NC Tower/B86.4-H0.0

Western Maryland Railway
Cumberland Valley Rail Road
NC Tower/B86.4-H0.0


NC Tower on the WM, referred to Town on the Pennsylavania RR, is located just east of the WM passenger station at Hagerstown. NC Tower is the division point of the WM lines to Baltimore, Lurgan, and Cumberland. NC Tower once had a interlocking tower that was operated by the PRR to control train movements of the PRR and WMRY over the diamond. Today the tower remains but is now closed. All operations are controlled by the Ns and CSX dispatchers.

Lurgan Sub Intro

Western Maryland's Lurgan Sub ran from NC Tower up the Cumberland Valley to Shippensburg, Pa. The Lurgan Sub was only 35 miles in length but bosted a helper grade out of Hagerstown on the Altenwald Cuttoff. The Altenwald Cuttoff was constructed in 1899 to complete a more direct route between Hagewrstown and Shippensburg. Originally the Lurgan Line was built off the East Sub at Edgemont and ran North passing Waynesboro, Altenwald, Chambersbrug, and terminating at Shippensburg. The route was too slow and hard as trains would have to climb the mountain to Edgemont then down the grade back into the Cumberland Valley. The Altenwald Cuttoff kept the line in the valley and eliminated the grade and extra 10 miles. The Waynesboro to Edgemont line was taken out of service in the 1950's. The remaining line between Quinsonia to Waynesboro remained in service long after and was eventually removed. The line was WM's eastern outlet for the high priority Alpha Jet trains. At Shippensburg the WM connected with the Reading RR just south of Shippensburg at a location known as Lurgan. WM and Reading trains operated the line between Hagerstown and Harrisburg, PA.

Today the Lurgan Line is partically dismanteled. The line was once a thru route in the late 1990's but was severed at Chambersburg due to pressure from the city to eliminate the street level track. The CTC was turned off and the signals are now dark and may be taken down. The southbound track between Waynecastle and NC Tower has been taken out of service and is removed at most road crossings. All Thru trains have been diverted to NS's line to Harrisburg and Enola. Only local traffic now travels the line to industries at Chambersburg. There is a bit of good news, a rumor that CSX may build a large intermodal facility on the line near Chambersburg. This facility could see many new trains and an upgrade of the Lurgan Line and West Sub with new tarck and possible signals.


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Norfolk Southern train 155 eases past the interlocking tower at NC Tower. This location was called "Town", on the Conrail RR, now owned and operated by Norfolk Southern. The interlocking tower was operated by Conrail and controlled both operations of Conrail and Western Maryland trains. (May 1998)

NS train 202 with the Pennsylavania Railroad heritage unit heads up the NS Lurgan Sub at 1048 am on February 3, 2019.

CSX train D795 crosses the Norfolk Southern after holding for NS train 155, in the previous photo. D795 is bound for Highfield on WM's Hanover Subdivison. This train usually has 3-4 locomotives as they are needed to climb the steep grade up to Pen Mar. (May 1998)

January 16, 2019 at 1235 pm has CSX Q016 qith CD Sd70i leader preceeding east onto the Lurgan Sub at Town(NC Crossing on the WM).

CSX coal train U820 passes beneath the signal bridge at NC Tower as it nears the NS mainline. U820 will travel north up the WM to Lurgan where it will switch over to Reading tracks, now NS. CSX train D799 waits on the Hanover Sub for U820 to clear the diamond at NC before it continues west into Hagerstown Yard. (Feb. 13, 1997)

The morning of January 19, 2019 my son and myself wait at TOWN for D798. First NS hopper train"747" heads thru the switch at TOWN at the 5 mph speed restriction at 0855 am. Next CSX train D798 also heads thru the switch at 5 mph at 0907 am. Unsure if the section of new track is an upgrade to the crossing here or not. There has been complaints from the city of CSX trains tying up the crossing with the 5 mph speed restriction.

After getting permission from the CSX dispatcher in Jacksonville, Flordia, CSX train D799 proceeds into the "traffic control" at NC Tower. The old sign to the right is an original WM sign that was used along the track to mark the beginning an end of tracks that would or would not be controled by signals or CTC (Centralized Traffic Control). D799 is coming off the WM's Hanover Sub, which was WM's connection to Baltimore, MD. The track to the left is WM's Lurgan Sub which connected to the Reading RR at Lurgan near Shippensburg, PA. (April 1998)

December 30, 2018 and CSX stack train Q016 starts its trip up the Lurgan Sub at NC Tower at 2:33 pm.

B702 takes its train onto what is now the CSX Hanover Sub, former WM East Sub at NC Tower on February 9, 2019 at 0917 for a run to Highfield to exchange a cut of cars.



Go North to Lurgan on WMRY
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