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July 1993


35th Anniversary of Last Run of the Ma & Pa From Baltimore

'A Sentimental Journey'

[By Allen Brougham] . . .

JUNE 12, 1993:

It was now 35 years and one day since the last run of the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad out of Baltimore. Historian Stewart Rhine and a group of his friends had organized a motor "pilgrimage," complete with a timetable, order and clearance form - and Stewart's 1951 Chevy as the flagship car - to symbolically reenact that last run which had ended a long era of one of the nation's most unique shortlines.

The last time this was done was five years ago on the occasion of the 30th anniversary. Stewart said then that he looked forward to the opportunity of doing it again ten years later. But then someone suggested that five year intervals were appropriate to the occasion, so why not try it again on the 35th anniversary? Stewart agreed.

The event began at the old Ma & Pa roundhouse on Falls Road. The building is now used by the city as a road salt terminal, but it looks much the same today as it did when used long ago to store and service locomotives.

Into one of the engine stalls Stewart drove his Chevy for a symbolic backing-out to begin the journey, and 'Extra 93' was underway.

Twenty-two people participated using 16 vehicles as the motorcade snaked along public roads, first to North Avenue, then to the Remington Avenue underpass for the first of many stops for historical input. The underpass had been rebuilt, noted Stewart, so soot from the steam engines no longer appears. The alignment through this pristine section of Wyman Park is there for the taking, though - perhaps someday as a trail, or even the route for a light-rail endeavor.

From there the pilgrims went into the Homeland area for a visit to a wooden footbridge spanning the right of way providing access to Bryn Mawr School. Stewart brought along a photo album from the glory days of the Ma & Pa for current-day comparison.

More stops were made at Woodbrook (with rails still showing within the old Charles Street crossing), Towson (for a look at the stone abutments and fill still preserved where the tracks once crossed York Road), Towson Estates (the site of a switch-back alignment to serve the Bendix facility), and Loch Raven (for a look at the depot foundation and to use steps thereto from the long-ago days of passenger service). The right of way through here has been kept clear as the route of a power line.

The next order of business was lunch in the Glen Arm station, now a restaurant. How appropriate it is for this facility to be at such an ideal spot for lunch about midway in the pilgrimage schedule!

Following lunch the procession moved on to Hydes for a visit to its most unique and picturesque double-tiered-porch combination store, post office and depot.

It was here that I had to split, not unlike five years ago when I couldn't complete that pilgrimage either. But I do know that the group did finish its intended journey at Bel Air, thus paying appropriate homage to this most auspicious occasion.



Work Begins on Northern Central Trail in Pennsylvania

Work has begun to extend the Northern Central Railroad Trail north from the Mason-Dixon line into Pennsylvania. Known as the York County Heritage Trail project, the first mile has recently been cleared by members of the Pennsylvania National Guard, and by the end of the summer a surface should be in place to enable trail users to gain access to the community of New Freedom. An extension of the trail to that location should prove to be popular since New Freedom would then be the largest community immediately along the trail offering such services as restaurants that are not closely available along the Maryland portion.

Impetus for the project began more than a year ago by two members of the Boy Scouts from York - Chad Harvey and Jeremy Sykes - who had undertaken to coordinate construction as an effort toward their Eagle badges. Work was actually scheduled to begin last summer, but these plans met with complications.

Another complication developed in efforts to restore the frame depot in New Freedom. Work on that project did begin last summer, but abruptly stopped when it was determined how badly the building had deteriorated. The depot, if it can be restored or rebuilt, could be put to use as a trail building in much the same manner as was done to the depot at Monkton along the Maryland portion several years ago.

In May of this year the Pennsylvania portion of the trail was selected as a recipient of $399,000 in federal funding through the Intermodal Surface Transportation Enhancement Act (ISTEA) to be used to design and construct a further ten-mile section north from New Freedom to Seven Valleys. York County is obligated to raise an additional $100,000 toward this effort.

Ultimately, the trail is planned for even further extension northward where it will connect with the York City Rail/Trail, a resulting network of approximately 45 miles when combined with the trail already in place in Maryland.

The route of the trail, both in Maryland and Pennsylvania, follows the right of way of the former Pennsylvania Railroad's Northern Central branch. North of New Freedom the old NCR track is still intact and serviceable. Completion of the trail north of New Freedom would require it to coexist with the railroad, although that portion is currently not operated.


GG1 Locomotive 4876 Delivered to B&O Museum

GG1 electric locomotive 4876 is now at its new home at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. It arrived in Baltimore from Philadelphia on June 11 and was delivered to the museum on June 16. This locomotive was made famous by its crash into Washington's Union Station. It joins sister locomotive 4890 at the museum, but the 4890 may be given another home at a later date.


CSXT's Cumberland Coal Business Unit Established

CSXT's Cumberland Coal Business Unit was established May 17, and the following subdivisions, formerly part of the Baltimore Division, have been assigned to the new unit.


C&O Historical Society Selected for $3,500 Matching Grant

The Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society was recently notified that it was selected by the Potomac Chapter NRHS to receive a matching grant for restoration and development of interpretative exhibits and programs for former C&O combination car 458.

The matching grant is designed to support projects associated with railway history and preservation. Tom Dixon, president of the C&O Historical Society, said, "We are very excited about this project because of the tremendous potential for historical interpretation with the very nature of a heavyweight combination car." The goal for this project is to restore and preserve the car to exemplify the essence of branchline rail passenger service and offer permanent fixtures to allow for the display of theme-based exhibits. It will include restoration of the car's interior -- including light fixtures, door latches, and bathrooms, development of permanent exhibits in the baggage compartment, development of an exhibit area, and more.

Called a "combination" car because it carried a combination of people and "things," this car was delivered to the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway in September 1926 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company of Wilmington, Delaware. It was donated to the C&O Historical Society in 1990 by the B&O Railroad Museum.

The grant was awarded after the society raised the matching portion of the money for the project.


Walking on Tracks in Virginia is Now a Misdemeanor

Effective July 1, 1993, there is a law in Virginia making walking on railroad tracks a misdemeanor subject to a $250 fine for the first offense. Repeat offenders face heavier fines, even going to jail.


Kenneth Black Dies - CSXT Yard Employee

Veteran Western Maryland railroader Kenneth L. Black died May 28. He joined the Western Maryland Railway 39 years ago. At the time of his death, he was employed at the CSXT yard office in Brunswick, Maryland.


Hyattsville, Md., Drops Plans to Acquire JD Tower

The city of Hyattsville, Maryland, is no longer interested in acquiring JD Tower. There were compolications with the site in a flood plain to which the tower was to be moved. But the nearby town of Riverdale has expressed an interest in acquiring the building for one of its parks. JD Tower closed in March 1992.


Winchester, Va., Freight Agency Closes

The CSXT (former B&O) freight agency office at Winchester, Virginia, closed June 25.


Inaugural CSXT Train Dispatcher Class Concludes

The inaugural class in CSXT's new train dispatcher training program concluded on June 11, and thirteen members graduated. The course lasted eight months. The graduates will now fill vacancies at the railroad's operations center in Jacksonville, Florida. The Federal Railroad Administration is using the program as a model for other railroads.