MARC, Baltimore Light Rail
MARC train on a stub track east of the B&O Warehouse
|Address||301 West Camden Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Hunt Valley – BWI Marshall
Hunt Valley – Cromwell
Penn Station – Camden Yards
|Connections||3, 27, 120, 160, 320, 410, 411, 420|
|Platforms||3 island platforms|
|Tracks||6 (3 Light Rail, 3 MARC)|
|Owned by||CSX Transportation|
Camden Station, now also referred to as Camden Yards, is a train station at the intersection of Howard and Camden Streets in Baltimore, Maryland, served by MARC commuter rail service and local Light Rail trains. It is adjacent to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Camden Station was originally built in 1856 by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad as its main passenger terminal in Baltimore and is one of the longest continuously-operated terminals in the United States.
In 1852, the Board of Directors of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) approved the purchase of five blocks of land fronting on Camden Street at a cost of $600,000 for the construction of a new passenger and freight station to serve the city of Baltimore from a larger, more centrally-located site than the B&O's 1830s–1850s depot, Mount Clare Station. Architectural renderings for Camden Station were submitted by the firm of Niernsee and Neilson in 1855. Construction began in phases in 1856 under the supervision of Baltimore architect Joseph F. Kemp, who also partly designed the final version, a three-story brick structure with three towers in the Italianate architectural style. The center section was substantially completed by 1857; thereafter, the station was used by the B&O's passenger trains until the 1980s, one of the longest continuously operated railroad terminals in the U.S. Construction was completed in 1867 with the addition of two wings and the towers following the end of the Civil War. The station's center tower was originally 185 feet (56 m) high.
Civil War years 
In February, 1861, Abraham Lincoln travelled through Camden Station in February 1861, on his way to Washington, D.C. to be inaugurated as President of the United States. News of the Battle of Fort Sumter, beginning the Civil War, first reached Baltimore on April 12, 1861, at the B&O's Camden Station telegraph office. The following week, Union troops of the 6th Massachusetts Regiment travelling south on the B&O barricaded themselves at Camden Station when they were attacked by Confederate sympathizers in the Baltimore riot of 1861. During the four-year conflict, the B&O's line between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. was the sole rail link between the Federal capitol and the North, resulting in a vital role for Camden Station as B&O's Baltimore terminal. Trainloads of wounded soldiers and Confederate POWs came through the station following the Battle of Antietam, 75 miles (121 km) west of Baltimore on September 17, 1862. President Lincoln changed trains at Camden Station on November 18, 1863 en route to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to deliver the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln also used Camden Station on April 18, 1864 when he made an overnight visit to Baltimore for a speaking engagement. A year later, at 10 a.m. on April 21, 1865, the assassinated president's nine-car funeral train arrived at Camden Station, the first stop on its slow journey from Washington to Springfield, Illinois, via the B&O and the Northern Central Railway's Baltimore-Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, line.
Beginning in 1897, Camden Station also had lower level platforms for B&O's New York–Washington passenger trains, which used the Howard Street tunnel to reach Mount Royal Station. The first mainline electrification of a steam railroad in the U.S. occurred at Camden Station on June 27, 1895, when an electric locomotive pulled a Royal Blue train through the Howard Street tunnel.
20th century 
In 1912, the B&O remodeled the central waiting room, enlarging it and adding oak panelling with marble wainscoting for the Democratic National Convention, held in Baltimore that year. The Annapolis & Baltimore Short Line Railroad also used Camden Station for its trains to Annapolis, Maryland, beginning in 1887. Except for an interval between 1921–1935, when the successor Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Electric Railway (WB&A) used a separate station at Howard and Lombard Streets, frequent electric interurban trains to Maryland's capitol served Camden station until February 5, 1950, when WB&A successor Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad replaced rail passenger service with buses.
The first streamlined, non-articulated diesel locomotive in the U.S., EMC EA-EB #51, began using Camden Station's lower level platforms in 1937, pulling the B&O's famed Royal Blue. In addition to its New York–Washington service and frequent commuter trains to Washington, the B&O also operated extensive long-distance service at Camden Station to such cities as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and St. Louis. The Capitol Limited, Shenandoah, and Washington–Chicago Express to Chicago and the National Limited, Diplomat, and Metropolitan Special to St. Louis were among the many trains arriving and departing daily from the station during the first half of the 20th century. When the modern-era Major League Baseball Baltimore Orioles began playing in Baltimore, they arrived at Camden by B&O train from Detroit for their inaugural home opening game of the 1954 season.
Declining rail passenger traffic in the 1950s–1960s led to substantial reductions in passenger train arrivals and departures at the venerable station. On April 26, 1958, the B&O discontinued all passenger service to Phildadelphia and New York, and Camden Station's lower level platforms were used thereafter only for a few trains serving Mount Royal Station. When Mount Royal closed in 1961, the lower level platforms were removed. Today, the lower level tracks and the Howard Street tunnel continue to be extensively used by freight trains of B&O's successor CSX Transportation, as part of its mainline system. The inception of Amtrak on May 1, 1971, marked the demise of all B&O long-haul passenger service. Thereafter, only B&O's local commuter trains, mostly Budd Rail Diesel Cars, continued to use Camden Station. Baltimore Sun commentator Jacques Kelly described Camden Station in its twilight years of B&O operation in the 1980s as, "Spotlessly maintained, it radiated the goodwill and a non-arrogant style typical of B&O employees ... its golden oak benches and large overhead lamps were maintained in the same pristine condition as when they welcomed delegates to the 1912 Democratic Presidential Convention."
Current operations 
The rail station is now served by both the Baltimore Light Rail and MARC's Camden Line commuter rail to Washington, D.C.. Baltimore Light Rail provides southbound direct service to BWI Airport and Glen Burnie, and northbound to Mount Royal, Lutherville-Timonium, and Hunt Valley. The MTA's Light Rail began service around the time that Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened. Its schedules refer to the stop as "Camden Yards": its name derives from the B&O's freight yards that were part of the site. The adjacent B&O Warehouse is now part of the Orioles' stadium.
Although MARC schedules still refer to the Camden Line's terminus as "Camden Station", only the station's platforms are now used. The station is served by three island platforms, and six tracks. MARC trains use three tracks and the west and center platforms, and light rail uses three tracks (the third track helps to turn trains which run the Penn Station-Camden Route) and the center and east platforms. The center platform is unique as it accommodates both the high level MARC equipment, and the low level light rail equipment. This is accomplished with different track heights. The MARC track is 48 inches (1,219 mm) below the platform, which allows for level boarding. The light rail track is at the same height as the platform.
The original B&O station building is no longer used for train passengers. In May, 2005, a new sports museum, the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, opened in the original Camden Station structure. The following year, Geppi's Entertainment Museum opened above the Sports Legends museum.
EMD GP40WH-2 #52 at Camden Station, July 2, 2004
See also 
- Baltimore Belt Line
- Baltimore Civil War Museum
- Baltimore Terminal Subdivision (CSX)
- Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad
- President Street Station
- B & O Freight Terminal (Cincinnati, Ohio)
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