Sunday, June 9, 2013

Henryton to Sykesville and Baldwin Station

Started out this morning about 9:25 at the rail crossing on Marriottsville Road which is about the 24.5 mile mark on the Old Main Line. About a half mile west you hit the 25 mile mark and the Henryton tunnel is in view. The tunnel is short, 430 feet, and you can see clearly through to the other end. It is also one of the oldest railroad tunnels in the world in continuous use. Unlike the terrain at  Dorsey tunnel,  this location has a decent walkaround path along the river. As soon as you pass through or around the tunnel you come to an old power plant that contained the boiler for the Henryton State Hospital that was originally built for tuberculosis patients and was later used as a hospital for patients then described as mentally retarded. The buildings are now in ruins and are slated for demolition. Fuel, probably coal, for the power plant was obviously delivered by rail. The siding tracks running up to the side of the building can still be observed in places.

Along the rails I saw a huge white tail buck, a red fox, a great blue heron and a ground hog. Only the ground hog moved slow enough for me to get a photo. I also observed a large stand of bamboo at Henryton, just off the rails on the flood plain of the Patapsco. It looked out of place. I believe bamboo is an invasive specie of plant, and I wonder who started this stand and how far it will spread. Now all we need are some pandas.

The historic Sykesville train station is now a restaurant, Baldwin Station, named after the architect who designed the station along with several other on the Old Main Line, including the one at at Point of Rocks, the subject of a previous post. Sykesville and its station are at the 28.5 mile mark. My hike was eight miles, four in each direction. It took me about four and a half hours, which included time for a beer at the restaurant. I was back to my car by 1:55 pm. The rail bed really hugs the river most of the way along this stretch of track. The right of way is very narrow for much of the distance. I saw only one train, eastbound to Baltimore. More photos can be seen here.