Todd's Railfan Guide to

West Suburbs of Baltimore City
Following the B&O Old Main Line from Ellicott City to Sykesville



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The map below continues our tour of the Baltimore area to the far west of the city, starting at Ellicott City where MAP 6 ends coverage, continuing westward to  Sykesville.

Most of the track along the Old Main Line is inaccessible except at crossings.  One of the few places you can photograph the line is from across the river from the bike and walk path starting at Davis Road and going west.  Along this path, you are also traversing part of the original Old Main Line.

Signals on the Old Main Line were upgraded from the old B&O CPL's to color light signals in 2005.... so don't be dissapointed when you go out to take pictures.

An excellent Old Main Line reference is at: http://www.trainweb.org/oldmainline/

Getting here

Depending on where you are coming from, there are a number of ways to get to these yards.


The above map in PDF format is here


    1      OLD Old Main Line Bridge Abutments

The Old Main Line crossed the Patapsco River here, and followed the southern bank of the river, to the point where (now) Davis Siding starts.  The bike path also officially ends at this point, altho many will cross the tracks and continue west to Old Court Rd via a very steep climb over an outcropping (probably the reason the RR choose to cross the river).

After you start walking on the bike path and round the first bend, you get a great view of both up and down stream.  The two pictures above are looking downstream towards a small dam.

The above picture was taken from the same spot looking upstream.  You can see the stone abutments from here.

Views of the abutments.

Looking up and down the path from the southern shore abutment.

Here and there you can still find a tie or two leftover from when the B&O still ran on the OLD Old Main Line.

    2      OLD Old Main Line Marble Leftovers

These are old marble stringers leftover from the very first track laid down in the 1830's, much more great information can be found here


   Take time to enjoy the scenery if you come here, it's fabulous!

    3       Storm damage from 1972's Hurricane Agnes


Union Dam Tunnel


Dorsey Tunnel


Davis Tunnel


Daniels Bridge


Bridge 18a - Jew Bottom Bridge


Bridge 19a



    1      B&O CPL


    2      B&O CPL



I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.  My webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place.  There are plenty of other good websites to help me in this effort, and they are listed in the links section on my indexa page, or as needed on individual pages.  Please do not write to me about something that may be incorrect, and then hound the heck out of me if I do not respond to you in the manner you would like.  I operate on the "Golden Rule Principle", and if you are not familiar with it, please acquaint yourself with how to treat people by reading Mathew 7:12 (among others, the principle exists in almost every religion).  If you contact me (like some do, hi Paul) and try to make it a "non-fun" thing and start with the name calling, your name will go into my spambox list! :-)

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.  Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations.  I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area.  Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature.  While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!  

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! BE NICE!!! Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.



New 05/13/2007
Last Modified 02/17/2015