Weverton to Roxbury
This branch left the B&O mainline at Weverton, MD, between Brunswick, MD and Harpers Ferry, WV. It is segment #34 in the Maryland section of Nielsen's book Right-of-Way, A Guide To Abandoned Railroads. The branch was initially constructed some time in the late 1800s, and ran north to Hagerstown. The B&O had its own station in town; a replica on the site is now a car wash. The B&O also had a bypass that cut around the southeast side of Hagerstown and connected directly from the branch to the old Western Maryland mainline; this bypass is abandoned also and ran from Security Junction on the B&O to Security on the WM.
Hagerstown still has a lot of rail activity for a small town, including a former WM yard and buildings that are now the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum. Part of this branch is still in service, between Hagerstown and a state prison called Roxbury in the SPV atlas. South of there, the entire remainder of the branch was abandoned in the 1970s. Towns on this section to the south of Roxbury are Breathedsville, Keedysville, Eakle's Mill, Rohrersville, Beeler's Summit, Gapland, Brownsville, Augusta, Stonebreaker and into Weverton on the line between Washington, DC and Harper's Ferry, WV.
Thanks to Mike Palmer for contributing information.
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad
Washington County Railroad
|Docket: AB 19 Sub 20||3/18/1975||Section: 1(18)|
|Applic. of Washington County RR. Co; and B&O to abandon between Weverton and Hagerstown, (Hagerstown Br. and a portion of Antietam Br.) near Security, Md., all in Washington County, Md.|
In October 2008 I stopped by the Hagerstown (MD) Roundhouse Museum. The volunteers theer said this line was pulled up in the 1980s, after Western Maryland and B&O had been folded into Chessie System. This specific route was built to allow B&O to reach the interchanges with other lines in Hagerstown; there was little on-line business. Once the Chessie System lines were consolidated, this route was no longer needed.
I have chessie timetables and the one from 1975 shows the line still going to weaverton,then I also have a 1981 book that shows it only going to roxbury. Some where between 1975 and 1981 the track was pulled up.
The Washington County RR was opened by the B&O in 1867 or 1868 and lasted intact well into the 1970's when after the B&O was acquired by the C&O, it was removed in stages. It has more often been called the Hagerstown Branch or the Weverton Branch but the offiical name was referenced at the outset. Pieces of the branch off the CSX mainline can still be found today at the former connection, across from the C&O Canal lockhouse. Word of warning though in warm weather, snakes like to hide in cool places out of the sun, where it is still warm so be careful if desiring to go wandering into the weeds in search of this, or for that matter, any other such venture.
I drive along about 13 miles of this route (Brunswick to just south of Roxbury) every day. I've been fascinated by the old railroad bed (as well as the old road that preceded state Route 67) through "Pleasant Valley" for years. The path from where the tracks passed over Trego Road at Rohrersville Station to Dogstreet Lane (just past Eakles Mill) is very easy to view as you drive North along Trego Road and then Mt. Briar Road as the right of way crisscrosses the road(s) several times and is elevated in many places.
There is currently a renewed push to convert the right of way into a bike path from Weverton to Hagerstown.
This is a very interesting branch line with a neat history and spectacular scenery but it really never amounted to much. It was ostensibly built by the B&O as noted here to interchange with several railroads including the Western Maryland but it was really built to siphon traffic off of the Western Maryland. This was back in the days when you built competing lines either in hopes of taking over a market or at the very least reducing your competitors hold in a particular market. Competition is good!
Interestingly, the old right-of-way parallels Roxbury Correctional Institution's Western Fence within 30-50 feet and is very visible.
Does anyone know the status of the right of way....it appears that local land owners have taken the right of way in many places....we have been hiking the weverton end.
When looking at the Washington County GIS site, it appears that most of the line is owned by Maryland Natural Resources (State Parks). There is a break of about 0.5 miles near Beeler's summit that is not owned by the state. It appears that the R-O-W has been left here and not plowed over like the fields around it. It would be wonderful and a great way to bring $$ into Boonsboro and Hagerstown is this R-O-W were developed into a rail-trail state park from the C&O all the way to Hagerstown. Just see the New River Trail State Park in VA, North Bend and Greenbrier River Rail Trail state parks in WV, the Katy Trail in MO, and the Virginia Creeper trail in the Mount Rogers National Recreation area for examples of the positives associated with Rail Trail development.
I have a few photos of the line in the Weverton area after abandonment-but with track STILL in place, albeit somewhat grown over. Photos also show crossbucks/signals on old 340! Will be in a future YouTube slide show, soon as I'm able to scan the original color negatives and touch 'em up a bit. I prefer to put out the highest quality photos possible. I do currently have some classic Chessie/B&O photos (70s/80s)posted in a slide show on my YT channel (bullfrog1954).
P.S. B&O applied for abandonment in 1975; permission granted in 1978; track south of Roxbury in place till 1979. Originally charted as Washington County Railroad (later B&O WC Branch). Construction began 1866.
CSX Should have Exempted the line because when I cross the tracks, no trains at sight
The people who's land was taken, mostly farmers, to put in the RR should have it returned to them. They were the rightful owners, not the state!
In addition, we have the C&O Canal Towpath, Antietam Battlefield and Appalachian Trail nearby and do not need to continue spending more millions to rebuild bridges with emergency access, continued maintenance and armed (National Park Service)manpower to patrol. Has anyone noticed that park fees are going up?
Our tax dollars would be better spent teaching our children how to read and write well; which most cannot upon graduation from Washington county schools.