7th C&O Canal Crossing/B163.3

<i>7th C&O Canal Crossing/B163.3

South Cumberland area

South Cumberland was and is a neighborhood in Cumberland through which the WM mainline ran. The WM main came out of Welton Tunnel and crossed the Potomac River for the 8th time before again crossing the C&O Canal at the Hagerstown/Elkins Division marker. From that point the WM ran past homes as it crossed Virginia Ave. and River Ave. Just past River Ave. The WM served Brocks Salvage Yard before crossing the C&O Canal again. After crossing the canal the WM crossed back over the Potomac River on the 9th bridge before it disappeared into Knobley Tunnel. This section of track west of River Ave. was saved during abandoment to reach the salvage yard here. This went on up untill I believe 1997 when the salvage yard closed. In 1998 the tracks were pulled up from Maryland Jct. through Knobley Tunnel, across the Potomac and up to River Avenue. A new road (Canal Parkway) was constructed just to the west of River Ave. and the right of way was bulldozed away.

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WM tracks during use of the industrial spur then again when the were declared "out of service". The tracks were still in at the time but grass had began to hide them.

Ex.-Guilford unit crosses the C&O Canal in South Cumberland as the Ridgely Switcher on January 28, 1991 returning from Brock's Salvage Yard. CSX crosses the same canal at North Branch and Maryland Heights, Md. (Brian Paulus)

WM's 8th crossing of the C&O Canal after CSX abandoned the line. This bridge is just east of Knobley Tunnel.

The WM tracks while it was still an industrial spur. Brocks Salvage Yard is down the tracks on the left.(4/24/93) About 9 years later the tracks over the bridge had been removed. In 1993 I was on a Boy Scout bike trip on the canal, that's my friend by the bridge, Dusty Bowers.

story from a railfan

A passenger train derailed here where the siding to Brocks was. The coaches came to rest well below the roadbed and the "big hook" had quite a time getting those long cars back on the tracks. That happened in 1949 as my dad recalls. I also have a photo of a WM 1400-Potomac which derailed at the same location. Due to the Potomac's short time on WM rails, it must have occured around the same time.

At one time the spur to Brocks once extended all the way up to the B&O and connected right behind the old two-story yellow laundromat on Industrial Boulevard. There are remnant of the rails which remain in the woods on the other side of the tracks behind the laundromat. In the late 70's and early 80's, there was discussion or relaying the rails so Chessie would have a viable connection between MD. Jct. and theirmain line. Community opposition quickly quashed that idea due to fears of trains stopped and blocking traffic in the Lexington and Lafayette Ave. area.

A derailed caboose at the end of the track near River Ave. brought in the "big Hook" on a snowy December 8, 1989. In the distance is the bridge over the C&O Canal and Knobley Tunnel. It's almost as if the "Big Hook" is getting in the clear so WM-6 can come east. (Brian Paulus)

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