Welton Tunnel/B162.4

Welton Tunnel/B162.4





Welton Tunnel



Welton Tunnel was the forth tunnel on the West Sub and was WM's shortest at 783.4 ft. It was constructed under the Cumberland Municial Airport in 1906. Through freight service on this part of the West Sub, after the May 75' abandoment, continued up until January 5, 1976, when the stretch of track between Maryland Jct. and North Branch was taken out of service so a new runway could be constructed at the Cumberland Regionial Airport. This new runway called for the eastern approach to the east portal of Welton Tunnel to be filled in. It now has been confirmed by John Jennings(airport manager) that the airport had never covered the east portal itself, it was just deep in what was left of the cut and heavily overgrown with vegatation. The airport has now had to particaly fill in the hole to meet FAA rules and regulations. They also plan to construct a new taxiway over the present portal location as soon as the WM cut has been completely filled in. There are airport construction photos on display at the airports terminal that show the east portal of the tunnel. I have walked into the tunnel through an opening in the cinder blocks at the east portal, this wall once sealed the tunnel. All the RR crossties are still in the tunnel and the east side has fill dirt slooping down from the ceiling to the floor. So the tunnel was not completely filled in or collapsed when it was sealed in 1977. If you get a chance to go into the tunnel in is kinda like a ghost from the past. (thanks to Robert Kennedy for airport info)


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This was the Cumberland-Times Newspaper article most likey from 1976 that read about the the WM tracks being abandoned by the Chessie System. Very neat but short article that not only tells of the abandoments here at Wleton Tunnel but Chessie's plans for the entire WM lines. (thanks to Bob Lemmert for article)

Here is an aerial photograh of the Welton Tunnel/Airort area. The 8th Crossing bridge is barely visible in the top left of both photos. You can also see the old WM cut that was heavily overgrown with vegatation for years before the portal was recently covered up.



The WM exited Welton Tunnel and imediately crossed the 8th crossing of the Potomac River before entering the suburbs of Cumberland known as South Cumberland. The WM would then cross the C&O Canal and pass by homes while crossing Virginia and River Avenues. The WM would cross the C&O Canal yet another time before crossing the 9th river bridge and disappearing into Knobley Tunnel. All of this was once visible during the years the WM ran passed here. In these two photos the first is looking down on the 8th Xing bridge. The second photos is looking into the airport property from directly atop Welton Tunnel. In this photo the lower section where the tress can be seen was once the cut for the Western Maryland. The east portal of Welton Tunnel is at this location, only now covered over with fill dirt. The remainder of the cut is scheduled to be filled in completely due to FAA regulations. (2003)

WM's west portal of Welton Tunnel on July 13 1917 and again in fall 2001. Welton Tunnel is right on the edge of the 8th crossing bridge seen in the foreground. There is only room for 3 crossties in the distance form the bridge to the tunnel portal. Perfect model railroad type of tunnel construction.

Looking east into the tunnel towards the east portal from the west portal. Notice all the crossties stll remain covered in sticky clay. Huge timbers support the ceiling of the tunnel. At the eastern end are large piles of dirt and clay then the fill dirt that rises in a 45 degree angle from the tunnel floor to the ceiling at the east portal. (4/26/01)

A view looking down at the east portal of Welton Tunnel during the runway construction project. Soon the tracks would be removed and the east portal and cut filled in. (thanks to Cody Haer for photo)



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