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Columbia in Howard County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Patuxent Branch of the B&O Railroad

Patuxent Branch Trail

 
 
The Patuxent Branch of the B&O Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
By F. Robby, June 8, 2008
1. The Patuxent Branch of the B&O Railroad Marker
Inscription. [picture of steam locomotive] Steam locomotive. A small saddle-tanker locomotive pushed and pulled freight cars around in the quarry, and hauled heavy loads of granite to the main line of the railroad. The saddle-tanker had a water tank that straddled the boiler, eliminating the need for a separate tender car. The small dome behind the smokestack carried sand, which was released by a pipeline onto the rails to improve traction when necessary. During the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries, thousands of industrial locomotives were manufactured in the United States, many for use in the loggin and mining industries. (Detail of photo from the Granite Historical Society, Granite MD)

[map of B&O Railroad showing the Patuxent Branch line] The main line of the B&O Railroad began construction in 1828 in Baltimore, reaching west to the Ohio River. The Washington Branch began in 1835. A 1.3 mile branch was built from Savage Junction to the Savage Textile Mills in 1888, then extended 3 miles farther to Guilford in 1902. It ceased operation in 1928.

[image of station list] A 1917 station list shows several stops along the Patuxent Branch, giving their distances from the junction at Savage MD. Five of the stops had sidings with adequate capacity for numerous rail cars. Guilford also served as a water
The Patuxent Branch of the B&O Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
By F. Robby, June 8, 2008
2. The Patuxent Branch of the B&O Railroad Marker
station. (B&O Official List, Form 6, No. 18)

[picture of freight car] "Guilford and Waltersville Granite Co." is lettered on the side of a freight car in this photo taken in the 1920's at the Waltersville quarry. The joint stock company operated both quarries from around 1890 until 1925, when it declared bankruptcy. (Detail of photo from the Granite Historical Society, Granite MD)

History: The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was a pioneer in railroad history. The first passenger line began operating between Baltimore and Ellicott City in 1830. As the main line reached west to the Ohio River, various branch lines were added. Some of the shorter spurs served the young industries of Maryland. One of these spurs was the Patuxent Branch that served the textile mills and quarries in Savage and Guilford until 1928. It continues in use as a recreational trail in the 21st century.

[topographical map of Patuxent Branch] A 1910 topgraphical map of Howard County shows the route of the Patuxent Branch (here labeled: "B&O RR Freight Lines"). It followed the western bank of the Little Patuxent River, crossing the Middle Patuxent River just north of Savage, then continued north until crossing the Little Patuxent River at Guilford.

[picture of flatcars] Flatcars carry huge slabs of granite from the quarry, to be further dressed by stonecutters. Large stones were often carved into monuments, others made into lintels and structural elements, or further cut into "dimension" or building blocks. (Detail of phot of the Waltersville quarr, from the Granite Historical Society, Granite MD)

[picture of Waltersville quarry train] Quarry train at work in the Waltersville quarry in Granite, Maryland, c. 1920. The company that operated both the Guilford and Waltersville quarries installed freight-rail connections from both quarries to the B&O lines. Operations were probably very similar. (Photo courtesy of the Granite Historical Society, Granite MD)

Rails to Trails Many abandoned railroad lines have been saved for the use of future generations by converting them into recreational trails. Howard County, in cooperation with the Columbia Association, the State of Maryland's Program Open Space, and the Federal Government's ISTEA and TEA-21 programs, has developed much of the Patuxent Branch railroad line into a trail for your enjoyment.
 
Erected 2003 by Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks.
 
Location. 39° 9.937′ N, 76° 50.451′ W. Marker is in Columbia, Maryland, in Howard County. Marker can be reached from Old Guilford Road 0 miles from Guilford Road. Click for map. Marker is on the trail near the parking lot, on the south side of the restored bridge of the Little Patuxent River. Marker is in this post office area: Columbia MD 21046, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Granite Quarries (a few steps from this marker); The Pratt Through-Truss Bridge (a few steps from this marker); The Little Patuxent River (within shouting distance of this marker); The Town of Guilford (within shouting distance of this marker); Governor Harry R. Hughes (approx. 1.4 miles away); Christ Episcopal Church (approx. 1.5 miles away); This Survey Point (approx. 1.9 miles away); Carroll Baldwin Memorial Hall (approx. 2.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Columbia.
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,431 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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