North Branch/B160.1

North Branch/B160.1

North Branch in WM days was one of the biggest suppliers of local traffic over the entire West Sub. The industries were worked by crews out of Ridgely Yard. There was a 5,499 passing/storage track just to the East that was named North Branch. This location right at the B159 milepost was the start of CTC West to Maryland Jct, and the start of train-orders East to Hagerstown. North Branch also had a connection with the B&O that was used as a emergency connection if a re-routing was necessary. It was taken out of through freight service on January 5, 1976., today North Branch is the only part of the WM's West Subdivision west of Big Pool Jct. that still has track. It's less than 1 mile of track, but its all that's left of the original "Cumberland Extension". It was originally left intact after abandonment as a through route to serve the Pittsburg Plate Glass Plant, Celanese, and Beatty Trucking are all now shut down and gone. The only present industry is Superfos located on a spur off western end of the track that usually has a covered hopper containing plastic pellets being unloaded. Today the track sees a engine and two cars maybe three times a month. The industry is usually worked out of Cumberland by the "peddler" crew or the grain train that goes to the South Branch Valley Railroad at Greenspring. It is believed that it is done during on a morning switch. Hopefully the coal burning AES Warrior Run Power Plant will switch from truck supplied coal to coal by rail or better, coal by the Western Maryland.

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This is as far west that the old WM mainline did once go at North Branch. The right-of-way west of the track has been covered over to make way for the new Warrior Run Power Plant. (October 1995)


This was a new switch to Superfos, a new industry that built a plant in the North Branch industrial park. The old WM main is on the right and only stretched another 3000 or so feet when the first photo was taken in October 1995. Second photo is at the same location on Halloween 2005. I believe the track the was once the WM mainline was shortened or perhaps covered over. At least there are no buildings on the right-of-way as I had previously thought.

The Superfoss branch in Cumberland, Md. first opened it's doors on September 20, 1986. It is a producer of plastic containers and lids. Plastic pellets come in to the plant in rail cars from the WM. The pellets are converted to containers by injection molding. The finished containers are then screen printed "in house", before being shipped as finished product. The link above will take you to the Cumberland plant.

Took my son John up to North Branch on November 12, 2012 to get one last look at the WM bridge over the B&0 before CSX removed it. Here he is show walking the WM Mainline west approaching the switch to Superfoss. Looks as if the track could still be a mainline railroad.

This old WMRY photo shows the North Branch switch shanty at the time of a derailment. In 2001 the WM tracks are shown looking east in the fog along the 4'x11' building at North Branch. Kinda looks as if it's still a busy mainline railroad. (derailment photo found by Lindsey Feaster in attic of building to be torn down)&(October 2001)

The WM shantyat North Branch, photographed in 1976 by Don Biggs.

An areial photo of the PPG Plant while in operation. The WM runs to the bottom left in the photo.

The CSX switcher has stopped alongside the WM track into the old Pittsburg Plate Glass plant in December 1998. Second photo is looking west on May 26, 2012 from the WM bridge at the same location of the CSX switcher in 98'.

A Western Maryland eastbound train crosses over the B&O RR as it heads for Hagerstown on October 2, 1955. The west end of the WM bridge over the B&O at North Branch. The track east of the bridge disappears into the trees and will later dead end at the edge of the cut that was created when a section of the right-of-way was removed for a road. (4/26/01)

Two photos taken in 1976 at the bridge. Just east of the bridge a short ways the mainline for the WM was still intact but was "out of service". This bridge would remain in use by the Chessie System and later CSX until it was removed on January 5, 2013, exactly 37 years. (1976, Don Biggs photos)

Combined 3 more photos to give another view of the recently cleared fill of the Western Maryland and bridge over CSX. Construction on the new fill is nearly finished. (November 11, 2012)

A view of the bridge from in front of the houses along the WM at North Branch. Its Memorial Day weekend and as you can see the weeds and vines are in full effect on the WM bridge. (May 26, 2012)

While the construction workers were working on the new fill, they were also preparing to lift the rails, crossties, and the bridge itself. Here a stop sign marks as far east a train can go as the rail joints have been removed at the bridges end. The bridge's warning sign still remained then but was gone after the rails were lifted. (November 11, 2012)

The view east from what is left of the WM roadbed. Nothing remains of the bridge, CSX had even removed the concrete supports and stone wall that had held up the fill off the road.

First photo is looking east from the bridge down the grown up tracks on May 26, 2012. Next photo was taken after the bridge was removed and the tracks. The bridge's warrning sign is even gone. All that remains is the B160 milepost, spikes, and some old ballast mixed in with broken crossties and tree stumps. (March 9, 2013)

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