East Portal of Indigo Tunnel/B129

East Portal of Indigo Tunnel/B129</I>

Indigo Tunnel was built in 1904. The drilling equipment was barged in on the adjacent C&O Canal. The tunnel was drilled at a length of 4,350 ft. just short of one mile. The gray slate from the tunnel was hauled out during drilling and dumped at the west portal making a large flat area. There was a eastbound signal here #130.1 along with a phone box. On the east end there was a phone booth and a westbound signal, now all gone.

During construction of Western Maryland's Indigo Tunnel, a man who was working in the tunnel was injured when a timber fell on him. The man ended up in the hospitial and lost his leg. He later lived in Little Orleans after leaving the hospital. He worked for the Western Maryland as a "portal man" for 10 years in the very same tunnel where he had lost his leg. The man was replaced by his son, after difficulties incountered while working with a missing leg. The man's son worked the night shift as portal man at WM's Indigo Tunnel for over 44 years. He was responsible for maintaining the track in the tunnel, keeping them free of rocks and debris that may have fallen. One particular day during a severe downpour the man had checked one end of the tunnel and was at the other end when he heard a "terrific racket" at the end of the tunnel he had just checked. It turned out that a approaching train had hit a rock slide. The train had wrecked and the man was blamed for the accident. However, he was later cleared after an investigation proved "he could not have been at fault."

A small work camp was built at the east poratl. A saloon was built directly over top the tunnel along High Germany Road that keep the workers on high spirits during construction.

WM 4-6-2 No.208 blasts out of the east portal of Indigo Tunnel. The second photos is the same portal in 1978 shortly after the tracks were lifted. Don Biggs took this photo when driving the roadbed. He drove through it twice and had to back out of it once. He was headed back to Little Orleans and after getting about a third of the way inside, there was a truck coming from the west end. Since the other guy was already passed the middle, Don had to back out. It was also noted that when the contractors took up the track in the tunnel, they made a real mess out of the roadbed, perhaps to keep people from driving through it. (WM 208, unknown photographer)(1978, Don Biggs photo and info)

(photos and the following info from David Lawrence Scally), "A group of young National Guard Enlisted Men and their Officers were assembled on the Eastern End of the Indigo Tunnel, some or all had driven through the Tunnel from Little Orleans, MD. The little dog remained after the truck left. He was a very sweet little dog of questionable ancestry, from the Little Orleans Region. Bill Schoenadel once told me a little bit about him. No human ever claimed responsibility for the poor dog, who thus had to fend for himself and whatever food he could charm out of the Humans of the Little Orleans Community. Once at a social gathering, a little boy dropped a hot dog and the dog thought it was fair game, making the error of biting the child in defense of what he thought was now food that he was entitled to. In the Human Dominated world that controls Maryland Law, the poor little dog was executed for the Capitol Crime of “Dog Biting Man”". (April 1986)

Here is another shot of the east portal of the tunnel. If you look closely you can see the other side of the 4,350 ft. long tunnel. The east portal has a slight curve but not to severe where you cannot see through the tunnel from the other side.

A view trackside looking west towards Indigo and the telephone booth. Notice the speeder parked alongside the booth and the beginning of a retaining wall in the foreground running behind the photogrspher. (Thanks to Jim Coshun for photo)

As stated on the photo, takem from the cab of WM F7 No.52 as it headed west in June 30, 1966. (Thanks to Jim Coshun for photo)

This photo is looking east from the East Portal of Indigo Tunnel on November 6, 2004. The WM had a telephone booth located here and westbound signal 129.0. A large rock slide now covers the right-of-way and a portion of the canal. It's a very large slide, as if a section of the mountain just let go.

Further east of the previous cut is this second rock slide. We are looking west towards the tunnel in this April 1986 photo. (photo by David Lawrence Scally)

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