Riding the rails back in time

If you’re a frequent reader of our blog, you know that Noah LOVES trains…so he was very excited to ride the rails with his friend Donovan this past weekend. All aboard the Walkersville Southern Railroad for a trip back in time!

Our adventure started in Walkersville, MD, which is about an hour northwest of Washington, DC. We could choose where to sit on the turn-of-the-century train: in one of the 1920s passenger coaches, in the open-air flatcar, or in the red caboose. It was HOT that day, so we sat in the open-air flatcar to take advantage of the breeze.

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At a speed of ten miles an hour, our excursion took us through Walkersville, through woods and farmland, and across the new bridge over the Monocacy River. (The original bridge was washed out by flooding after Hurricane Agnes hit the area in 1972.) The ride lasted just over an hour…plenty of time to enjoy the great views. Check it out!

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Here are a few photos from the railroad’s website so that you can get a better view of the train itself.

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The roads we crossed didn’t have signals or crossing gates to alert drivers. Instead, a few volunteers with stop signs leapfrogged from crossing to crossing.

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At one point, the train stopped for ten minutes or so, possibly to give one of the volunteers enough time to get to the next crossing…and that gave Noah a great opportunity to safely get a better look at the track below.

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Here is a short video of our train ride. “Choo choo!” As a quick reminder, if you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.

After the ride, we explored the railroad station and tool house, and we looked at the old train cars.

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Yep, these two are cute little engineers.

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Here’s a quick history of the track in case you’re interested: The track was built between 1869 and 1872 by the Pennsylvania Railroad to connect towns between Columbia, PA and Frederick, MD. The line was used for passenger trains as well as for transporting fresh food from area farms to local markets.

The line changed hands a few times over the years due to railroad company mergers and bankruptcies. When the line was last put up for sale in the 1970s, the State of Maryland purchased the portion of the line within its borders. The short stretch of track that we rode was unused for many years until Walkersville Southern Railroad was chosen to take over operations in the mid 1990s. You can read more about Walkersville Southern Railroad here.

Noah had a great time riding the rails with Donovan! We’re hoping to take Noah on another train ride soon, possibly on the steam-powered locomotive ride offered by Western Maryland Scenic Railroad in Cumberland…stay tuned. In the meantime, he’ll have to settle for playing with his Thomas trains and riding the metro. Ha.

Categories: Fun outings, Trains | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Riding the rails back in time

  1. Sandy Steen

    What fun and interesting times for all of you.

    I remember as a child we still had a depot and trains coming through. My sister and I had the opportunity to ride from Clark to Watertown when they still had a passenger train going through. It wasn’t long after that and the passenger trains did not come through there. My aunt in Watertown picked us up and took us to her house.

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