Big Pool/B105

Big Pool/B105

Big Pool was reached by the WM in 1892 to connect with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) across the river at Cherry Run, WV. This new connection allowed for increased traffic that made this part of the WM the busiest on the entire railroad. In the spring of 1904 the building of the Cumberland Extension began here at Big Pool. The Western Maryland reached Hancock by December of that year and Cumberland by March 1906. A train-order office was constructed here to control the busy interlocking of the connection with the B&O and the new West Sub/Cumberland Extension traffic. It remained in use for a long time and was manned 24 hours a day. I believe it later closed in 1977 and was torn down. Also, back in the early steam days at Big Pool there was a huge wooden trestle constructed here. It was used to unload coal from hoppers and fill passing steam locomotives. It was later replaced by bigger tenders on the newer steam locomotives.


In August of 1990, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) acquired the 20.3 mile abandoned segment of the Western Maryland Railway, and three lots in the Town of Hancock from CSX Transportation. The abandoned rail corridor was purchased with state-wide DNR Program Open Space funding at a cost of $1,042,000. Construction began November 1996 using the $1.5M of DNR appointed funds. It was completed March 1998 with a paved surface and re-decked bridges from Big Pool to Hancock. The trail begins approximately one-half mile west of historic Fort Frederick State Park. The Western Maryland Rail Trail(WMRT) winds along the Potomac River through farmland, woodlands, and rural towns to its temporary ending in the town of Hancock. Construction began on Phase 2 in May 2002 and extended the trail and additional 8 miles to Tonoloway. Phase 3 is expected to be opened by Spring 2003 another 2 miles west to Pearre.

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The original connection to the B&O RR at Cherry Run was accomplished by crossing these wooden trestles shown about 1925. Later after construction of the Cumberland Extension a new connection was built eliminating the wooden trestles by construction large fills. The bridge over the C&O Canal was also replaced with a similar but stronger tru-truss bridge.

This is D721 westbound crossing over the C&O Canal on the newer bridge at Big Pool bound for the B&O at Cherry Run. This WM telephone booth was found laying in the ditch having been pushed over the side of the fill at the east side of the bridge.

CSX westbound empty hopper train E120 is crossing over the C&O Canal and will so cross the Potomac River where it will join the B&O mainline at Cherry Run. (6/98)

The original WM bridge is shown crossing over the C&O Canal. This bridge can be identified as the original because of the stone abutments. The new bridge has reinforced concrete supports for the bridge and the new fill. The newer bridge is also of a stronger design. These photos were "validation photos" taken by the railroad before war times, showing records of every structure should something be destroyed.

Workers inspect the newly completed Cumberland Extension track in 1904 or 1905. The track to the left is the former railroad grade to the B&O at Cherry Run. A newer connection with the B&O was later constructed making it easier for trains to climb up to the WM mainline from the lower B&O tracks at Cherry Run. The new switch and track would leave the WM main east of here about the B104.7. This photo is very interesting in that it shows the newly completed line only to have one track and the right-of-way is still not yet excavated for two tracks as was known to have. Later, the newer Cumberland Extension is gone having been abandoned and replaced by the Western Maryland Rail Trail. The Ernstville bridge has also been replaced. This bridge can be seen in the background of both photos.

CSX Q016 swings around the curve from Cherry Run and is about to run the WM to Hagerstown, MD. and Chambersburg, PA. January 19, 2019 at 1055 am.

Pictured above is WM's passenger and freight station that was located along the present location of the connecting track to Cherry Run. Today this is the eastern end of the WMRT.

Work crews are excavating a new easier grade that will replace the current line at the time to Cherry Run. The new route will have a much easier eastbound climb up from Cherry Run to the WM mainline. WM's Big Pool freight station can be seen in the background. In the 1990's a CSX freight train lead by Conrail locomotives holds waiting for pushers on the newer Cherry Run connection track. To the right is the WMRT, former locations for the WM stations and coal chute.

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