Todd's Railfan Guide to

In General
Getting Here



In General

Mt Airy is on what used to be the B&O's Old Main Line, which runs from Relay/St Denis in Elkridge MD, to Point of Rocks MD.  It was the B&O's first route west, built between 1828 and 1835, until it started building the now current mainline going through Washington DC in 1835.  At one time, the railroad line went through town, hence, the depot in downtown Mt Airy.  The B&O ended passenger service to Mt Airy around 1950, and the track was removed in the 1970's.  The tunnel looks to have been built around 1900, as a way to straighten the path that went around Mt Airy in a loop, and get rid of the accompanying grades.

If you really want to spend some time in the area looking for bits and pieces of the Old Main Line, check out Steve's tour in the second link below.

There are no MARC or Amtrak trains coming through Mt Airy.

Some additional info at:

For other guides of the area:
     Click here for a guide to the central Maryland area,
     Click here for a guide to Point of Rocks MD,
     Click here for a guide to Harpers Ferry WV.

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.

Aerial shots were taken from either Google Maps or www.bing.com/maps as noted, once in a great while maybe MapQuest.  The screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 

My RSUS 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.

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! Contact info is here

Getting Here

From the north, whether I83 from Harrisburg (and beyond, like Rochester, Albany, or Syracuse), or from NJ, NY and beyond (coming down I95), take the Beltway west around Baltimore to I70.  Take I70 west to exit 68, and the town will be on the north side of the interstate.

If you are coming from the west, you'll probably be on I70 already, so just stay on it till you get to exit 68.

Coming up from the south west, as in I81, take I70 east in Hagerstown, and pass through Frederick to get to Mt Airy.

From DC, you have a couple of choices, but the quickest way is probably to go up head up I270 to exit 16, Ridge Rd, and take it north... it will turn into MD27 on the other side of MD355, North Frederick Rd.  MD27 runs right into Mt Airy.  The other way is to stay on 270 to Frederick, and then take I70 east to Mt Airy, exit 68.


Click here for the above map in PDF version.

Click here for the Central MD map in PDF version.

Click here for the maps of Harpers Ferry, Brunswick, Point of Rocks, Mt Airy and central MD in one PDF.


     1          The B&O Depot


  Looking east from the depot.

  Looking west from the depot.

      Hobby shop next to the depot.

    Looking south from the depot, along Main street, and some of the local boutique eateries.

     2          The Twin Arch Overpass

Out of the way on the very far side of town from where you get off the interstate, is this overpass where the town gets part of its city emblem from.  It's on (of course) Twin Arch Rd.


     3          The Tunnel

The east portal, right off the I70 WB exit ramp.... Summertime is not a good time to try to walk in!  Too much underbrush...

The west portal, looking towards the south, conveniently located off of W Ridgeville Blvd at Rising Ridge Rd.

     4          The Short Industrial Spur

Just west of the tunnel, is a small spur going into town (which was originally part of the Mt Airy loop).  There is also a small interlocking where the spur joins the mainline, at the beginning of the passing siding.  There are signals at both ends of the siding.  The end of the spur can be seen in the above photo of the depot.

    Looking east (L), and west (R) towards the mainline.


  The mainline doesn't get a whole lot in the way of protection (as Ridgeville (above) does) because the road is hardly used.

      Bonus material... Chessie system NO TRESSPASSING sign, and flange lubricator.

     5          The Siding

See below in the signal section

     6          Under I70


    1       Eastern WB signal 

    Summertime is not a good time to go signal chasing!

    2       Eastern EB signals

    3       Western WB signals

    4       Western EB signal


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