Chambersburg to Shippensburg

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This view (facing north) shows the former Western Maryland right of way where it crossed King Street in Chambersburg. Photo by Mike Palmer, November 2003.

This route is still shown as "active" on atlases. The rails through much of Chambersburg have been removed, but the rest of the track east to near Shippensburg is in place, though there is little rail traffic. The line was single track in the Chambersburg area, but double track further east.

This route was part of Western Maryland's portion of the "alphabet route", where it participated with several regional railroads to provide competition to the PRR and NYC between Chicago and the New York area. This particular segment connected with the Reading just west of Shippensburg.

This line likely fell into decline after the series of mergers in the east (Reading into Conrail; WM into B&O and the Chessie/CSX), where there would be little need for interchange.

Side note: the Letterkenny Army Depot, near Culbertson, PA (along Pa. Rte. 433) has many rusted sidings on the property, with several stored hopper cars and passenger cars visible from the highway.

I was assign to Letterkenny Army Depot in 2005 for nine months. The army still use the tracks from Shippensburg. This must have been a main line for WofM at one time. The telephone poles had 4 cross arms. Which shown large use of signals or communications was demanded. I believe in Shippensburg the telephone wires are still on the poles where US 11 crosses over the tracks. The army has a engine at Letterkenny to move cars in and out to NS siding in the Ssippensburg. Yes, CSX has removed the rails through Chamberburg. I believe it is a bike trail now in Chamberburg.

George Bailey
Rocky Mount, NC
12/15/2010

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CSX local serves Letterkenny generally twice a week on Monday and Wednesday evenings, sometimes more depending on customer needs. Also occassional FRA car moves. FRA houses govt cars @ Letterkenny. CSX uses NS from Hagerstown to Shippensburg then backtracks on CSX rails back down to Chambersburg.

Douglas Bartle
Chambersburg, PA
1/26/2011

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I am doing a small article for Model Railroad Tips, on the Chambersburg area. The CSX (ex-WM) line up from Hagerstown MD is still used up to the old PRR crossing. This section services a business park with 4-5 customers and an intermodal yard which serves the area. Genesee & Wyoming switchers work the yard.

NS gained the ex-PRR line from Hagerstown MD to Harrisburg PA. CSX uses this line to access their track into and around Letterkenney Army Depot. Somewhat south of the depot, the line ends. Much of the line between the crossing and Letterkenney has been turned into a bike trail.

I should note, that at Letterkenney, there is a team track typically used for grain cars. Excess tank cars also seem to be kept here.

Adam Peszel
Chambersburg, PA
2/9/2012

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it is to ba the Western Maryland line threw Chambersberg Pa for it was The bettr routeI have many happy hours of tran wathing int he 1970,s wndering what it musthave been like with staem but it hasd one strike agsint all those gradeccrossing withc cold deplay emerancy vheicles most agree the WM was the btter railroad hot friaghts were pulll by olld F,s evenafter they got theer first SD 40,s

david levine
rockvile md, MD
9/19/2012

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i looked at the pictures and noticed rail still in place around chambersburg.is there still any rail or equipment on this line yet?please let me know.thank you.

george oakley
reading, PA
12/2/2012

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During 1974-75 I had a regular job as relief operator at Lurgan "Tower". Relief operator meaning that I filled in for the other guys' days off. It was an interesting job to say the least. The tower was a one story affair built in 1947, last used as a tower in 1983 after the Conrail takeover of the Reading. In the RDG-WM days, the tower was manned by WM personnel on 1st trick (7A-3P) and Reading people on 2nd (3P-11P) & 3rd (11P-7A) tricks. The tower only controlled train movements east of the tower on the Reading trackage using a GRS CTC machine that controlled interlockings at Lurgan, Ship, Lees Cross Roads, and Carl.

Fred Leer
Marysville, PA
3/30/2015

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fred,is the tower still there and in operation?just wondering because you do not hear about towers anymore being used on the rail lines.please let me know.thanks.

george oakley
reading, PA
3/31/2015

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A portion of the old track between wilson collage and cumberland highway (PA rt 997) are now owned by a company called the Pennsylvania & Southern Railroad. Im not sure what the intentions are for the track.

brent
chambersburg , PA
5/19/2016

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Brent,is it possible they could use it for freight?

george oakley
reading, PA
5/20/2016

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Im not sure what their intentions are for it but as far as i know the rails are usable

Brent
Chambersburg, PA
5/23/2016

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Brent,it possibly could be used for freight like i said.I'm wondering is it possible to use the rail for tourist trains or is it too short of a distance?

george oakley
reading, PA
5/24/2016

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The segment they purchased is about 4 miles long so im not sure what use they can get out of that

Brent
chambersburg , PA
6/1/2016

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Brent,thanks for responding.That is way too short for a tourist train.Do you know if there are any businesses with rail sidings on this rail line that Pennsylvania & Southern bought?

george oakley
reading, PA
6/2/2016

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