Trains are deeply
ingrained in the American heritage, a part of the zest
for living and accomplishment. Trains are hard,
man-sized, brutal work, as well as highly tuned,
precision machines that can be both master and servant,
and they can talk to those who will but pause to listen.
Trains are timepieces
living hard-won schedules, fighting miles of space.
Trains are a roar of power, a whine of steel on steel,
an irresistible sirenís call to the intriguing
mysteries of faraway places.
We have all waved a
salute to a passing engineer. We can remember the sight
of a gleaming streamliner speeding along the floor of a
peaceful valley, the muffled echo of its whistle
resounding from the. summer green velvet of the rolling
hills beyond. We have watched the long freight
"reaching for the iron as, winding slowly tip the
grade, she snorts and labors for a mountain pass. Who of
us has not looked into the steady, piercing glare of an
approaching headlight; have felt our pulse quicken to
the puckered lightening of blurred windows as the
rushing passenger cars hurtle through the light; have
gazed at the receding red after glow of the rear end
lights disappearing around the distant curve. The once
great railway network of the United Stales was at one
time so vast that its overall dimensions were hard to
comprehend, and even harder yet to describe.
The younger generation
of today would find it hard to believe that many years
ago there was a small railroad that ran from Emmitsburg
to Rocky Ridge, a distance of seven miles. Yes, hard to
believe for today there is no visual evidence that this
little but vital railroad ever existed. There are those
individuals still living who remember well the
Emmitsburg Railroad and the important part it played in
the economy of this northernmost community of Frederick
This writer, for one,
recalls hiking to Emmitsburg on a Saturday afternoon to
catch No. 6 (a 4-4-0 class steam locomotive) for the
ride to Rocky Ridge where the 7-mile line connected with
the Western Maryland Railway. Once in Rocky Ridge I
would wait around the station for the Western Marylandís
Blue Mountain Express that would take me to Thurmont. On
occasion, depending on
who the engineer on the Blue Mountain Express might be,
I would get a ride in the cab of the locomotive, which
was always a thrill. Once in awhile I would take the
Western Maryland to Rocky Ridge and then catch No. 6 to
Emmitsburg and then hike back to Thurmont.
In the summer of 1989,
when Emmitsburg held its first "Small Town-Big
time" celebration in connection with thee Fourth of
July holiday, many exhibits and displays were found
throughout the community. One such display which caught
my eye was at the Emmitsburg Pharmacy. Ďthis display
featured pictures of the Emmitsburg Railroad, along with
a number of items that were part of the operation.
As I viewed the display, my mind wandered back to the
"good olí days when the railroad was in operation
and to those individuals who were dedicated to
railroading and took part great pride in it.
The Emmitsburg Railroad
was incorporated by the ĎAct of Assemble which was
approved on March 28, 1868, three years before the
Western Maryland Railway reached Mechanicstown (as
Thurmont was known by in its early history).
were the incorporators, each having a deep interest in
the economy of Emmitsburg and the immediate area, and
each knowing full well that a railroad would not only
provide jobs for the local citizens, but would serve as
important link to the outside world.
These individuals were:
Dr. G. Adelsberger, Dr. Andrew Annon, E. S. Taney, Isaac
Hyder, George W. Rowe, Michael Adelsberger, Joseph
Brawner, Joshua Walter, Joseph Byers, Dr. James
Eicholberger Sr., Christian
Zacharias, Lewis M. Motter
and John K. Taylor.
Under the Charter, the
Company was authorized to build a line from Emmitsburg
to a point on the Western Maryland Railroad west of the
Monocacy River. The exact point where it would connect
with the Western Maryland was not included in the
charter, but it was to be determined by the Board of
Part -> 2,
Hawkins' Stations of the Emmitsburg Railroad
Other articles by George Wireman
Have your own memories of
the Emmitsburg Railroad?
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