I decided to write about the former B&O Hagerstown branch that was once a busy line as an example. It is the only line out of Hagerstown that has no through traffic anymore of 7 lines. B&O Hagerstown Branch This line was one of the original B&O lines. It had many large bridges. The line served mainly for passenger reasons, to interchange with the WM, and to serve several industries (Berries from Trego, gravel from Rohrersville, grain from Kedysville, grain from Breathedsville, a prison in Roxbury, the Hagerstown Newspaper Co., and a tool company) and there was also a branch that went about 3 miles to the WM in security. It served a furniture company, block company, cement plant (also WM served) and power plant. In the early 70's a lumber company, Welding supplier, and 2 scrap dealers opened on the line near Hagerstown. The the B&O and WM merged. Passenger service ended, and Berries from Trego, grain from Kedysville, a prison in Roxbury, the Hagerstown Newspaper Co., and a tool company in Hagerstown closed or were sold to commercial companies. The only active customers south of Roxbury were an old grain elevator near Breathedsville and the Rohrersville quarry each recieving a few cars a month. Then the elevator closed and the quarry stopped shipping by rail. The line South of Roxbury (15 miles) was abandoned, and all bridges including a 100 ft span over Manor Chrch Rd. and a 400 ft. Bollman Truss span over the Antietam Creek that was also regestered as one of the historic landmarks. Now, the quarry blasted away part of the old ROW, and the prison expanded onto it. North of Roxbury however, the future was brighter. The main customer was Conservit; a large scrap dealer that requires 12 cars a day. Then there was bad, again.... The power plant had auesbestous and closed, and the block company and furniture company stopped shipping by rail. The branch was torn up between just north of Jefferson Blvd. and the power plant's old location due to speculation of a cleanup. The torn up section is now Eastern Blvd. North of Jefferson Blvd a switcher from the WM serves the cement plant (4-6 cars a day) and the scrap yard (2-4 cars a day). Traffic remained the same on the Roxbury branch until 1995, when a paper mill opened near the site of the power plant. it needed 12 cars a day. In 1998 the mill closed, but the rails remained. Now it was purchased by a new company and will reopen soon. Other customers (welding supplier and lumber company) stopped recieving a lot of cars and now only ship occasionally. Currently one train (2 movements) operate on the line daily, servikng the scrap dealer. Every now and then a switcher brings a car or 2 to the welding supplier and lumber company. You may be wondering why I brought this up, well...... In mid 2001 there was a tunnel fire near Baltimore that made the O's stop games. Trains were diverted from D.C to Hancock (80 miles) and then 20 miles west to Hagerstown, where they took NS trackage rights to NYC. Well, due to high speeds on this line, the trains actually beat the original time. Because of this the Tropicana juice train and 2-3 intermodal trains (Q133, Q134 and maybe more) will be perminantly rerouted, once a connection is built in Cherry Run and a new signaling system on the way to Hagerstown. Constuction will start Jan. 2nd 2003. That line already had 10-12 daily movements. Now nearly 20 will go on the busy line. If CSX had not torn up the line those 3+ trains would go on it. If the line was still down MARC, which always wanted to go into Hagerstown would also be here. Basically whats now a deer trail could have been a busy line. It makes you wonder why rail are torn up. Up in Waynesboro the WM Pa. abc route mainline used to go up the mountain and down on the same side. A new line was built to bypass this. However Waynesboro had several customers (machine Company, Lumberyard, large tool company, Refridgerator manufacturer, formerly a grain elevator, and a cold storage company. they tore up the track up the mountain, but kept in to the old grain elevator. When it closed in the 60's, the track was torn up from the elevator to Waynesboro. In the 70's a 100 ft long wooden trestle had some support problems and the line was abandoned. The bridge ws torn up and so was the line. After the line was abandoned a large modular homebuilder opened. It is in Waynesboro and uses rail 6 miles to the south in Smithsburg, recieving 2 carloads of lumber. I was told thast the homebuilder would use even more lumber if they had rails in Waynesboro. If the line was open, one could easily assume that daily 10 to 12 car trains could easily have gone the 7 miles into town from the CSX Lurgan sub. This makes you wonder. Your Thoughts?