In 1971 I was in college, but I used my spring break to take a trip around West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia to visit few railroad locations that I had only read about. On my way from Cumberland to Hagerstown I dropped in to Williamsport MD, a small town in the Potomac River valley that was the base of a 1.08 percent grade leading out of the valley. The operator was quite friendly, and there would be some action shortly.
1. This B&O eastbound freight came from Cumberland via the junction at Cherry Run WV. This was part of the old “Central States Dispatch” route involving the B&O, Western Maryland, and Reading to and from the northeast. From my archives I think this train may have been B&O New England 96 (NE96) which would have passed Cherry Run at 0945 and arrived Hagerstown 1045. It was the premier train running from Willard OH to Springfield MA, but not retaining the NE96 designation east of Rutherford. The only other eastbound freight making this connection in 1971 was Rutherford 94 running from Cumberland to Reading’s Rutherford Yard near Harrisburg. Westbound B&O had the New England Westerner (NEWS) which ran from Boston to Cumberland. Keep in mind that WM also ran their own freights, etc. between Hagerstown and Cumberland. WM Williamsport MD.
2. B&O GP40 3746 and an unknown SD40 make a run at the hill without a helper. That C&EI boxcar makes me drool! 04-08-1971. WM Williamsport MD.
3. In a little while the hill helpers drop down and stop at the train order office. SD40 7447 and ALCo FA2s 302-301-304 have the duty this day. WM Williamsport MD.
4. I use this interlude to “roster” the rare ALCos. At this point in their careers they were spending a lot of time on this helper assignment. Western Maryland 302. Williamsport MD.
5. Western Maryland 301. Williamsport MD.
6. They head west on the double track to meet up with an anticipated WM freight train. WM Williamsport MD.
7. The WM coal train is waiting at Pinesburg. WM Williamsport MD.
8. The helper has crossed to the eastbound track and grabbed the caboose. WM Williamsport MD.
9. Western Maryland caboose. Williamsport MD.
10. The engineer on F7a 51 and F9b 413 gives a wave and will grab a train order or message off the stand. This freight could have been an AJ-2 (Alpha Jet) which ran from Bellevue OH to Rutherford PA using the N&W (P&WV route), WM and Reading. The other eastbound freight – WM-6 – would have been at night. WM Williamsport MD.
11. Here’s what I’m waiting for! The helper set roars by as they get a run at “Williamsport hill.” Some coal or other mineral traffic has been added to fill out tonnage. The engineer grabs for an order or message. Those FAs have plenty of horn! WM Williamsport MD.
12. Looks like that brick works has some business for the railroad. WM Williamsport MD.
13. All in a days work for that old veteran. He probably worked on Potomacs and Challengers. 04-08-1971. WM Williamsport MD.
14. Some years later the Williamsport train order office is closed, although double track remains. WM tower Williamsport MD Photographer unknown.
15. WM train order office site Williamsport MD.
16. The same location on 10-11-2019. WM train order office site Williamsport MD.
CSX runs intermodals I015 and I016 to a terminal at Chambersburg PA on the Lurgan Sub. CSX also operates freights and locals over portions of the old WM east of Hagerstown. NS, however, acquired Conrail’s ex-Reading lines in the Harrisburg area, and that included the line down to Lurgan where it met the WM. NS now uses the former PRR to Hagerstown to reach the former N&W, and the WM-Reading route that was so vital to B&O and WM has been severed.
17. WM employee timetable 1973. Cover.
18. This shows WM’s West Sub. WM employee timetable 1973.