: NW
Area: A EH:
Map: AA 6 K 13 Topographic Maps

Just north of Severn Run are disused bridge abutments at Old Mill Road.

Old Mill may refer to Collings Fulling Mill on Severn Run that dates to the 1770s, or to an even older mill in the area named Summerland Mill.


Severn Run Station

Severn Run Station
Mile: Date: Feb 2005
Ease: A View: N
Area: A EH:
Map: AA 6 K 13 Topographic Maps

And just a little farther north one finds this concrete, likely the foundation of the WB&A's Severn Run station. It is the only surviving station artifact I have found.


Clark Station Road

Clark Station Road
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: A View: N
Area: A EH:
Map: AA 7 A 11 Topographic Maps

This photo typifies the look north of Severn Run Station where the right of way lives on as a 4+ mile straight run named WB&A Road. Trains had stopped here at Clark, as well as Delmont, Elmhurst, and McPherson ahead. Other than street names, I observed no surviving evidence of these stops, but must admit I did not search more rigorously than via drive-by.


Maryland 100

Maryland 100
Mile: Date: Jan 2018
Ease: A View: W
Area: A EH:
Map: AA 7 D 4 Topographic Maps

Without a bridge like this one, Maryland 100 and the WB&A would have met at grade had the railroad still been operating. This bridge carries WB&A Road up and over busy 100, a route that, if ever completed, would serve as an outer beltway for Baltimore.


BWI Airport

BWI Airport
Mile: Date: Feb 2005
Ease: A View: N
Area: A EH:
Map: AA 7 D 2 Topographic Maps

Where WB&A Road meets Maryland 176, about 2 miles of former WB&A right of way are now inaccessible - except via aircraft. Former stops covered over by Baltimore-Washington International Airport runways include Kelly, Wellham, and Downs. Unlike on aircraft carriers, here cabling is not needed to snag landing planes, so the utility lines go underground.


The utility lines -- and this tour -- will resume on the north side of BWI Airport via a future update.

<< Previous | THIS PAGE: Patuxent River to BWI Airport | Next (east, future update) >>

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