Former B&O Depot, now the Sykesville Station Restaurant
Former PRR B&P Tower
Sykesville and Patapsco Railway
"Little Sykes" Train
C&O Car and B&O Caboose
Leftovers of the Springfield Hospital Spur
GPS Coordinates: as needed
Phone A/C: 410
Access by train/transit:
For a small dot on the map, Sykesville actually has quite a lot of railroad "stuff".
Additional maps are at the bottom, showing successfully more detail.
I guess, railfan-wise, the main attraction to Sykesville is the ex-B&O depot turned
restaurant. It is now the Sykesville Station.
You may remember it by another name, for until 2019, it was known as
Baldwin's Station. The restaurant has been remodeled, and
now offers Nashville styled food. During the warm weather, it is
always a hoot to sit on the deck outside, and hope a train comes rambling by!
B&P Tower, which used to be at the south end of the Penn Station in Baltimore
now resides here, housing a small post office and visitors center.
There is a small siding with an old C&O coach and B&O caboose (C1909)
sitting on it. They are home to the Sykesville and Patapsco Railway,
and model RR club that has several layouts in different scales on display.
They are usually open once a month, on the second weekend.
There are numerous good photo spots, especially along River Road....
The crossing at route 97 isn't too bad either. If you are willing to
do some hiking, excellent photos can be had, see my guide map #17 for
railfanning the Old Main Line between here and Ellicott City.
There are a few remnants of the Springfield Hospital Spur still around,
notably the bridge over Main St.... Most of the branch at the hospital is now gone.
Open on Saturdays in good weather is
the "Little Sykes" Railway, a 12 inch gauge passenger train the owner bought
from a mall in Harrisburg PA. Sorry ya'll, the ride is just for the
kiddies, but it's still worthwhile swinging by if you're around there on a
Saturday, I believe the hours are 9am-3pm.
Also located nearby is a fellow who bought one of the Zoo Trains from the
Baltimore Zoo about 25 years ago. Because of privacy issues, I haven't
shown where he lives.
If you're hungry, I suggest either Becks or the Sykesville Station, where you can sit
outside in the good weather, and be right next to the freights as they rumble thru!
Eldersburg offers just about everything else in the way of food (well, OK, they don't
have a Fridays, Checkers, Papadeux's, or Schlotzsky's :-).
Don't forget to bring your wife or girlfriend along, as there are numerous
antique and knick-knack stores here.
Hobby Shops: At one time, there were three hobby shops in the area, one in
downtown Sykesville: Purkeys. The Moose Caboose out west on
Liberty Road closed about 5 years ago (around 2015 or so), and as far as I know,
Pro custom Hobbies in Eldersburg is still hanging in there.
B&P Tower served the Pennsylvania Railroad
from 1910 to 1988, and
was located at the south end of the Baltimore platform. The tower was
named after the junction with the Baltimore and Potomac
RR. When the tower was slated for demolition in 1995 to make
room for the light rail, the town of Bowie MD stepped in and said they would
take the tower for a park project they had in mind. So the top of the
tower was dismantled, and moved into storage in Bowie, unprotected from the
elements (the bottom of the tower is still in place, so I'm not sure why it had
to be demolished for the L/R). When the park never happened, the town of
Sykesville stepped up to the plate in 1999 and said they would take it. So
Sykesville built a new base, and put on top of it what was left of the original
salvageable materials. The tower now serves as the Mainline Visitor Center and Post Office.
Views of B&P Tower / Old Main Line Visitor's Center.
B&P Tower and the block Purkey's was in.
ex B&O Sykesville Depot
The Baltimore & Ohio RR
built the Sykesville depot in 1883. The station was, until June 2020, named after the
architect, E. Francis Baldwin. Supposedly, if you look at the chimney, it
is patterned after the smoke stack of a period steam locomotive. The B&O
used the station up till the end of passenger service to Sykesville in 1949.
The station that preceded this one was built around 1828, and survived for 40 years until
the flood of 1868 came thru and took with it the station and half of Sykesville.
The restaurant was sold in June of 2020 to it's new owners, Kim and D'alan
Baugh. They spent the summer remodeling the building, and re-opened in
August as the Sykesville Station, bringing back the name it was originally
known as. They took up old floor coverings and repainted among other
things, and I like the improvement in the atmosphere the changes made!
My wife and I had dinner there Saturday, October 24th, 2020, and we were excited
to see what the changes had brought. The restaurant isn't quite the
"upscale" place Baldwin's station was, and the prices are more reasonable, more
in line with what Beck's up the street charges. If you are hungry tho,
they do offer a 32 ounce steak! I had the smaller steak, and it was most
tasty, tender, and properly cooked. I will give them a 9/10, only because
I am a iced tea fanatic, and it wasn't up to my standards - for anyone else, a
trip here would be a 10/10.
A set of WB train photos taken the first week of April 2010, while having lunch when it was Baldwin's.
the Springfield Hospital Spur
The Springfield Branch went from the siding "down"
in Sykesville "up to" the Springfield Hospital to
deliver coal to the power plant. The climb in Springfield is pretty steep, but by the
early 1900's, engines were powerful enough to make the grade. The spur was
put in in 1908. The hospital stopped using coal in 1972 when it converted
to oil, and some of the spur is still evident today.
The Springfield Branch bridge over main street, and tracks long unused.
Up on the "top" of the hill, the end of the branch, just after the access road
into Northrop Grumman, and the split on the right. All of this track was
removed in the makeover. In the right picture, the Westinghouse spur is
facing me, and the Springfield branch continues on to the right. Pix from 2004.
Steve covers the Springfield Branch in detail here.
The aerial view below shows the end of the Springfield Branch at the power plant (the blue
arrow), and the yellow arrows point at the right of way.
the Westinghouse Branch
Back in the 1960's when this was a Westinghouse motor repair facility, the building
had it's own siding coming into the property. The siding was removed around
2008 when the physical resources people wanted to spruce up the property in
conjunction with the county's effort to building a new intersection on MD32
and a new entrance into Springfield and the (now) Northrop Grumman property.
Pix from 2004.
The shot below shows the Springfield Branch (yellow arrows) where it passes
the ex Westinghouse building, the green arrows point at the Westinghouse siding.
the Little Sykes Train
the Sykesville Siding
I don't believe the siding gets used any more, but I guess it costs more to take out the switch than it is worth.
In the newer aerials, we can also see a couple of the buildings adjacent to the depot have been removed.
There is an intermediate signal between the switch and the depot.
Bing maps no longer has a "birds eye" view of the Sykesville area.
Picture is a partial from a photo by Dave Hiteshew from Steve's page on the hospital branch.
the Baltimore Zoo Train
Chance B-20 Aerotrain, formerly at the Baltimore Zoo, in process of being restored.
the Route 32 Aluminum Bridge
Built somewhere around 1963, the bridge had to be taken out
of service around 2005 or so once a new bridge was completed. Because the
bridge was made from aluminum, but other structural parts were made from steel,
galvanic action took it's toll, and the bridge had to be taken out of service.
It's one of the very few bridges in the country made of aluminum.
the Sykesville and Patapsco Railway
Model Railroad club that (usually) meets once a month during non covid times. They sometimes
set up a layout in the second floor of the B&P Tower.
The caboose is numbered C1909, and the C&O baggage car is unnumbered and unnamed.
I would like to thank Kevin for a great tour of this new
station house, which opened for business in April 2009. The fire
station is staffed by a combination of full time paid county firefighters, and
volunteers, who make up about 75% of the staff. There are at least two
paid guys around all the time. Downstairs there are about 20 bunk rooms,
and with the snow we had here back in March, they were full... there are also 4
dorm rooms where a number of volunteer guys reside all the time. In
addition, there are plenty of rooms for meeting, exercise, watching TV, cooking,
eating, etc. This past winter, they also had a chance to check out the
heated apron with the 3 feet of snow we got. #32 will be replaced shortly
with the arrival of a new engine. All of their engines are manufactured by Pierce.
West Friendship VFC Open House - Sunday - 10/14/2012
I would like to thank everyone for their hospitality, it was a great open house.
Training a new recruit! :-)
Howard County police helicopter, flown by both Howard County
and Anne Arundel County police officers and flown in both counties. I
believe they fly out of Tipton Airport at Ft Meade.
L to R under the helicopter- Spotlight, camera, and RF tracking antennas and the microwave downlink.
Howard County sheriff and police cars are parked behind the fire hall.
The Moose Caboose is located 2.3 miles west
of MD 97, and is catty-corner from the Winfield Volunteer Fire Department.
The owner, Glen Stegmiller, has a large variety of trains and accessories for N,
HO, Lionel, and G Gauge,
and will treat you like family when you visit. He also has a good bit of
models, parts, and accessories for RC cars!
2010 marks his 8th year in business.
Pro Custom Hobbies has had a long hobbyist
presence. "Back in the old days", they used to advertise in magazines like
Trains and Model
Railroader and became the "go to" place for railroad scanners when
they were located in Catonsville MD, a western suburb of Baltimore. I'm
not sure when they gave up the suburban address for a more rural location, but
it might be back in the 2000 time frame or so. Look for the signs in the
right picture for the place to turn, it is easy to miss!
The loss of Purkey's was a sad day in the
model train business. They had a well diversified stock, and
if I was into Lionel size model
trains, Purkey's would be the place I'd be hanging out at all the time.
He had it all. It was located in two
adjacent row-house style buildings on Main St, and was a wonderland of trains.
The owner, Wiley, has spent a lot of time into creating magnificent displays to
run trains on... he is also the local expert historian, and has written many
reviews and essays for local and web-based publications.
Unfortunately, as of early 2010, Purkey's has shut his doors, and the building
is up for sale... it is a sad loss for all of us :-(
Courtesy of the University of Texas Library, click here for their index page.
If you are familiar with topo maps, and how to read them, you can see what a challenge getting from the mainline up to the hospital was.
The closer the lines are to each other, the steeper the incline, or grade is.
In 1953, they re-drew the maps, so the Sykesville area was split between the Ellicott and Finksburg quadrangles.
But we can now see the Springfield Hospital branch
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.
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 :-)
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.
Aerial shots were taken from either Google or Bing Maps as noted. Screen captures are made
with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it!
By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous
and/or other stuff.
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! Please be NICE!!! Contact info is here
Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly inaccurate, wrong, or not true.