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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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Westport
Photo courtesy Johns Hopkins University

Westport
Mile: Date: 1927
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: EH:
Map: Ba 42 J 5 Topographic Maps

1938 1952 1964 1972 2017 courtesy Google Westport, along a convenient transportation corridor south of Baltimore, has long presented a travel bottleneck. From left to right the aerials date to 1938, 1952, 1964, 1972, and 2017.

During 1907 the WB&A made the first cut through Westport's hill; it is the only north-south route visible in the 1927 aerial. By 1938 Russell Street had sidled up alongside at Gwynns Falls. Come 1952 the WB&A's bridges were gone, while a weaving B-W Parkway connected to Russell Street. During 1964 the Parkway was busy getting its own bridge across the Falls.

The 1972 configuration remains much the same in 2018 but that may change as the 21st Century progresses. Looking to squeeze their way through here are 1) express lanes of a widened B-W Parkway, 2) a Maglev train, and 3) Elon Musk's Hyperloop.


Westport Stop
Photo credit unknown

Westport Stop
Mile: Date: ~1945
Ease: A View: N
Area: B+ EH: 15
Map: Ba 42 J 6 Topographic Maps

tunnel zoom By the time of this photo the B&A had assumed operation along the WB&A's route. Originally this tunnel under Annapolis Road was double tracked, but what was a tight fit for the WB&A became too narrow for B&O equipment that the B&A permitted to operate here.

The bridges beyond the tunnel carried local streets over the tracks. They were removed when the B-W Parkway barged in during the early 1950s, and a fresh bridge was built for Annapolis Road / Waterview Avenue.

Link: photo source and discussion, ~1910, 1930s, 1940s, 1949


Cut
Photo credit Bob Crockett

Cut
Mile: Date: 1940
Ease: B+ View: NE
Area: B- EH:
Map: Ba 42 J 5 Topographic Maps

2017 courtesy Google The new bridge was constructed about 100 feet north of where the tunnel had carried Annapolis Road, thus these two then-now photos were snapped from very close to the same spot, about 80 years apart. The rowhouses at distant right anchor the comparison.

Link: cut 1906


Tunnel

Tunnel
Mile: Date: Mar 2016
Ease: B View: N
Area: C+ IC2:
Map: Ba 42 J 6 Topographic Maps

Despite all the construction, for reasons unknown the WB&A's tunnel was not only preserved but also extended, now hidden behind these bolted, south portal doors. inside Though the tunnel has existed in this form for over 60 years, to my knowledge no train has ever run through it because its rail connections were severed by the B-W Parkway.

The tunnel is too dimly lit to see its contents, but since there's a clear view to the opposite doors, nothing substantial exists inside. Perhaps Marlo Stanfield has the key. You can phone him at (410) 915-0909 if you don't mind an R-rated verbal barrage.

Links: ~1910, B&A stations


North Doors

North Doors
Mile: Date: Mar 2016
Ease: A- View: S
Area: C EH: 14
Map: Ba 42 J 5 Topographic Maps

During leaf season foliage hides the blue doors that guard the tunnel's north portal. This photo, as well as the next, were snapped from the pedestrian walkway across the B-W Parkway.


From Walkway

From Walkway
Mile: Date: Mar 2016
Ease: A- View: N
Area: C EH:
Map: Ba 42 J 5 Topographic Maps

landmarks The weaving blue green line traces the WB&A's route. Immediately beyond the Monroe Street exit sign the B-W Parkways bridges Gwynns Falls, and so had the WB&A.

The zoom view labels a few items for reference.


Gwynns Falls Then
Photo courtesy HH Harwood collection

Gwynns Falls Then
Mile: Date: ~1930
Ease: B+ View: NE
Area: C+ EH: 16
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

A boy watches a Washington-bound WB&A passenger car about to cross over Gwynns Falls via a curious amalgam of bridge styles.

Tracks of the Western Maryland parallel the Falls at bottom.


Gwynns Falls Now

Gwynns Falls Now
Mile: Date: Mar 2018
Ease: B+ View: NE
Area: C+ EH:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

In the modern view from the same spot the B-W Parkway's bridge has replaced all of the WB&A's bridge. Or has it?...


Under Parkway

Under Parkway
Mile: Date: Mar 2018
Ease: B+ View: N
Area: C+ EH:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

wba support Below the Parkway sits the only remnant of the WB&A's bridge, a concrete pier chiseled down such that the next flood might cover it with silt. It appears to be what's left of the third pier from the right in the circa 1930 photo above.

Should you visit the north bank of the stream be aware you will likely be sharing the spot with a group of homeless.


B&A 205
Photo credit Bob Crockett

B&A 205
Mile: Date: May 1947
Ease: B+ View: NW
Area: C+ EH:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

This is B&A car 205 running on what had been the WB&A's trackage. The four WM tracks below have been reduced to two of CSX's Hanover Subdivision plus a siding into Vulcan Materials.

Link: different angle photo


Downstream
Photo credit W.D. Middleton

Downstream
Mile: Date: 1947
Ease: B+ View: E
Area: D (now) EH:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

We know this photo looks east from the north bank because that's the Russell Street bridge in the background. I have yet to find a photo specifically of the Russell Street bridge online. Anyone have a link? The bridge was removed soon after the B-W Parkway opened.

Detour: Western Maryland tour from here


Detritus

Detritus
Mile: Date: Mar 2018
Ease: B View: SE
Area: D EH:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

A 2018 view from the north bank finds the WB&A pier at water's edge, bottom right. Some of the scattered concrete debris may be detritus from the WB&A bridge. The block across the Falls at photo center once belonged to the Russell Street bridge.


Carroll
Photo courtesy Johns Hopkins University

Carroll
Mile: Date: 1927
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: BLR: 34
Map: Ba 42 K 3 Topographic Maps

1938 1952 1964 1972 2017 courtesy Google Left to right: 1938, 1953, 1964, 1972, and 2017. This group of aerial photos highlights transportation changes over the better part of a century.

Where the WB&A bridged over the B&O during 1927, by 1938 the B&A had connected, as described in the Reroute photo earlier.

From 1921 to 1932 the Baltimore Black Sox played at Maryland Baseball Park after having moved a short distance north from Westport Park (not to be confused with Westport Stadium). Maryland Baseball Park's orientation with an outfield to the southeast of home plate is unusual. Most baseball fields are designed such that the outfield is northeast of home plate so that sunlight will never glare into batters' eyes.

Link: Maryland Baseball Park


Reroute
Photo credit Bob Crockett

Reroute
Mile: Date: 1940
Ease: B View: S
Area: D EH:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

North of the Falls, the WB&A's alignment had continued straight to, then behind, the photographer until it neared the B&O's Camden Cutoff / Main Line southwest of Bush Street where it transitioned onto an elevated structure. When the B&A took over, it removed the elevated structure and rerouted trains onto the B&O's South Baltimore Branch then onward to Camden Station. This 1940 photo captures that B&A route in its infancy curving toward the right (west), prior to relocation of the WB&A's signals; that's the Russell Street bridge at left. 2014 courtesy Google Behind photographer Crockett had been the WB&A's bridge over the B&O's South Baltimore Branch.

Though one can still reach Crockett's spot for his 1940 photo, it is now surrounded by the trees at left center in the year 2014 view (courtesy Google). This modern view is from the ramp leading from Monroe Street / I-95 to southbound B-W Parkway. Between those two roads is where the WB&A had bridged the B&O's South Baltimore trackage, glimpsed at bottom left. Might there exist bridge remnants below? See the next photo.


At SBIT

At SBIT
Mile: Date: Mar 2018
Ease: B+ View: N
Area: D EH:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

With the aforementioned clump of trees behind, this is the view across the former B&O tracks, now CSX's South Baltimore Industrial Track, part of its Baltimore Terminal Subdivision. The WB&A had continued straight ahead toward what is now an elevated portion of I-95 visible in the distance. homeless shack

Subsequent roadway construction seems to have excavated and/or buried any WB&A bridge remains and track beds. The only beds to be found at photo time were ones for homeless.

Revitalizing jobs could have been brought to Baltimore by encouraging Amazon to build its new headquarters in Westport, or perhaps the Pimlico area. Without such improvements the city will continue to struggle.


Under I-95

Under I-95
Mile: Date: Mar 2018
Ease: A View: NW
Area: C- EH:
Map: Ba 42 J 4 Topographic Maps

Though surviving WB&A remains are lacking, the tangle of ramps of I-95, MD 295, and Monroe Street are visually interesting. The WB&A had climbed a ramp of its own, beginning not far to the right of the distant triangular Yield sign below photo center.

Link: from above by Baltimore Sun 1976


Main Line

Main Line
Mile: Date: Mar 2015
Ease: B+ View: NE
Area: B- EH: 17
Map: Ba 42 J 3 Topographic Maps

That WB&A ramp began near the rental truck on the right and transitioned to an elevated structure that extended to and beyond the distant ABC sign. Such grade separation from Bush and Bayard Streets endured until 1936. Much of that old route remains unoccupied, hence the substantial width parallel to what is now part of CSX's main line through Baltimore.

When the B&A picked up the WB&A's pieces, it obtained B&O permission to serve Camden Station by operating through here. Carroll Junction Tower, visible in the 1940s photos linked below, stood behind the photographer.

Links: at Carroll Junction ~1940, 1947 color


Dismantling
Photo credit R.K. Henry

Dismantling
Mile: Date: May 1936
Ease: B+ View: S
Area: B- EH:
Map: Ba 42 K 2 Topographic Maps

The Great Depression prompted disassembly of the WB&A's disused elevated structure for sale as scrap. This photo captures that process underway.


Looking Back

Looking Back
Mile: Date: Feb 2011
Ease: B+ View: SW
Area: B- EH:
Map: Ba 42 K 2 Topographic Maps

Seventy-five years later, and turned to look southwest, this was the appearance.


over
Photo credit R.K. Henry

Over
Mile: Date: May 1936
Ease: B+ View: E
Area: B- EH: 17
Map: Ba 42 K 2 Topographic Maps

Marley Creek At Scott Street the WB&A bridged over the curving B&O and decended from the elevated structure to street operation. Originally Scott Street plus an adjacent creek had passed under the curving B&O.

A similar bridge was restored during the 1990s along the B&A trail at Marley Creek. Though unlikely, it could be a bridge that originally belonged to the WB&A.


Curve

Curve
Mile: Date: Feb 2011
Ease: B+ View: E
Area: B- EH:
Map: Ba 42 K 2 Topographic Maps

In a modern view of the same curve, M&T Bank Stadium looms.


1927 Aerial
Photo courtesy Johns Hopkins University

1927 Aerial
Mile: Date: 1927
Ease: View: N (up)
Area: EH: 17
Map: Ba 42 K 3 Topographic Maps

The overhead view prior to dismantling shows the WB&A bending north and crossing over the B&O to reach Scott Street.


Scott Street

Scott Street
Mile: Date: Jul 2011
Ease: A View: N
Area: B- EH:
Map: Ba 42 K 1 Topographic Maps

The WB&A operated the remainder of the way at street level, turning east (right) here onto McHenry Street. Asphalt entombs artifacts all too well. The B&O Railroad Museum stands two blocks to the left.


First Terminal
Photo courtesy HH Harwood collection

First Terminal
Mile: Date: ~1920
Ease: A View: W
Area: B- EH: 24
Map: Ba 35 B 11 Topographic Maps

WB&A trains negotiated the city streets to their first Baltimore terminal, one that endured from 1908 to 1921 at Liberty and Marion Streets.


Equitable Trust
Photo courtesy Google

Equitable Trust
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: A View: W
Area: B- EH:
Map: Ba 35 B 11 Topographic Maps

Trains begat trusts of the Equitable Trust Company. The building remains standing as of 2017.

Baltimore streetcar line number 17 had largely replicated the WB&A's route between Westport and here. Bus route K did similar between Westport and Baltimore Highlands.

Link: 1941 BTC maps


Second_Terminal
Photo courtesy HH Harwood collection

Second Terminal
Mile: Date: ~1930
Ease: A View: N
Area: B BLR: 28
Map: Ba 43 B 1 Topographic Maps

During 1921 the WB&A moved to bigger and better digs at Pratt and Eutaw, closer to the waterfront and the B&O's Camden Station. The Bromo Seltzer clock tower extends off the top edge of this photo.


Holiday Inn
Photo courtesy Google

Holiday Inn
Mile: Date: Oct 2017
Ease: A View: NE
Area: B EH: 135
Map: Ba 43 A 1 Topographic Maps

A space-age-style Holiday Inn took the place of the terminal during the early 1960s, its flying saucer rooftop echoing the WB&A's train-turning loop trackage; during the 50 years that followed it has become almost as iconic as the nearby Bromo Seltzer tower.

Link: ~1920, ~1930


From I-395

From I-395
Mile: Date: Jun 2002
Ease: A View: N
Area: B+ EH:
Map: Ba 43 A 1 Topographic Maps

Here's the view from I-395 a few years before the Holiday Inn was refurbished and given new, stylized signage. The B&O's Camden Station in the foreground illustrates the former proximity of the two railroad stations.


Many of the routes established by the WB&A during the early 20th century
live on in the form of 21st century transportation corridors.
Thanks for following along!

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