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WM Photo Tour

Western Maryland 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. Aerial photos courtesy Johns Hopkins University.


Patterson Avenue

Patterson Avenue
Mile: 8.3 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A View: SW
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 33 J 2 Topographic Maps

Visibility of the Patterson Avenue grade crossing is poor when approaching from the east.


Quieter

Quieter
Mile: 8.3 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A View: NW
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 33 J 2 Topographic Maps

We've survived the trip through the big, bad city and housing density declines from here west. The border of Baltimore City is a quarter mile in the distance, but before that the Metro (left) transitions from elevated to surface operation.


No Windows

No Windows
Mile: 8.9 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A View: W
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 33 G 1 Topographic Maps

The sprawling Milford Station Apartments does not cater to railfans: note the lack of windows facing the tracks, but they do hang signs that can be seen through the windows of passing Metro trains. Reviews suggest a mice overpopulation, indeed peer into one of the old WM battery boxes along here and you'll likely find a colony.


Milepost 9

Milepost 9
Mile: 9.0 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: B View: NW
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 33 G 1 Topographic Maps

One such battery box is found beyond milepost 9, which suggests a WM signal was previously on duty here.


Jointed

Jointed
Mile: 9.1 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: B View: N
Area: C IC2:
Map: Ba 33 G 1 Topographic Maps

Debris on the right implies the WM had a station or other structure here long ago. The zoom view reveals jointed rails.


Boxes

Boxes
Mile: 9.3 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A- View: E
Area: B- IC2:
Map: Ba 25 F 13 Topographic Maps

interior At the Old Milford Mill Road grade crossing, multiple battery boxes were back-up power for what looks to be a communications board, stripped of its innards years ago.

During the past a siding had run parallel and adjacent to the white building behind, home of Mrs. Pose Bakery since 1977.

Link: Pose Bakery


Howardville Then
Photo courtesy WM WestSub

Howardville Then
Mile: 9.3 Date: ~1910
Ease: A- View: NE
Area: B- IC2:
Map: Ba 25 F 13 Topographic Maps

At the grade crossing the WM erected a trackside freight and waiting shack.

The box on the pole right of the shack likely covered a warning bell.

Reader Stephen Miller reports:

    "The building behind the waiting shack was owned by a family named Burns. They ran a grocery store out of it and lived above the store. I remember going there with my father on Saturdays to shop. His wife ran the cash register and he was the butcher. They lived there until the Metro came through and bought their house. There was also a siding that ran directly next to the building. On occasion there would be a boxcar parked there that I could access from a door in the building. As far as I know they never got deliveries from the railroad."


Howardville Now

Howardville Now
Mile: 9.3 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A- View: NE
Area: B- IC2:
Map: Ba 25 F 13 Topographic Maps

Having been absorbed into Pikesville, the Howardville name for this area has faded into history.

About a century later at the same location only the rails remain, including, if you look closely, one for the nearer track.


Former Grade Crossing

Former Grade Crossing
Mile: 9.3 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A View: W
Area: B- IC2:
Map: Ba 25 F 13 Topographic Maps

The Milford Mill Road grade crossing was closed around 1985 when Metro barged through, but judging by the state of the end-of-road guardrail it would appear old habits die hard.

The rails in the foregound belong to the long siding mentioned earlier.


map

Siding
Mile: 9 Date: 1972
Ease: View:
Area: IC2:
Map: Topographic Maps

In this aerial from 1972 the grade crossing is near the top. Note the siding parallel on the east (right) side of the WM serving the two long dark-roofed buildings. Only the northern of that pair remains extant.

At this time the WM was still double-tracked through here. The trackside building on the left would soon be cleared to make room for Metro's Milford Mill Station.

Reader Stephen Miller details:

    "The aerial picture of the siding shows a group of buildings to the left. This was a large lumber yard that caught fire about the time of this picture. I remember that they had to close railroad access due to the fire hoses and fire equipment on the tracks. The fire was so intense that they had to hose down to buildings on the opposite side to keep them from catching fire."


Siding Remnant

Siding Remnant
Mile: 9.3 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A View: S
Area: B- IC2:
Map: Ba 25 F 13 Topographic Maps

The siding was disconnected some time ago but evidence of it survives.


From Above

From Above
Mile: 9.4 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A View: S
Area: B- IC2:
Map: Ba 25 F 13 Topographic Maps

The old Milford Mill Road grade crossing can be glimpsed on the left from the bridge that acts as its replacement. Metro's Millford Mill station is on the right.

From about 1910 into the 1950s several small airfields dotted the landscape in this vicinity, including City Line Airport and Curtiss-Wright Airport / Pimlico Airport. Their placement reveals this was mostly undeveloped land when the airplane made its initial foray into transportation.

Link: airfields


Slade Avenue

Slade Avenue
Mile: 9.5 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A- View: N
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 25 F 13 Topographic Maps

Though Slade Avenue is a major thoroughfare in Pikesville, I have found no old maps depicting it crossing the WM. It may always have ended at the tracks. The road was named in honor of former Baltimore County sheriff and postmaster William A. Slade.


Western Maryland Avenue

Western Maryland Avenue
Mile: 9.6 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A- View: NE
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 25 F 13 Topographic Maps

safetran label Railroad Avenues are common, Western Maryland Avenues not as much.

A crew telephone call box made by Safetran Systems Corporation, Electro-Mechanical Division, bravely endures the elements.


Sprayer

Sprayer
Mile: 9.7 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: B+ View: E
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 25 F 12 Topographic Maps

Excessive trackside plant growth is asking for trouble come a hot, dry summer so these sprayer trucks were doing their thing during a fine spring day.

What's all that stuff on the left?


Collection

Collection
Mile: 9.7 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A- View: E
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 25 F 12 Topographic Maps

It's a group of rusting tanks, compressors, pipes, and equipment boxes.

This had been an important switching location for eastbound WM trains during double-track days. Trains bound for Hillen Station would be switched onto one track while those headed for Port Covington would get the other.


Electro-Pneumatic

Electro-Pneumatic
Mile: 9.7 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A- View: NE
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 25 F 12 Topographic Maps

The Union Switch and Signal Company favored by the WM was noted for inventing an electro-pneumatic signalling system in which compressed air powered the switch and the signals.

edited The number of tanks and the piping here indicates this had been one of the installation locations of such a pneumatic system for at least the switch (points). This is the only trackside survivor I've seen anywhere in the Baltimore region.

Vines shroud these artifacts during summer, and even during non-leaf season they hide details. A bit of digital editing helps sort things out.

The US&S book linked below contains dozens of pictures and details but lacks a photo of an installation of these components. The closest in appearance, by coincidence, is the diagram on page 85.

Link: US&S Electro-Pneumatic Interlocking book (PDF)


Tank

Tank
Mile: 9.7 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A View: S
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 25 F 12 Topographic Maps

interior Here are other views of the tank and main box, both now filled by little more than air. A Metro train is rolling by behind the wall.

Note the rusty, circular handle resting on the bottom of the box. Such handles are not used to control electricity, but they are found at valves for liquid and air. Though most pneumatic signals were converted to electrically operated ones during the first half of the 20th century, some WM pneumatic switches operated into the 21st century. This particular example likely endured until this area was single-tracked around the time Metro joined adjacent.

The tank resembles one trackside at Cold Spring Lane. Where there are multiple tanks the larger is a reservoir while the smaller is a drying tank (per Jersey Mike, blog).

Detour: Cold Spring Lane grade crossing tank


Metro Tunnel

Metro Tunnel
Mile: 9.7 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A- View: NW
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 25 F 12 Topographic Maps

Both the Metro and WM go under Sudbrook Lane albeit in different manners.


Sudbrook Park

Sudbrook Park
Mile: 9.8 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: B+ View: N
Area: B IC2:
Map: Ba 25 F 12 Topographic Maps

Sudbrook Park, a Frederick Law Olmstead project designed for well-to-do Baltimoreans to escape the heat of the city, lies on the southwest side of the WM (left). One of its main entrances is via this bridge carrying Sudbrook Lane.

Link: Sudbrook Park history


View Then
Photo courtesy WM WestSub

View Then
Mile: 9.9 Date: ~1890
Ease: A View: N
Area: B+ IC2:
Map: Ba 25 E 12 Topographic Maps

The original Sudbrook Lane bridge offered this view of the WM's elegant Sudbrook Station, back when even children knew how to play safely near trains.

As described below, Sudbrook Station's exact former location remains uncertain.


View Now

View Now
Mile: 9.9 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A View: N
Area: B+ IC2:
Map: Ba 25 E 12 Topographic Maps

Assuming we're looking from the same spot, Sudbrook Station had been sited on the east side of the railroad, near the blue tarp and red toolshed. One problem is the local homeowner with whom I chatted doubted his land was the station's location. He pointed to the southwest side of the railroad (left).

Note recent CSX trackside excavations for improved drainage.


Station Then
Photo courtesy WM WestSub

Station Then
Mile: 9.9 Date: ~1900
Ease: B View: E
Area: B+ IC2:
Map: Ba 25 E 12 Topographic Maps

The cause of the lingering drainage issues are the WM's excavations, made to lower the track and create clearance for taller trains under the Sudbrook Lane bridge. A then-new passenger platform is trackside. Note the photo is labelled with milepost 9.80.

Link: station history


Station Now

Station Now
Mile: 9.9 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: B View: E
Area: B+ IC2:
Map: Ba 25 E 12 Topographic Maps

More properly, this is the station site now -- if this is the correct spot. The curvature of hillside resembles that in the previous photo. CSX's excavations turned up blocks of cut stone and other detritus suggesting a man-made structure had once been here. The station closed during 1930 after some 40 years of use.

Stephen Miller confirms:

    "The location of the Sudbrook Park Station is where your 'Station Now' photo shows. My father used this station for a short time before they stopped passage service. As a kid I remember playing there but even at that time is was overgrown. I do remember that the foundation was still there. We would access the tracks through a path in the overgrowth. They had removed the stairs and filled the area with what I think was slag or cinders. We would use this as a slide down to the tracks. The retaining wall that is shown in pictures of the Waiting Shed was still there at the time. When Metro came through there they shaved off the area removing any trace the station. Thatís why your current picture shows a much reduced hillside."


1927 Aerial

1927 Aerial
Mile: 9.9 Date: 1927
Ease: View:
Area: B+ IC2:
Map: Ba 33 J 2 Topographic Maps

zoomed On the other hand, Sudbrook Station does not stand out in this aerial photo. The building "above" the bridge is too close to the bridge to be the station. Where I believe the station to be, above and left of that, trees and shadows obscure the view.

Stephen Miller shares memories:

    "The 1927 shows to interesting features, at least to me. If you look closely to the left of the bridge is a tall tree. This was Sudbrook Parks Christmas tree. I remember it would be covered with full sized colored light bulbs installed by a person in a crane. There was a annual Christmas tree lighting that occurred in December. This tree was killed when BGE came through and replaced their gas lines. They cut through the trees roots and killed the tree. A replacement was planted further to the left of this picture and the ceremony still occurs every December."


Somewhere

Somewhere
Mile: 10.0 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: B View: SE
Area: B+ IC2:
Map: Ba 25 E 12 Topographic Maps

Adding to doubt and confusion is the old station photo is marked as milepost "9.80", yet as you can see in this view back to the bridge, the blue tarp and red toolshed are near the gentle curve at milepost 10.


Bridge Then
Photo courtesy WM WestSub

Bridge Then
Mile: 10.0 Date: ~1900
Ease: B View: SE
Area: B+ IC2:
Map: Ba 25 E 12 Topographic Maps

There's the original Sudbrook Lane bridge, and children are playing on the right, which suggests this is the reverse of the earlier view from the bridge, which means this was snapped at Sudbrook Station.

This original bridge endured from 1890 until replacement during 2005.


Bridge Now

Bridge Now
Mile: 10.0 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: B View: SE
Area: B+ IC2:
Map: Ba 25 E 12 Topographic Maps

The modern view from near the blue tarp matches, hence I surmise Sudbrook Station had been on the left with its platform at the photographer's feet.


View

View
Mile: 9.9 Date: Apr 2016
Ease: A View: NW
Area: B+ IC2:
Map: Ba 25 E 12 Topographic Maps

Wherever the station had been, when this tour resumes we'll continue westward. Meanwhile, for a vision test, find milepost 10.


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