8th Crossing/B162.5

8th Crossing/B162.5

8th Crossing

WM crossed the Potomac River here for the 8th time on bridge No. 1625. The bridge is only a few feet from the west portal of Welton Tunnel in South Cumberland. According to the photo below it has a length of 382ft. and is a 3-span D.P.G. type with and valued at $39,762.59 in 1917.

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Hiking the C&O Canal while in Boy Scouts gave me alot of opportunities to hike and explore the WM. On April 26, 1993 I had climbed the bank from WM's C&O Canal crossing and walked east on the right-of-way to photograph the tunnel. I took this photo midway between the canal and the tunnel. Later in 2002, I took a similar photo this time closer to the Potomac bridge and tunnel. All that has changed is bigger trees, more thorns, and weeds. A path to the bridge still remains heavily traveled from the local kids.

The western end of the bridge photographed from South Cumberland in Maryland. The crossties remain for anly a few feet. Welton Tunnel is in the distance directly off the eastern side of the bridge. (March 2002)

A WM Company photo taken in 1917. This photo was most likely a validation photo taken by the railroad prior to World War 1, to record all railroad property in case it would be destroyed during a war. This photo displays the bridge number, station number, length and type of bridge and the bridge's cost. In 2001, I tried to take a similar photo. (1917 and 2001)

The WM left the Maryland bank of the river and crossed into Welton Tunnel apon entering Welton Tunnel. A telephone pole still remains on the Maryland bank along side the bridge. The crossties further out on the bridge were removed in hopes of detouring people from crossing the bridge. (4/26/01)

Down on the Potomac River looking up at the bridge. The WM exited Welton Tunnel on the right and imediately crossed onto the bridge. Today the crossties on the bridge are gone. They were removed after the tunnel was sealed and the route abandoned in January 1976. There was rumor that a WM boxcar remains in the bottom of the river beneath the bridge. The freight car was left by the railroad after a derailment. (4/26/01)

story from a railfan

The boxcar incident mentioned above happened in the late 1940's. Also, a tragiC side note, in 1969, a boy who had been climbing the cliff's by the tunnel with a friend and fell to his death. My father and many other men were out on the river for days searching for his body which turned up a while later. Those clifss were made of very loose shale which was and still is very unstable.

The cliffs at the Cumberland Airport provided good photos of the WM while it was running and still provides a good photo. This was a famous location to photograph WM trains crossing the bridge and proceeding through South Cumberland. The B&O's Cumberland Locomotive Shops can be seen in the background as well. (2003) Below WM SD40 7495 takes a N&W grain train east from Cumberland bound for Hagerstown and N&W's Shenandoah Valley Line. (Unknown photographer)

I got up the courage to walk the narrow girder and cross the bridge to Welton Tunnel. The first photo was taken from 6 feet of right-of-way between the tuneel and the bridge. There is only enough space for 3 crossties between the two. Welton Tunnel was sealed up completely when abandoned, however local kids have opened it back up. The tunnel can be entered. Bring a flash light as the other end is filled in and it gets darker and darker as you walk further into the tunnel. In August 1952 WM Pacific #1405 blasts out of Welton tunnel and across the Potomac River on its way to Maryland Jct. This photo was taken by William P. Price. (4/26/01 and 9/10/1952)

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