About twenty miles west of Baltimore and forty miles north of Washington D.C. off of Maryland Route 32 is the town of Sykesville, Maryland. Once a mill and farming town, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was extended there from Ellicott City to better connect the town with the ports in Baltimore. Today, it is a charming small town on the Patapsco River with little shops and an old train depot that is now a restaurant. Across the parking lot from the depot are an old train car from the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad and a caboose from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. It is here where you will find the Sykesville and Patapsco Railroad, a model railroad club.
You enter into the Chesapeake and Ohio car, and you see a large O-scale display before you. You watch the trains go around and around and around. You glance at the screen above the display and watch live video of the train rolling around making you a park of the model train journey. You have a conversation with one of the volunteers who talks to you of the display and of the organization. From there, you walk to a smaller HO-scale display with one train running around a mountain scene. From there, you make your way to the caboose, and you see the N-scale display. The volunteer explains to you about the display and the people who put it together. After a little while, you leave the caboose. You look at the old tower which now serves as the town post office and visitor center. You see the old rails running through the parking lot and across the street. You acquire the sense of this being a railroad town that once was. After peaking at the old blue rusted caboose next to the tracks, you grab a bite to eat at the old train station to complete your experience.
Made up of rail enthusiasts and volunteers, the Sykesville and Patapsco Railway, named after the town and the nearby Patapsco River, builds and operates model train displays from N-scale, O-scale and S-scale to HO-scale. They operate open houses on select Sunday throughout the year. They are located at 731 Oklahoma Avenue in Sykesville, Maryland. Admission is free, but they accept donations to help pay for the expenses to keep the trains running. They are a non-profit organization. You can read more into their history and see when you can attend their next open house at http://www.sprailway.org.
When you visit the town of Sykesville, you will not see it as a typical little town. You will see it as a town with a hidden railroad past.