4th Crossing/B139.6

4th Crossing/B139.6





There is a story in the book The Land of the Living, by John Mash that tells of National Guard troops that were camped here at the bridge during World War I. Sabotage by people sympathetic to the Germans was thought to be a great threat so in 1917 the National Giard was given the responsibility of guarding the bridges of the WM and the B&O. At each bridge were camps for the troops and gun emplacements to guard the approaches of the bridges. The troop camp here at the 4th crossing was remembered by two men by the name of Bud and Dave Keifer who were children at the time. They remember the camp to have had neat rows of tents that were surronded by neat rows of white washed rocks. The camp was at the west end of the bridge between the road that crossed the tracks and the bridge. It it known that the rocks are still here today lined up as thay were in 1917.


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A 1966 home movie showing the Blue Mountain Express from Hagerstown to Cumberland through Paw Paw bends. First movie clip shot from train is rounding the curve and crossing the 2nd Potomac bridge. Next exiting Stickpile tunnels west portal, then 3rd crossing with the B&O crossing. The block signal is the east end of the double track at Jerome, and then the 4th crossing at Magnolia. Last clip is a brief glimpse of Maryland Junction. (video from Andy DeLauder)


A photo looking east from Maryland at the bridge on May 6, 1917. (Thanks to Jim Coshun for photo)

The abandoned WM right-of-way east from Kessler Tunnel leaves the deep cut and around a slight curve to the bridge. A barricade was constructed by the park service to keep people off the bridge. It's hard to spot the bridge through the grown up trees, but if removed, it would be a nice photo. There is a large flat area here that would also make a good camp site. The flat area was most likely created from rock and dirt removed from the mountain side to when digging the cut and tunnel.(Sept. 2001)

Out on the west end of the bridge in September 2001. The bridge is in good shape here up until about the center of the bridge where the crossties are missing.

Looking west towards Kessler Tunnel from the 4th bridge in the 1980's. The trees on the roadbed in the distance don't look nearly as big as the forest today. You can almost make out the right-of-way still. (David Lawerence Scally photo)

The WM bridge at Magnolia, photographed from B&O's bridge.

Along the east side of the bridge the tracks are consumed again by the trees.

Looking down river from WM's 4th bridge. A portion of the river breaks off to the left of the island in the left of this photo taken in Summer of 2004.

Down along the river from the bridge in September 2001. This location would make a nice photo for an eastbound Western Maryland train.



Removed the summer images and added these winter ones taken on February 9, 2014, some 38 years after being abandoned. In winter/fall it is much easier to soo where the WM ran.

The eastern portion of WM's 4th bridge is curved in order to allow the WM to run around a long bend of the river. The WM will next cross B&O's Low Line, the former route of the B&O up the Potomac river Valley. After completion of the WM line the B&O soon began construction of its own line that would be known as the Magnolia Cutoff. (2-9-14)



Stopped at thr bridge in the Summer of I believe 2015 and took the above photos. I wanted to capture the rusted supports to the bridge and photograph the tree that had grown up thru the bridge. After I took those photos I walked out in the river for a few photos.



The WM crossed the B&O's Lowline as it crossed the river numerous times in the Paw Paw Bends. The original color of the bridge was black. When it was black it used to read "WESTERN MARYLAND RAILWAY FAST FREIGHT LINE". The old paint is beginning to show through the fading silver/aluminum paint that was applied in the 1960's.

Construction photo at the 4th Crossing site. The tracks below are the B&O and appears supplies came in on the B&O. (Thanks to Jim Coshun for photo)

Same photo location as above photo but with a long ago completed bridge, date is 7-6-17. (Thanks to Jim Coshun for photo)

Looking east and west at the eastern end of the 4th Potomac River bridge. Notice the bridge's milepost number can still be seen as black 1396(139.6) over aluminum paint. (2-9-14)

This signal base is located just off the east end of the bridge. It was used for the hotbox detector signal for all eastbound trains. The WM ran east of here through this cut before reaching the West End of Jerome.



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