Saturday, May 25, 2013

Another Cup of Coffee

The weekend job got cancelled this morning and I am so glad. It was a beautiful day for hiking. So, I hiked along the Old Main Line from Ilchester to Ellicott City for another cup of coffee at the Bean Hollow. Nice walk along the rails, maybe two miles covered easily in an hour.Took a break for a latte and a scone at the Hollow and walked back. Encountered three CSX trains along the way, two headed west, one eastbound. I did not expect to see anything interesting on this stretch of tracks, but I was surprised by a few items. First this interesting tipped over structure.

Obviously it was some sort of service building at one time. It's big, at least two stories tall when upright, and made of reinforced concrete. It appeared to have been tipped over backward right next to the rail bed. What the hell was it? I searched the web and learned that it was a coaling tower built during World War II at the small, but no longer existing, village of Lees to provide a coaling station away from the busy and congested rail yards in Baltimore. But what did it look like during its useful service? The answer to that question was a bit more difficult to find. But find it I did, and you can see a vintage photo of the Lee water tower penstocks and the very same coaling tower here. In the vintage photo you are looking west toward Ellicott City.

The other item of interest was a pair of maintenance of way machines parked at a dead end siding on the approach to Ellicott City.

This line of track was in a terrible state of disrepair seemed not to have been used in many years. Turns out is was a special siding devoted to the flour mill on the Baltimore County side of the Patapsco at Ellicott City. There is an old disused trestle bridge that once carried tracks from the mill to the siding along the Old Main Line. The siding is now used as a convenient parking place for rail maintenance machinery. And of course it would not be right to end without a shot of one of the trains encountered on my hike.