Forgotten B&O Sign Keeps Unseen Vigil
[By Allen Brougham] . . .
The B&O was a very proud railroad. It was so proud of its accomplishments that it strived to keep its adoring public duly informed.
Such as it was in 1965 that its feted accomplishment in laying its first 1000 track miles of continuous welded rail was promulgated in a sign erected for all the world to see. The sign did not face the tracks (its employees already knew of the endeavor), but toward a highway.
Motorists who plied U.S. Route 40 could see the sign on the embankment along the B&O's Old Main Line at a point where the railroad and the highway were in close proximity about midway between Mount Airy and New Market in Frederick County, Maryland.
The sign is still there.
But years of growth have obliterated the sign from public view. Moreover, even if the sign could be seen, its paint has deteriorated to the point that it probably could not even be deciphered from that distance.
U.S. Route 40 at this point is now Interstate 70 (although the route 40 designation still coexists). Its location on the railroad (now CSXT) is several hundred yards west of the control point known as West Plane.
In the winter, with leaves off the invading trees, one might catch a glimpse of the sign - if you know exactly where to look - but only for a fleeting instant. In summer months, the sign is completely hidden from view.
The above photo was taken early this year after I did some backwoods hiking. The sign is still visible at close range, but some of the letters have been extensively weathered. The sign reads:
1000 TRACK MILES
CONTINUOUS WELDED RAIL
AUG.1961 TO NOV.1965
BALTIMORE AND OHIO
The digit '5' in 1965 appears to have been repainted from another digit.