West Baltimore station
Platforms at West Baltimore Station
400 North Smallwood Street|
|Owned by||Maryland Transit Administration|
|Platforms||2 side platforms|
|Connections||23 40, 47, 150|
|Passengers (2013)||861 (MARC)|
West Baltimore is a regional rail station located in the western part of the City of Baltimore, Maryland along the Northeast Corridor and is served by MARC Penn Line trains. It is positioned on an elevated grade above and between the nearby parallel West Mulberry and West Franklin Streets (U.S. Route 40) at 400 North Smallwood Street. Four large surface lots are available for commuters. The station is not handicapped accessible, with four low-level side platforms next to the outer tracks, but MTA Maryland plans to later renovate the outdoor station with accessible platforms and entrances.
The Baltimore and Potomac Railroad (B&P), owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad, opened to Baltimore in 1873. By the early 1900s, the PRR stopped at Lafayette and Calverton (also known as Gwynns Falls) west of Baltimore, serving local residential areas. Because both the B&P and the Northern Central Railway approached Penn Station from the west, PRR through trains from Washington to Harrisburg had to operate in reverse from Baltimore to Washington. To correct this, the PRR planned to replace the two stops with a single intercity-oriented station located between them, along with a wye at the north end of the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel to allow trains to bypass Penn Station.
The PRR opened bidding for station construction, with an estimated cost of $50,000 (equivalent to $1,100,000 in 2017), in July 1916. The Spanish Mission style station, constructed of red brick with a terra-cotta tile roof, was designed by PRR staff architect William Holmes Cookman. The station, named Edmondson, opened on May 1, 1917. Original plans called for the installation of high-level platforms and a footbridge connecting them to the station building. However, this was delayed by the nationalization of railroads during World War I, and neither the station improvements nor the wye was ultimately built.
Unlike the comparable North Philadelphia station, Edmondson was not a success. It was far from the city center without a good transit connection to it, and without the wye the station did not serve Harrisburg trains. Instead of being a major intercity stop, Edmondson was mostly served by local commuter service between Washington and Baltimore. Local service continued under Penn Central from 1968 to 1976, then under Conrail until 1983, and finally as the Amtrak-operated, state-funded AMDOT service (renamed the MARC Penn Line in 1984). The station was briefly closed in March 1979 after an accident destroyed the stairway to the platform. Amtrak's Chesapeake, a limited-stop commuter train between Washington and Philadelphia, began stopping at Edmondson on July 29, 1979. The Chesapeake was discontinued on October 30, 1983.
Edmondson continued to be a stop on the state-funded commuter service. The Edmondson and Frederick Road stops were closed on April 27, 1984; they were replaced with West Baltimore station, two blocks to the south of Edmondson Avenue, on April 30. The stairs and platforms were removed, but the station building remains in place as a private business (which it had been converted to even before the stop closed).
In 2009, it was announced that approximately 400 parking spaces east of Pulaski Street would be added, as part of the project to remove the portion of Interstate 170 (now Route 40) that had never carried vehicular traffic. The spots were not to be permanent, but instead only available until redevelopment of the surrounding neighborhood. The expressway was demolished in the fall of 2010, and the spaces opened soon after.
West Baltimore station has attracted criticism for being unsafe due to crime and the poor conditions of the platforms and staircases, which are crumbling and rusted. As part of the larger project to repair the Interstate 170 area, the station will be improved over a period of several years. Immediate repairs to the stairs and platforms, as well as improved shelters and lighting, were made in 2014. Ultimately, the platforms will be extended to serve more cars per train and raised for handicapped accessibility, and ramps built to surrounding streets. The Red Line light rail service, originally planned to begin construction in 2015 (before its cancellation that year) and open in 2022, was to run along the Route 40 corridor in the median of the highway underneath the elevated city streets with a stop at West Baltimore. Escalators and elevators would be used to transport commuters from the station to the streets above the Route 40 corridor in West Baltimore.
The station is also served by 8 MTA Bus routes:
- GR CityLink Green - West Baltimore to Towson
- PK CityLink Pink - West Baltimore to Cedonia
- OR CityLink Orange - West Baltimore to Essex
- BL CityLink Blue - Johns Hopkins Bayview to Westgate / CMS
- 26 LocalLink 26 - Mondawmin Metro to South Baltimore Park & Ride
- 77 LocalLink 77 - West Baltimore MARC to Catonsville
- 78 LocalLink 78 - West Baltimore MARC to CMS
- 80 LocalLink 80 - City Hall to Rogers Avenue Metro
- 150 Express BusLink 150 - Harbor East to Columbia
- "MARC Station Information". Maryland Transit Administration.
- Bromley, George W.; Bromley, Walster S. (1906). Plate 11: Part of Wards 16, 18, 19 & 20. Atlas of the City of Baltimore, Maryland. G.W. Bromley and Co.
- Hayden, Philip A. (September 11, 2015). "MARYLAND HISTORICAL TRUST DETERMINATION OF ELIGIBILITY FORM: Baltimore & Potomac RR, Edmondson Avenue Station" (PDF). Federal Railroad Administration. pp. 1–9.
- "Pennsylvania to Erect New Station". Baltimore. Vol. 9 no. 11. Merchants and Manufacturers Association of Baltimore, MD. August 1916. p. 2 – via Google Books.
- "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Midtown Edmondson Historic District" (PDF). City of Baltimore. p. 25.
- Baer, Christopher T. (April 2015). "A GENERAL CHRONOLOGY OF THE SUCCESSORS OF THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD COMPANY AND THEIR HISTORICAL CONTEXT: 1979" (PDF). Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society.
- Baer, Christopher T. (April 2015). "A GENERAL CHRONOLOGY OF THE SUCCESSORS OF THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD COMPANY AND THEIR HISTORICAL CONTEXT: 1980-89" (PDF). Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society.
- McCord, Joel (April 28, 1984). "New station, schedule for rail users". Baltimore Sun – via Newspapers.com.
- Schultz, Sue (23 February 2009). "MTA adding 400 parking spaces at West Baltimore MARC station". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- Shen, Fern & Reutter, Mark (15 October 2013). "A tale of two train stations: Rusty stairs and "airborne" concrete steps greet passengers using MARC's West Baltimore station". Baltimore Brew. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- "West Baltimore MARC Station Projects: Project News & Updates Community Meeting" (PDF). Maryland Transit Administration. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to West Baltimore station.|