Boonsboro, Maryland

Have you ever heard of the small town of Boonsboro in the U.S. state of Maryland?  For a vast majority of you, the answer is no.  There are many people who have lived their entire lives in the Washington D.C. metropolis who have never heard of the town of Boonsboro.

Some of you are saying, “Well, duh!  That is because there is absolutely nothing significant to this town.”

Let us see.  It is a town on the National Road, the first major roadway to run west.  It is the home of Crystal Grottoes, one of the most naturally kept caverns in the nation.  You have the Washington Monument.  No, not the famous one in Washington D.C.  This was also erected in honor of George Washington.  The Appalachian Trail crosses the National Road on the east side of and passes through the Washington Monument State Park.  By the way, to get to the Washington Monument, you must hike a section of the famous trail.  It is close proximity to two American Civil War battlefields: South Mountain and the famous Antietam Battlefield.  If you still think that there is nothing special about Boonsboro, you will need to explain that to George and William Boone.  Who is George and William Boone?  You may not have heard of George and William Boone, the two brothers that this town is named for, but you have heard of their famous cousin, Daniel Boone, yes, that Daniel Boone, the famous pioneer and frontiersman.  If you still see nothing special about this town, you will also need to explain that to Nora Roberts, yes, that Nora Roberts, the New York Times Best Selling Author who owns the Inn BoonsBoro, a bed-and-breakfast located at the center of the town.  After all of this, you can no longer say that there is no reason to visit the town, of Boonsboro, Maryland.

Now some of you are saying, “Wow!  That is a lot.  There is one big problem.  One thing that is not mentioned is the railroad.  Because this was never a railroad town, there is no reason for me to visit this town.”

Well, it is true that this was never a railroad town.  The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, North America’s first railroad, took a more southern route through Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and the Western Maryland Railway went north of the town.

So what does the town of Boonsboro have to do with the railroad?

As you drive through the town on the National Road, you will see an old trolley station.  How can you have a trolley station in a town where there was never a railroad?  Although the major railroads avoided this town, the Frederick and Middletown Railway did not.  The trolley station, built in 1902, was a terminal for the Frederick and Middletown Railway that served the Maryland towns of Frederick, Hagerstown, and other towns to include a few towns in Pennsylvania.  The Hagerstown Railway which later formed the Hagerstown and Boonsboro Railway, brought freight service to the town.  This allowed farmers to bring their goods to the trolley station and have them transported to the major railroads in Frederick and Hagerstown.  Sadly, the service ended in Boonsboro in 1938.

The trolley station was spared demolition, and it remains in its original location, and it is the only trolley station that is still standing in Washington County, Maryland today.  On September 12, 2009, it became the home of the Boonsboro Trolley Museum.  It is open on the fourth Sunday of the month from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.  The museum houses artifacts of the trolley, and you can see old photos of the trolley.  In front of the trolley station, you can see the old trolley tracks.  It is located on Main Street (the National Road, Alternate U.S. Route 40) at Shafer Park Drive.  Parking is street parking.  Admission is free, but they will gladly accept a donation to help keep the museum operating for many years to come.  Please note that due to the age of the structure that the museum is not wheelchair accessible.  You can learn more about the history of the trolley station at

Now you have heard about the small town of Boonsboro, Maryland.  Now you have seen the great significance of the town.  Now you see how this town was a benefactor of the trolley.  Go visit Boonsboro.  You will be glad you did.

“The Good Luck Train”

Photo by RODNAE Productions on

Lenny the Leprechaun was down on his luck.  He was beaten up by thieves who stole his pot of gold from him.  His green suit was dirty.  His green hat was crushed.  His black shoes were scuffed.  He was walking down the road, and he saw Phoebe the Fairy sitting on a bench crying.  He walked closer and saw her dirty green dress, and her leg and bare feet were covered in dirty with dirt between her toes.  He stepped closer, and he noticed one of her wings were broken.

            “What happened to you?” He was worried.

            “What happened to you?” She peeked at him.

            “I was beaten up by thieves.  My pot of gold was stolen from me.”

            “I was flying around, and I was hit by a passing jet.  I fell hard into a pile of mud, and I broke my wing.”

            Lenny sat next to her and gave her a big hug.  He looked up.  “Is that Saint Patrick?”

            Phoebe saw Saint Patrick coming towards them.  “It is.”

            “Hello my great friends.  You both look very troubled.”  He walked up to them.

            “I was beaten and robbed,” Lenny said.

            “I was hit by a jet and knocked hard to the ground, and my wing is broken.  Now I cannot fly.”  Phoebe wept.

            “Fear not my great friends.  The Good Luck Train will be arriving soon on its way to Restorationville.  We must hurry to catch the train.”

            They hurried their way to the train station, and the Good Luck Train arrived as the approached the platform.  The boarded the train, and the train headed on its way.  Days later, they arrived in Restorationville.

            “Come with me.  I will take you to be restored.”

            Saint Patrick took them to the Halls of Restoration.  Lenny and Phoebe walked through the halls.  When they came out on the other side, Lenny’s seat was shining.  Phoebe’s dress was shining.  Her wings were restored.  She peeked down at her feet and saw that they were shiny with no dirt in her toes.  She jumped, and she was flying.

            “Now you have been restored.  Let us return home.”  Saint Patrick smiled.

            The returned to the Good Luck Train.  They watched as Restorationville went out of sight.

            “No matter where you are, you can always catch the train to Restorationville.”  Saint Patrick informed them.

            “Thank you,” they said.

            Wishing everyone a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on

A Story of Annabelle

This is a story about a teenaged lady named Annabelle Wilmington who lived in a small town.  She was on her way to visit her grandmother who lived far away.  She arrived at the train station to catch a train.  She waited and waited until the train came.  She boarded the train, and she went to her seat.  She peeked out the window as the train was pulling away.  She looked across the aisle and saw a princess.

“Are you a princess?”  Annabelle smiled.

“I am.” The princess grinned.  “I am on my way to the royal ball.”

“That is wonderful.  I have never been to a royal ball.”  Annabelle was excited.

“You are not going anywhere.”  A pirate entered the train car.  “I am taking over the train.”

“Not so fast, Captain Hook.”

Captain Hook turned.  “Wait a minute.  You cannot be here.”

“Oh yes I can.”  Harry Potter approached the captain with his wand pointed at him.

“Well, Harry Potter, try to stop me.”

Harry Potter waved his wand, and Captain Hook disappeared.

“Harry Potter, you are my hero.”  The princess was relieved.

“Glad to help.  Since Ron and Hermione sank his ship, I knew that he was going to attack a train.  Now, he is no more.”  Harry bowed.  “Now enjoy the ride.”

“Thank you,” Annabelle said.


Ladies and gentlemen, the preceding story was inspired by events I have seen put on by Sew Classy Royal Events.  What is the Sew Classy Royal Events?  I am very glad that you asked.  They are a traveling entertainment group that travel to places mainly in the U.S. states of Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania to put on a show.  No.  These are not these boring roadside shows that put you to sleep.  These shows feature characters from famous movies like Peter Pan, Harry Potter, Frozen, and so many other famous stories, and, they do some of their fun performances on trains to include the Wilmington and Western Railroad in Wilmington, Delaware, the Walkersville Southern Railroad in Walkersville, Maryland, the Stewartstown Railroad in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, and the Northern Central Railway in New Freedom, Pennsylvania.

The founder, a former Disney character performer and entrepreneur, gives a great effort to make sure everyone has loads of fun.  Be advised that you will enjoy yourself when you are around these great top notch performers.  You can learn more about Sew Classy Royal Events, their story, and see how you can book them for your event at  Be warned.  You will have fun.  How much fun?  Let us just say that you will need to prepare yourself for fun.

The 1884 Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station Museum, Oakland, Maryland

The U.S. state of Maryland is one of the original states in the nation.  It was one of two states that donated the land that became the District of Columbia.  (Virginia was the other state, but the state took the land back, and it is now present day Arlington.)  Maryland is the home of Fort McHenry.  What is special about Fort McHenry?  It was here during the War of 1812 where the nation known as the United States of America established itself and was recognized as a world military power.  During this battle, a man named Francis Scott Key who was taken prisoner on a ship in the Patapsco River watch the bombardment on the fort.  When the smoke cleared, he saw the American flag waving high above the fort.  This was the inspiration of a poem that later became the words of the National Anthem of the United Stated of America.  The state is the home of the first balloon flight and the home of the oldest operating airport in the world.  It is the home of the nation’s oldest Catholic church.  The is it where the National Road, the first major road to go west, began.  Most important of all, it is the birthplace of the railroad in the Western Hemisphere.  Just miles from where America’s National Anthem was born was where the first rails were laid.  From here, the rails made their way west.

Maryland is famous for its waterways mainly the Chesapeake Bay of which the Potomac River and the Susquehanna River, the longest unnavigable river in the nation, flow into.  The state is not known for its mountains which cover the western third of the state to include the entire panhandle region.  This was a challenge for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad which went into what is now West Virginia at Harper’s Ferry.  The railroad went back into Maryland near Cumberland, and it continued west in the panhandle region to a town called Oakland.

What is special about Oakland?  No.  It was not the original home of the Raiders or the home of the Athletics.  (That is Oakland, California.)  It is a small town near the point of the Maryland Panhandle that is the county seat of Garrett County.  The county is named for John Work Garrett.  Who is John Work Garrett?  He was a former president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad who helped bring the railroad into the western part of the state to include the town of Oakland.  Sadly, he died in 1884, the same year that the train station was built.

The town of Oakland, Maryland, like many towns throughout the United States of America, saw regular passenger and freight service through the years.  Sadly, like a majority of small towns, saw service cease.  In 1974, the Train Station was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It then became the home of the Baltimore and Ohio Train Station Museum.

Today, the old train station, built in a Gothic style, sits in its original location, and it is one of the centerpieces of the town.  You can tour the men’s and women’s waiting rooms as well as the ticket office and the baggage storage room.  Outside, you can see Locomotive Number 476 built in 1920 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works and Caboose Number C-2884.  It you are fortunate enough, CSX may reward your visit by passing by.

The 1884 Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station Museum is owned and managed by the Garrett County Historical Society.  It is located at 117 E. Liberty Street just blocks from U.S. Route 219 and Maryland State Routes 39 and 135.  (Signs will direct you from the museum.)  The museum is open on Friday and Saturday from 10:00am to 3:00pm and Sunday from 12:00pm to 3:00pm.  Admission is free.  Parking is on site.

If you are in the panhandle region of Maryland, visit the town of Oakland.  See the 1884 train station.  During your visit, you may go back in time.

The Wilkes Street Tunnel, Alexandria, Virginia

The city of Alexandria in the U.S. state of Virginia is rich with history, and the history runs deep.  There are billions of stories that this town has to tell.  You hear so much about its colonial history.  Many of its famous sites include the famous Christ Church where all but a small handful of U.S. presidents have attended church services and Gadsby Tavern when a man named George Washington had a few meals.

Some of you are saying, “Well, this is very nice, but you never hear anything about the railroads.”

Ladies and gentlemen, Alexandria has many railroad stories to tell.  It was where Abraham Lincoln’s personal railroad car was built.  (Sadly, it became his funeral car.)  It was the home of a roundhouse (which was demolished).  It was the home of three major railroads.  One of them was the Orange and Alexandria Railroad.

What made Alexandria a major railroad town?

In the colonial years, the port of Alexandria was a major port city.  (It is said that it was once the fifth busiest port in the nation.)  When the railroad came to Alexandria, they had a little problem in the southern area of the town as there was a bluff that was too high for a railroad.

The Wilkes Street Tunnel was born.

On May 7, 1851, the tunnel was built, and the railroad was able to transport goods from the ships in the Potomac River to the warehouses in town and to towns in the western part of the state.  As port traffic declined, so did the use of the railroad, and service through the tunnel ended in 1975.

Today, the Wilkes Street Tunnel is a pedestrian tunnel, and it is one of the few railroad sites that remain in Alexandria.  As you take a stroll through the tunnel, you see little evidence of a railroad passing through as much of the area has been built up, and the park on the east side shows no evidence of rail traffic, and much of the shores of the Potomac River which once a port for ships is now a site of waterfront homes and parks.  If you could go back in time, you will truly see a place that is completely different.

The Wilkes Street Tunnel is located at the east end of Wilkes Street in Old Town Alexandria between Union Street and Royal Street.  It is open day and night every day of the year.  It is wheelchair accessible.  Parking is on the street, and it is zone parking.

The city of Alexandria, Virginia is a city with many stories to tell, and it has many railroad stories to tell.  The Wilkes Street Tunnel is a reminder of those stories.

The Agricultural and Industrial Museum, York, Pennsylvania

Agriculture and Industry has been the backbone of the United States of America.  Throughout the nation, you see men and women working on the farms and factories creating products for everyday people to live their lives.  You also have numerous museums across the country that focus on agriculture and industry.  One of those museums that focus on both is the Agricultural and Industrial Museum located in York in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.  Housed in an old factory, the museum tells the story of how the farmers and the factory workers contribute to the nation’s way of life.  When you visit the Agricultural and Industrial Museum in York, Pennsylvania, you will see the greatness and importance of these people.

Some of you are saying, “It is amazing that we have museums like these telling the stories of farmers and factory workers.  There is a big problem.  As you can see, this is a museum about agriculture and industry.  It is not a railroad museum.  Therefore, I will be marking this museum from my list of places to see.”

So, you refuse to visit this museum because it is not a railroad museum.  So, why should you visit this museum?

As you arrive, you notice the structure, and you will know that it was an old factory building as you enter the museum.  The museum is divided into different galleries.

You have the Hall of Giants.  No.  It is not a gallery about David and Goliath.  It is not about a professional American football team called the New York Giants or the professional baseball team called the San Francisco Giants.  It displays large machinery to include a fire engine and a 72 ton ice making machine. 

You have the Local Industry Gallery.  What is here?  You see the story of those who made the telephones.  You have those who made pianos.  You have the pottery makers.  You see so much in manufacturing and industry and what they contributed to the American way of life.

You have the Agricultural Gallery.  You see a replica of an old mill and different machines used on the farm.  You can milk a cow.  Well, it is not a real cow, but you can get a hands on experience.

Some of you are saying, “I see that this museum has so much to see, but it is not a railroad museum.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, we must mention the Transportation Gallery.  Of course, it is about transportation.  Yes, transportation is an industry itself, but transportation assisted agriculture and industry by transporting goods from the farms and factories to the people.  You will see a horse and buggy.  Of course, you have the trucks and planes.

While here, step onto a 1916 trolley.  No, it is not one of those bus like trolleys.  It was a trolley built by the J.G. Grill Company that ran on rails that was once used on the streets of York.

Is that the only reason for the railroad lover to visit the museum?  No.  Your visit will be complete until you climb onto a switcher locomotive built by General Motors in 1940 and used to switch rail cars in the yards to built and unbuild trains.  Yes, you can sit in the seat and pretend that you are a switch operator.  Sadly, you are in a museum.

Oh, if that is not enough, you can see a replica of the ‘York’ locomotive, one of the earliest locomotives on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, on display.  Sadly, you cannot climb on this one, but you can get a glimpse of the early steam locomotives.  There are also photos of steam locomotives that once ran through York.

Now you no longer have excuses to not visit this museum.  Even though it mainly focuses on the region around York, Pennsylvania, if you are an out of towner, you will appreciate this museum and the great contributions of farmers and factory workers.

The Agricultural and Industrial Museum is park of the York History Center, a collection of museums and historic sites in York.  It is located at 217 W. Princess Street in York, Pennsylvania.  It is open Tuesday to Saturday year round from 10:00am to 4:00pm.  Parking is street parking.  Admission is required to enter.  You can get more information about the museum and learn about their other museums at

Come to the Agricultural and Industrial Museum in York, Pennsylvania.  Come and see how the railroad is a part of agriculture and industry.

Love Brought to You by the Train

Photo by Alesia Talkachova on

He is sitting in his seat looking out the window at the scenery as the train rolls by.  He has a huge bouquet of flowers and a large heart shaped box of chocolates.  He just cannot wait to get to the station.  He had anticipated this moment for a very long time.  He continues to look outside and sees that he is almost there.  The station is in his sight.  The train slows down on its approach.  Looking outside he sees a very beautiful woman sitting on a bench.  The train stops.  He gets up.  He walks down the aisle to the exit.  He walks down the steps to the platform.  The very beautiful woman he saw sitting on the bench darts out to him and hugs him tight.

“I love you.”  She is kissing him all over.  “I love you.”

“Happy Valentine’s Day!”  He hands her the roses and the box of chocolates.

“I have your favorite tonight,” she says with a twinkle in her eyes.

They slowly walk away from the station to spend their Valentine’s Day together.

Throughout the year the railroad bring spouses together.  On Valentine’s Day, the railroad will bring many men and women to the one’s they love.  May this day be special with the one you love.

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on

The photos of the balloons and the couple are used by permission from The first LOVE sign is at the old train station in Ashland, Virginia. The second LOVE sign is next to a rail trail in Farmington, Virginia. The third LOVE sign is at the old train station in South Hill, Virginia. The fourth LOVE sign is at the site of and old train yard in Warrenton, Virginia.

Parkton, Maryland, U.S.A.

How many of you have heard of the town in the U.S. state of Maryland known as Parkton?  So you have never heard of this town.  The reality is that it is more likely that very few have heard of this town.  It is not a town found on tourist sites.  What is so special about this town?  If you visit the town today, you yourself will be asking what is special about this place.  The movie Guarding Tess was filmed here.  A famous man passed through here.  Who is that famous man?  That famous man is Abraham Lincoln.  At the time he passed through, he was known as President Abraham Lincoln who was on his way to a Pennsylvania town known as Gettysburg to give a famous speech at a cemetery, a speech famously known as The Gettysburg Address.

Some of you are saying, “This is nice, but what does this town have to do with the railroad?”

That is a good question.  The town was established in the 1700’s by a local farmer whose last name was Parke who divided his farm into lots to create the town.  When the York-Town Turnpike was completed (present day Maryland Route 45), local farmers were able to transport their goods to the ports of Baltimore and the Pennsylvania cities of York and Harrisburg.  Eighteen years later, the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad came to town.  The rail line was later taken over by the Northern Central Railway that Abraham Lincoln used to ride to Gettysburg.  A two story train station was built, and the town thrived with a hotel, grocery store, churches, a blacksmith shop, and department store, and many other things.  The Parkton Local, a commuter train which was also named the ‘Ruxton Rocket’, took commuters to and from Baltimore.

Some of you are saying, “This is so great, but the town is now a literal ghost town.”

Parkton was the victim of what caused many small towns to decline.  Interstate 83 now runs east of the town that took traffic away from what is now Maryland Route 45.  Many residents bought automobiles which caused the demise of the railroad and the end of the Parkton Local.  If that is not enough, in 1972, Hurricane Agnes destroyed much of the reason to include the rail line which main ran along the Gunpowder River which flooded.  The tracks in Maryland were taken up, and it was turned into a rail trail.  (The tracks in Pennsylvania were restored and is owned by York County, Pennsylvania and has excursion train run by the Northern Central Railway, formerly ‘Steam Into History’.)  The two story train station was demolished.

Today, as you drive along Maryland Route 45, you will come upon the town.  It was different from its heyday.  You can see where the train once ran and where Abraham Lincoln rode through the town.  You can walk the path where the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad and Northern Central Railway once ran.  It may be a ghost town now, but this ghost town has many stories to tell.

Hanover Junction, Pennsylvania

There a very small little Pennsylvania town southwest of York known as Hanover Junction.  If you were to go there today, you would not see much but the old train station, but it is an old train station with much history.

The town got its name from being at the spot where the Hanover Branch Railroad connected to the Northern Central Railroad.  Of course, there are many places where two railroads came together, but it was here where 11,000 wounded soldiers from the Battle of Gettysburg were brought to be transferred to hospitals in Baltimore, York, and Harrisburg.  It was also a place where Abraham Lincoln passed through twice: first on the trip to Gettysburg to deliver his famous Gettysburg Address and for the second time on his funeral train.  The railroad made this town a major place of industry.  When the railroad decline, so did the town.  Both rail lines were eventually abandoned.

Today, the train station is still there.  The tracks that were part of the Hanover Branch Railroad are gone with a short stretch that connects with the once Northern Central Railroad Line which is now owned by the York County Parks of York County, Pennsylvania.  The depot is currently a museum (also operated by York County Parks) and is also a rest stop for those who use the York County Rail Heritage Trail which runs along the Pennsylvania section of the former Northern Central Railroad line.  You can also see the garden that was erected in honor of Abraham Lincoln of which a bust of him rests in the middle.  You can go there by train from the New Freedom Depot in New Freedom, Pennsylvania (, but if you choose to drive to the old station, you can access the station from Pennsylvania Route 616.  It is accessible from Interstate 83 by way of Pennsylvania Route 214 to Glen Rock.

So, if you ever have the time to see Hanover Junction, do not see it as a depot that is there.  Think of it as an old depot where much took place.