There is perhaps no boundary in the Continental United States that has been more influential in the history of the country than that of the West Line, otherwise known as the Mason – Dixon Line. It evolved around territory disputes between the Penn’s and Calvert’s in forming the colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland. Blood had been shed before both colonies finally settled and allowed Jeremiah Dixon and Charles Mason to determine the actual boundary demarcation between 1763 to 1767.
Nearly a century later, the boundary became the dividing point between the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War. Although Maryland stayed within the Union, it was due to political wrangling and in many cases martial law.
Which brings us to Stone 108 between miles 104 and 105, it lies within the right of way of the former Cumberland Valley Railroad. The stone itself was not placed here by the original surveyors but is found to be an original stone, one of roughly 135 remaining along the roughly 230 mile boundary all quarried and shipped from England. The stone was perhaps moved from its original location some .33 miles away where sometime before 1902 the railroad found being used as a “horse block” by a local. The stone was set in a base of concrete as instructed by a surveyor working for the State of MD along the line. Sometime in the 1970’s a gravel truck was struck by an oncoming southbound train and damaged the stone.
Today, it remains as a visual reminder of this country’s history and serves as monument for generations to come. JW
In the latter months of 2013, word got out that the Genesse and Wyoming, Inc., a holding company of short lines was planning on repainting the classic blue and orange scheme the line had used since its founding in 1983 and also replacing the GP38 armada with rebuilt SD45 into SD40 car bodies. The MMID was purchased by the G&W in 2008 and had left it largely intact until now, except for some minor changes of operation and the painting into the G&W orange, black and yellow scheme and renumbering of MMID 301 to MMID 2601. Rail buffs from around the country, including myself flocked to the Maryland countryside to capture what turned into the last days of the blue and orange regime.
I made a total of three visits in January, 2014. I had grown up nearby but not knowing much myself about the line, I met up with a few friends who I had previously communicated with via Facebook. We chased the railroad together on several instances, and on different locations each time. The line is the former Western Maryland Railway Baltimore main line which being a history buff, really got me to delve further into study. What started as just a few trips to document change, ended up turning into a project, one that ended up on the pages of Railroads Illustrated March 2014 issue as my first published featured article.
Now, lets fast forward to January of 2015…
It’s a week shy of a year between this and the 2014 photo at the plant above and much has changed on the Maryland Midland. 5 of the 7 original GP38-3 engines have been painted into the G&W orange, yellow and black scheme and shipped to another line. 2 GP38-3’s remain… One given a fresh blue and orange coat, renumbered (300 sans 2060) and has become the lines own “heritage” unit in honor of the railroad’s prosperity and dedicated employees. The other (2061), was painted into the G&W colors a few years back. Enter 4 SD40-2’s to replace them, all in G&W colors. 2 of them leading this UBHF train out of the plant after performing switching duties before heading west to Highfield.
Delivered in the Fall of 2014, two of the four rebuilt SD45’s redesignated SD40-2’s lead both GP38-3’s on a UBHF train down the mountain from Highfield at Lantz, known as Deerfield Station in the Western Maryland Railway days on January 16, 2015.
A year may have past since my previous documentation of this line but the railroad seems stronger day by day. Minus the 2060, all the MMID engines sport G&W colors and provide a new face for the railroad. The super duty locomotives on site now since late 2014 have proven their worth and any doubt of them operating sufficiently on these rails has been diminished significantly.
J-Dub January, 2015