Havre De Grace to Conowingo Dam

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  • States: Maryland   
  • Railroads: SPC   

Map submitted by Justin Chambers.

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The southern side of the bridge located just before the trail and right-of-way diverge. Photo by Justin Chambers, May 2010.

This short abandoned line branches from an active CSX (ex-Baltimore & Ohio) line in Havre de Grace, MD, and heads north to the Conowingo Dam and power plant, located on the Susquehanna River. The line runs adjacent and parallel to the river for most of its length. Its sole purpose was to allow the Susquehanna Power Company to transport heavy equipment to the dam from its connection with the B&O. Dam construction was completed in 1928, ostensibly placing the date of abandonment of this line soon after.

The track is washed out in several areas, but the track is mostly in place from the quarry to the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway Trail at which the rails have been pushed off the side and it has been turned into a rail trail.

Tacks run parallel to the shore for a distance and provide a great view of the Susquehanna. The bridges have been converted to foot bridges for the walking path that runs from the mill to the Greenway Trail.

Justin Chambers
Havre de Grace, MD


Actually, I thought that line branched off what is now Norfolk Southern. It runs down from the quarry on the river and underneath the Rt.40 bridge, then along (on)the street in Harve De Grace (used to), and up to what is still in use as a service track from the Norfolk Southern that makes deliveries to some industries there. Where the CSX crosses the trestle over the river is too high to have a branch off track that would have a passable downgrade to the river level....No??

John Borzatti
Baltimore, MD


This line connects to Aiken siding on the NS Port Road Branch. There has been some debate amongst NS officials whether to re-vamp this line, circumventing the need to run NS freight from Baltimore Bayview up Amtrak's NEC to the Port Road.

Richard Emmerson
Elkton, MD


Many moons ago I worked at the power plant and I knew the man that used to inspect the tracks. Once a month he would run the train up and down the tracks for his inspection. He did this up until Agnes took out part of the line. Therefore, abandonment didn't come in 1928, but closer to 1972.

When I young, my parents used to take us to picnic at the dam. Probably 1975 or 1976, and there were still flat cars on the railroad siding near the plant. I suspect that they were abandoned after the tracks washed out. Yes, the cars were very rusty! The cars were gone once I started working at the plant in 1989.

York, PA


This line does *not* connect to Aiken siding and the Port Road Branch- this thread is confusing two separate lines on *opposite sides* of the River. John Bozatti is correct about the line described here- it branches off from the NE Corridor, serves several industries along a still-active portion in Havre De Grace ending roughly on the line of Congress Avenue (check out Google maps for a view). The line formerly ran into S. Juniata Street and continued up the street (in other words, street running) under the Rt. 40 bridge and then north along the River to the dam. The rails in Juniata St. were in place into the early '80's but that portion had long since been abandoned. It was never CSX or B&O. Across the River, in Perryville, their is a connecting track from the B&O line down to the Port Road. CSX spots bad order cars and MOW at their end, NS often stores cars and equipment at their end. The mid portion is technically OOS (I think) and slowely returning to a state of nature. Again, two seperate lines, on opposite sides of the River.

Wilmington, DE


Just a note....I used to know the name of the shortline railroad on the WEST side of the river that connected to the B&O. Anyone remember it?

Paul Dallard
Chester, PA


Did part of this line run down Juniata Street in Havre de Grace? I remember them and it seems like they were taken up a while back

Havre De Grace, MD



Yes, the line did run down Juniata St. I used to be a field inspector for BG&E back in the 1970s with the Northeast part of their service territory being the area I covered. The line at that time ran from a former connection with the existing PRR industrial spur, onto and down Juniata St., and then curved off to the left onto private right-of-way at the end of the street to follow the Susquehanna River to Conowingo.

David Earp
Mechanicsville, MD


Yes I would like to know if there was an official name for this short line? Also I think it would be awesome to start raising money to restore the line and run tourist trips. Though I know that would be a long complicated process.

Geoffrey Jay
Havre de Grace, MD


While I can't disagree with it being an interesting idea, there are a few things that must be considered.

1.)What is significant? What makes this specific line worthy of restoration?

2.)How do you plan on paying for restoration? It looks to me like this line is R-E-A-L-L-Y rough, not allowing for operation until much trackwork is done.

3.) Equipment. Unless you have sufficient motive power and rolling stock, there's no point in investing heavily in track restoration.

4.)Why should people ride your railroad? What is there to see that can't be easily found elsewhere? What sets it apart from the other lines?

5.)What are the draws to the area? What else is there to see/do?

6.)Boarding location(s). It seems to me that this line runs from the middle of nowhere, conveniently to the middle of nowhere. There must be an established place for people to get onto your train. I'm not saying it is or is not possible, but don't start raising funds before legit solutions to all issues have been found.

Jason M.
Boyertown, RI


Oh I am not saying it is even feasible, just a fun idea to think about, Around here (well with in an hour-hour and a half) all current tourist railroads go out one direction then just return back down same line with only one boarding station, and none follow the water and with the history of both the Conowingo dam construction and the canal, whose towpath was used to lay the line, could make for something interesting. But again just a fun idea and fantasy conversation starter.

Geoffrey Jay
Havre de Grace, MD


I Think what separates this line from most others in the area (and infact around the US) is the fact that it does have water views and interesting infrastructure. I have walked this line three different times in my lifetime, twice on the trail and once where there is no trail. I do believe this will be costly, but it may be worth it. Its in a populated area (Havre de Grace, Aberdeen, Perryville, etc.) and could get some ridership. Definitely a lot of geological and track studies will be needed to be done, but that shouldn't stand in ones way. As far as equipment goes, you could borrow some equipment from the B&O Museum (lots of cars aren't being used/are unrestored) or borrow some stuff from the old Chesapeake Railroad which I believe still has some stuff sitting on the track in Clayton, DE. There's even two old Whitcomb switchers there. Plenty of power.

Dan P.
Bel Air, MD


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