Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad
Map of the B&A Railroad from 1970
|Locale||Annapolis and Baltimore, Maryland|
|Dates of operation||1887–~1980|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad was an American railroad of central Maryland built in the 19th century. The railroad, the second to serve Annapolis, ran between Annapolis and Clifford along the north shore of the Severn River. From Clifford, just north of the present day Patapsco Light Rail Stop, it connected with the B&O's Curtis Bay branch so that trains could travel to Baltimore. In 1921, when it was called the Annapolis and Baltimore Short Line, it was purchased by the larger Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Electric Railway (WB&A), and then emerged from the WB&A's 1935 bankruptcy and closure as the Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad. B&A electric passenger operation between the two cities continued until 1950, at which time the rail line became solely a freight carrier, operating buses for passenger service. Freight service to Annapolis continued until June 1968 when the Severn River Trestle was declared unsafe. In the 1980s the line was completely shut down. The right-of-way now serves as part of Baltimore's light rail system and as the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail.
- 1 Annapolis and Baltimore Short Line
- 2 Stations
- 3 Surviving landmarks
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Annapolis and Baltimore Short Line
The Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad was chartered in 1880, by a group of New England promoters as the Annapolis and Baltimore Short Line and began running in March 1887. This freight and passenger line was an integral link between Annapolis and Baltimore, transporting almost two million passengers per year until competition from nearby highways forced the railroads' closure. It was the second railroad to serve Annapolis and provided a faster connection to Baltimore, taking a more direct path along the north shore of the Severn River and then crossing the river into Annapolis. The railroad transformed the once-secluded banks of the Severn to a series of suburban communities.
The railroad started as a steam powered line running from Bladen Street in Annapolis, crossing the wide Severn River estuary on a long timber trestle, and on to Clifford on the B&O line, where it used the B&O tracks to terminate at Camden Station in Baltimore. Because the A&B Short Line created an almost straight line southeast from Baltimore it snatched much of the Baltimore-Annapolis trade away from the Annapolis, Washington & Baltimore Railroad on which passengers had to change trains at Annapolis Junction.
At some point prior to 1892, a small connecting line was built between the A&B and the AW&B at the Bay Ridge Junction wye where the AW&B met the Annapolis and Bay Ridge Railroad.
Business was slim in the early years, and in 1893 the railroad was sold to George Burnham Jr. and reorganized as the Baltimore & Annapolis Short Line the next year. Universally it was called simply “The Annapolis Short Line.”
The line was electrified in 1908, and changed its name to the Maryland Electric Railways Company, providing clean, comfortable, faster, and more frequent service. Unlike most electric railways of its time, which employed a low voltage Direct Current electrification, the line installed a 6,600 volt, 25 cycle, single phase Alternating Current electrification system newly developed by the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company. The pioneering AC system was less than fully successful, however, and in 1914, new owners switched to DC. When it did, the B&O was wary of a high-voltage overhead line over its tracks between the Clifford interchange and Camden Station. (Both the WB&A and Short Line then used 3300v AC) So the B&O built a new line for the Short Line between Cliffords and its mainline at Russell Street, paralleling the South Baltimore branch through Westport. This line ran immediately west/south of the Curtis Bay and South Baltimore branches, passing under the Curtis Bay branch along the way.
On June 24, 1913, the swing bridge across the Severn River on the Line was opened for a schooner when freight engine Number 5 with six cars was ahead of schedule. The bridge could not be closed in time and the engine and all cars ended up at the bottom of the Severn River. No one was injured, but for six days the passengers had to be ferried across the river.
During its heyday, the years between 1918 and the late 1920s, the B&A transported as many as 1,750,000 passengers per year between Baltimore and Annapolis. Trains left every hour from 6 am through 11 pm (during rush hours, the trains left every 30 minutes). Because of its strong performance, the neighboring WB&A bought the Annapolis Short Line in 1921 and it became part of the WB&A system in which it was called the North Shore Line. Afterward, Short Line trains were routed over the WB&A between Linthicum and the WB&A's new Baltimore terminal at the corner of Howard & Lombard Streets, now the site of a Holiday Inn. At the same time, most of the old Short Line track between Linthicum and Westport was abandoned, except for a section between Baltimore Highlands and the B&O Cliffords interchange which was kept to handle freight to and from the B&O. The "new" (B&O-built) Annapolis Short Line ROW between Cliffords and Westport was also retained for freight interchange, though this segment was later abandoned in 1979
Emergence from Bankruptcy
Gross receipts for the WB&A began to decline almost as soon as it bought the B&A in 1921. For the next decade the WB&A only survived because of a law exempting it from taxes. In January 1931, the extension of the law failed to pass by one vote and the line went into receivership. The line remained in operation for four more years until it officially ceased on August 20, 1935. The WB&A was sold at public auction with scrap dealers buying most of the rolling stock. The right-of-way and some equipment were bought by the Bondholders Protective Society who then formed the Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad Company. This company negotiated an agreement with the B&O to use Camden Station as its Baltimore terminal. The new company took over on August 21, 1935 for continuous operation. The company also entered the motor bus business, later serving Fort Meade from both Baltimore and Annapolis, plus other points not reached by its rails.
World War II
With the start of World War II and gas rationing, the B&A often ran with all available equipment in service. At semester breaks, holidays and graduation times the trains were packed with midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy, and the B&O ran steam trains to pick up teams and supporters to transport them to Philadelphia for the Army-Navy games.
End of the Line
Following World War II, gasoline and cars came back. At a hearing in November 1949, the Maryland Public Service Commission reported "The rails are worn and would have to be replaced if passenger service is continued; the cars and trains are antiquated, decrepit, and unattractive means of travel; schedules are slow, and there is no inducement, save that of necessity, for anyone to travel the area by rail. While not yet dead, it is moribund”. The B&A substituted buses for rail service; on February 5, 1950, the B&A Short Line made its final passenger run. The electric wires were removed, but the railroad remained intact for diesel-operated freight service. The B&A purchased a diesel that remained in freight service to Annapolis until June 1968 when the Severn River Trestle was embargoed.
The freight was now terminated at Jones Station where Annapolis Lumber and Supply Company sent trucks to collect freight. At this time, the Naval Academy converted their power and heating systems from coal to oil. By the early 1970s, all that remained in service was a six-mile (10 km) stub to Glen Burnie. The remaining B&A rail freight service ended in 1986.
The Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad's public bus system was absorbed by Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) in 1973 as Route 14. The company continued as a charter bus service using motorcoaches into the mid-1980s, but eventually ceased service.
In 1981, Anne Arundel County purchased a section of the 66-foot (20 m) wide right of way from Dorsey Road in Glen Burnie to the north shore of the Severn River for the purpose of creating the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail and park. The remaining line north of Glen Burnie was shut down in the early 1980s and sold to the State of Maryland in 1991 to serve as the southern leg of the light rail system. In 1986, B&A number 50 was donated to the B&O Railroad Museum.
In 1990, the southern portion of the right-of-way was reborn as the Baltimore & Annapolis Rail Trail. In June 1993, light rail began running on the northern portion between Baltimore and Cromwell station in Glen Burnie.
- Carroll (B&O station at Monroe Street)
- (Junction with B&O in Westport just south of the crossing of the Western Maryland Railway Tide Subdivision)
- Clifford (north of Patapsco Avenue, next to the B&O Curtis Bay Branch)
- Baltimore Highlands (between Georgia and Illinois Avenues, across from the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Electric Railroad station)
- Pumphrey (Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard and Belle Grove Road, where the latter now curves)
- Linthicum Heights (Maple Road)
- Shipley (Camp Meade Road)
- Woodlawn Heights
- Ferndale (earlier Wellham) (Wellham Avenue)
- Cromwell (I-97)
- Glen Burnie (Crain Highway)
- Saunders Range
- Oakwood (Oakwood Road)
- Marley (Marley Station Mall)
- Elvaton (Elvaton Road)
- Pasadena (formerly Pleasantena)
- Earleigh Heights (Earleigh Heights Road) (formerly Frost)
- Robinson (Robinson Road)
- Boone Station (later Severna Park)
- Round Bay (Round Bay Road)
- Jones (Jones Station Road)
- Revell (Old County Road)
- Joyce (Joyce Lane)
- Arnold (Arnold Road)
- Asberry (Severn Way)
- Winchester (Winchester Road)
- Wardour (Wardour Drive, where the railway crossed the Severn River)
- West Annapolis
- Annapolis (at the Bladen Street terminus)
Rights of way
The Hunt Valley-Glen Burnie MTA Light Rail system utilizes several portions of the former B&A railway:
- Cromwell Station in Glen Burnie to a point north of Maple Road, where it moves onto the original WB&A right-of-way
- Baltimore Highlands to Patapsco Avenue Station
- Continues on a "new" B&A right-of-way to Westport, passing under the CSX line on a bridge originally built in 1908 to carry the B&O over the B&A
- leaves the B&A at Waterview Avenue.
- The B&A switch remains at Clifford and connects CSXT's Curtis Bay Branch with the Light Rail. Though it exists, this switch is no longer used.
- A section of track still exists at the intersection of Baltimore Annapolis Blvd and Jones Station Rd.
- A dual section of track still exists under the power lines in an overgrowth area just north of the intersection of Jumpers Hole Road.
- Another section of extant track extends from the Annapolis side of the Severn River to Annapolis Street.
- Extant bridge abutments over the Patapsco River downstream from the light rail bridge.
The following stations are still standing:
- Earleigh Heights Station: now the Park Ranger Station and B&A Railroad Museum
- Linthicum Heights Station
- Severna Park Station
The following former stations are currently private residences:
- Round Bay Station
- Revell Station (at Old County & Baltimore Annapolis Blvd)
- Woodlawn Station
- Herbert H. Harwood Jr. (2004–2005). "Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad". Retrieved 2006-11-08.
- "The Baltimore & Annapolis Trail, Maryland". Rails to Trails. The Rails to Trails Conservancy. May 2006.
- Maryland Department of Natural Resources (1983). Maryland Scenic Rivers: The Severn.
- Herbert H. Harwood Jr. (2004–2005). "Annapolis & Elk Ridge Railroad". Retrieved 2006-10-12.
- Jessica Stern (February 1992). "Light rail: two historical footnotes - early electric street railways in Richmond, VA, and Maryland". Retrieved 2006-10-19.
- George, Matthew. "History of B&A Railroad". Archived from the original on April 26, 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-08.
- Herbert H. Harwood Jr. (2004–2005). "Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis Electric Railroad". Retrieved 2006-10-13.
- "Williams v. Mayor and City Council OF Baltimore, 289 U.S. 36 (1933)". March 1933. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
- "Session Laws of Maryland, 1939". 1939. Retrieved 2006-11-14.
- "B&A No. 50". B&O Railroad Museum. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
- "Baltimore and Annapolis Trail Park". 2001. Archived from the original on 17 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-07.
- Land Records of Anne Arundel County
- Brougham, Allen (December 31, 2003). "Vintage Rail Passenger Depots of Maryland". Archived from the original on April 7, 2004. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
- Brougham, Allen, "Earleigh Heights", The Bull Sheet, archived from the original on April 27, 2004
- Brougham, Allen (2003). "Linthicum". The Bull Sheet. Archived from the original on March 16, 2004. Retrieved 2009-09-25.
- BaltimoreAndOhioRR (September 3, 2010). Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad Company Station. YouTube. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
Assorted MTA light-rail trains past the historic B&A RR Station in Linthicum, MD.
- Brougham, Allen, "Severna Park", The Bull Sheet, archived from the original on March 16, 2004
- Merriken, John E. (1993). Every Hour On The Hour; A Chronicle of the Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis Electric Railroad. Taylor Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-9600938-3-0.
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