| I should point out that NPS has said that bypassing Stickpile is relatively easy, but the topography around Kessler makes a bypass very difficult. [There are also bike lanes on the bridge over Branchville to Greenbelt Station that stop rather surprisingly]. I still they they could extend by skipping the tunnels and using another abandoned railroad, but that is a fight for the future. It would, of course, also be a bummer to kill all the bats. The trail itself is a paved, 10-ft. wide biking and walking trail following the former rail bed of the Western Maryland Railroad, On the other side of Indian Creek, it splits again to connect to the new Greenbelt Station development in three places - at least one includes stairs with a runnel. The Western Maryland Rail Trail is a 22 mile paved trail that starts in Pierre MD and goes to Big Pool MD. Trail Map. I have literally hundreds of skipped over subjects in the queue. It does not appear the contract has been awarded yet, but DNR has said that they expect the work to take 1 year, so it could all be complete as early as 2018. When first installed, it didn't have a way to connect to Branchville - it just ended at a 30 foot long stretch of sidewalk that didn't connect to anything on either end. The current trail will be continued from its current terminus and then across a rehabilitated Sideling Hill Creek Bridge to the mouth of the Indigo Tunnel. Western Maryland Rail Trail. Western Maryland Rail Trail runs from Fort Frederick all the way to Pearre Station where it ends. As part of that they've released four preliminary alternatives for the trail. It was already decided that the trail would bypass the Indigo Tunnel to preserve bat habitat. One worker confirmed this was the extension and they had cleared about a mile down the path. Confession: There is just way too much going on with biking in the DC area to cover it all with 5 blog posts a week and zero link dumps. Lot) Large lot off Pearre Road, near Western Maryland Rail Trail West and Lock 56 . Hiking Trail July 22, 2011 in Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) | Permalink There are a couple of other tunnels (Top Mill and Mt. Columbia Gas Transmission in March 2017 requested approval to build and operate a 3.4-mile natural gas connector line from an existing pipeline in Fulton County, Pa. through the Hancock area and into Morgan County. (they even use a WABA photo on page 46! There were new lights and plantings, the restaurant we ate at was not there last time and was designed to open up to the trail and the street. Bypass options to avoid use of the tunnels and install bat gates are being considered because the tunnels provide habitat (called hibernacula) for many species of bat. Kessler is a little tougher, because the C&O Canal doesn't cross it over there, but luckily the B&O Railroad's low line does. The other trail at risk is the Western Maryland Rail Trail. And the Dupont Circle Tunnels (above), as much as I'd like to see the west one turned into a "high line" style facility allowing for through bike/ped traffic (I mean seriously, it would be awesome), are unlikely to ever be reopened for transportation. It's the plan forthree West Virginia counties (Morgan, Berkeley, and Jefferson) and Washington County, Maryland including bronze-level bicycle friendly city Hagerstown. A separate study is being performed by the Maryland State Highway Administration involving widening the US-51 Bridge and creating a bike lane/path between the NPS Paw Paw Tunnel Access and the town of Paw Paw, WV. Comments (0). NPS chose a different alternative, one that would extend the trail to the north side of the Stickpile tunnel and then end. Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologists have confirmed that bat carcasses collected from a cave near Cumberland on March 5, 2010 were infected with White Nose Syndrome (WNS). February 21, 2018 at 09:33 AM. Two other connections come off the loop with one connection taking it to Cherrywood Lane and another going across Indian Creek on a bridge. Additionally, White Nose Syndrome (WNS) has killed more than a million bats in the Northeast United States. Comments (2). 123 likes. 42 likes. Crossing #1 near Little Orleans is the most important because it creates the only Potomac River crossing between Paw Paw and Hancock (not counting the two railroad bridges near Magnolia). | Anyway, on the crappy image below I've shown, in Purple, another way the two tunnels could be bypassed. December 21, 2017 in Weblogs | Permalink. "There are six bridges in 10 miles. December 20, 2017 in Capital Crescent Trail (CCT), National Park Service, New York Avenue Trail, Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) | Permalink There would also be a 0.9 mile section built from the west end, across Bevan Bend to bridge #5. Posted by: Updated for 2019. The fourth section has endured considerable delay since the the discovery that bats were living in the three tunnels that were to be used to complete the trail to Paw Paw. The Western Maryland Railroad built a popular section of track from Hagerstown to Big Pool, then extended it to Cumberland in the early 1900s. The event will be held in the western terminus May 28, 2019. Though there's not a lot of clear indication about the plans to take that north to the Koontz tunnel, this map of proposed trails does show the trail going through it. Now it will eitherfollow the Baltimore-Washington Parkway or the existing Amtrak/MARC Penn Line train tracks, perhaps it will even create an opportunity to create a rail with trail (at least along the above ground portions. It would be bypassed. When NPS completed their Environmental Assessment they had identified several alternatives with one continuing the trail to Paw Paw, This alternative, which showsthe trail going to Paw Paw through theStickpile and Kessler tunnels or bypassing them is shown below (I can't find the EA anywhere online so if anyone else knows where it is, put that in the comments). And that caused WV to drop out of the project. With this franchise, comes the power of eminent domain. September 03, 2015 in Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) | Permalink A couple of sections, in Hundred and Mannington have been turned into short trails (the East Wetzel and the John McCann Memorial respectively) but together they account for less than 4 miles. The two other tunnels, Stickpile and Kessler, also would have to be bypassed if the trail were continued onto Paw Paw. Once BWRR has approval through that process, there is no stopping them. The full-color map shows mileage details as well as location of parking and trailside services. The 65 mile long railbed extends from the Monongahela River in Fairmont all the way to the Ohio River in Moundsville, and it passes through 5 old tunnels along the way, the longest of which is the 1250 foot long Welling tunnel. By The section through Little Orleans will include a parking lot, access point to High Germany Road, a new bridge over High Germany Road, a repaired bridge over Fifteen Mile Creek and the 105' long tunnel beneath Pleasant Plains Road SE. There are plans to extend the McCann east, but not to build out the whole ROW, which is too bad since it would make a great addition to the Industrial Heartland Trail system. There's already an effort to turn the Blue Ridge Tunnel into part of a trail, with Nelson County, VA amending a bid for restoration workas was just reported today. The Chapline Hill tunnelunder Wheeling, WV might someday become part of the Wheeling Heritage Trail; and the Lough Tunnel could become part of an 8-mile long rail trail but it doesn't appear to be on anyone's plans - probably because the whole coal mine spur is kind of in the middle of nowhere (see below). ), The area is connected to DC by the C&O Canal and by now-bike friendly Amtrak, and those connections will only become more valuable as the communities covered by this plan work to connect to those resources. As the railroad right-of-way gets farther west it starts crossing back and forth across the Potomac from Maryland to West Virginia and back. February 21, 2018 at 09:39 AM, Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com, CWL 2020: Anacostia Trails System Expansion, 18% of DC Households Use a Bike Once a Week, An idea for naming the proposed Potomac Shared-Use Bridge, Bikely - Bicycle Route Mapping and Sharing, Report a Pothole or Street Maintenance Need (DC), Seattle's Urban Mobility Plan - Briefing Book, Report a Pothole or Street Maintenance Need (VA), Report a Pothole or Street Maintenance Need (Arlington), Report a Pothole or Street Maintenance Need (PG County). The project is moving through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance process. | WNS is a relatively new condition and the NPS in consultation with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and United States Fish and Wildlife Service, will examine the potential effects of different options as it relates to the use of tunnels for the extension of the WMRT. The paved Western MD Rail Trail was a very welcome 22 mile break for us to get off the C&O canal towpath on the bike tour from Cumberland to DC. A bike ride on the Western Maryland Rail Trail and C&O Canal between Big Pool and Little Pool Md. The WMR right-of-way doesn't end at Paw Paw. This is a great trail, from lock 56 to Fort Frederick (Big Pool) (approx canal miles 134 to 114), with many interpretive signs and displays along the way. The bad news is about the tunnels. In an effort to halt its spread, the National Park Service has severely restricted access to the tunnel. The Maryland Department of Natural Resource s will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. on June 1 to celebrate the completion of the Phase IV extension of the Western Maryland Rail Trail. Trail map of the Western Maryland Rail Trail from Big Pool Rd. Washington County. I can't find any evidence that they advertised the project, so it may be that April was too ambitious, but it seems like they are very close to starting work on the next section. GB | June 30, 2016 in Rail Trail, Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) | Permalink The seventh edition of the race has been moved to Sunday 4/11/2021. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Celebrates the Completion of Phase IV. Sorry no photos yet. Comments (11). Even with closed tunnels, it would still create an interesting alternative to the C&O Canal Towpath and allow for some amazing views of the Potomac River on the 6 new crossings. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Celebrates the Completion of Phase IV The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. on June 1 to celebrate the completion of the Phase IV extension of the Western Maryland Rail In previous interviews, state and federal officials have said that trying to bypass the Kessler Tunnel would be cost prohibitive. "Here are these bridges and it would be folly to ignore them," Woodward said. While on a fully loaded bicycle tour of the Great Allegheny Passage rail trail and C&O towpath trail, we encountered the the Western Maryland Railroad tourist train. Human activities in the tunnels could cause stress to bats and increase the risk to spread WNS. Given the extreme weather conditions in Western Maryland, the construction firm would be given one year to complete the project. On the map of proposed routes from April, you can see where the train would interfere with the trail if the red or yellow routes were used. Then there's another Potomac River crossing into West Virginia and the issue of the Welton Tunnel which is currently underneath the Greater Cumberland Regional Airport. The whole process is to be complete by the end of the year. That has been abandoned now as well and so on the south end (or on the north I guess) of Magnolia Bend the trail would cross over to the low line and follow that to Beven Bend where it could reconnect to the right-of-way via Vista River Road. and path grading and timbers were being hauled down the trail. Most of these aren't likely to be trail tunnels. When completed, the trail will join the C&O Canal towpath just east of the tunnel and follow the contour of the Potomac River until the trail begins again at the western end of the rail tunnel. 8th Potomac Crossing with the Welton Tunnel far off. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Celebrates the Completion of Phase IV The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. on June 1 to celebrate the completion of the Phase IV extension of the Western Maryland Rail Trail. CWL 2020: Anacostia Trails System Expansion, 18% of DC Households Use a Bike Once a Week, An idea for naming the proposed Potomac Shared-Use Bridge, Bikely - Bicycle Route Mapping and Sharing, Report a Pothole or Street Maintenance Need (DC), Seattle's Urban Mobility Plan - Briefing Book, Report a Pothole or Street Maintenance Need (VA), Report a Pothole or Street Maintenance Need (Arlington), Report a Pothole or Street Maintenance Need (PG County). From Maryland Junction in Ridgeley, the line continues south for a few miles to Pinto, MD with 3 more Potomac River crossings and then is next to existing railroad tracks all the way to Keyser, WV. The Stickpile bypass would be similar to the Indigo one, with the trail crossing over to the C&O Canal Towpath on both ends of the tunnel and going around Stickpile Hill instead of under it. Another one is the the B&O railroad's Wheeling Pittsburgh Subdivision between Washington, PA and Wheeling, WV. See other rides. So it won't be extended to Paw Paw. #6 is a good one two, because it creates a bike/ped crossing close to Paw Paw. But this would surely be much cheaper than the original trail and spend more time in West Virginia, passing through Magnolia instead of just near it. Contact: 301-842-2155 Hours: Sunrise to Sunset ALERT: 6-19-2020 The Western Maryland Rail Trail remains OPEN during the Governors Safer at Home public health advisory to allow for outdoor recreation. These alternatives vary primarily in the distance the trail will be extended. In addition to the biological hazards posed by bat droppings, the past five years have seen numerous bat colonies in the northeastern U.S. become infected with White-nose Syndrome, a serious fungal infection. The pipeline won't run under the trail - like a shared ROW - but rather pass beneath it for one point. Beginning approximately one-half mile west of historic Fort Frederick State Park in Big Pool, Maryland, the trail system winds along the Potomac River through rolling farmland, woodlands, and rural towns to its current western terminus at the southern slope of Sideling Hill Ridge. West Virginia is no longer a partner in the trail project. Fish & Wildlife Service, DNR biologists are following strict protocols established by the Northeastern WNS Working Group to close Maryland cave access to all human activity except for approved research. The Indigo Tunnel is in the Phase IV section. It is sandwiched between I-70 to the north and the C&O Towpath / Potomac River to the south. It's not happening. The current trail will be continued from its current terminus and then across a rehabilitated Sideling Hill Creek Bridge to the mouth of the Indigo Tunnel. Western Maryland Rail Trail c/o Fort Frederick State Park 11100 Fort Frederick Road Big Pool MD 21711. Unfortunately the trail doesn't extend another 2000 feet along the creek's west side to the Metro station. Phase IV would extend the trail about 4.5 miles from Pearre to just past Little Orleans, Maryland, terminating on the bank of the Potomac River. This project would provide for better pedestrian and bicycle connectivity between the C&O Canal NHP and the town of Paw Paw, WV. Maryland Transit Administration was considering constructing the SCMaglev train on the WB&A trail. The Western Maryland Rail Trail is a paved, multi-use trail that follows the old Western Maryland Railroad along the Potomac. Now, they're considering bypassing both the Stickpile Tunnel and the Kessler Tunnel for the same reason. If you are approaching the Western Maryland Rail Trail via the C & O Canal Trail, like I did, the best access spot is milepost 138. Trail Descriptions. The comment period runs to August 15th, so if you have opinions, let them be known now. In the end, the state and the National Park Service decided that the tunnels would be better used as wildlife preserves (bat hiburnacula, if you must) than as a trail - a decision I have mournfully accepted as the right one. Western Maryland Rail Trail Phase IV is on indefinite hold The longstanding plan to extend the Western Maryland Rail Trail further west, into West Virginia and back again (and then to WV and then to MD) across six different railroad bridges over the Potomac River is on indefinite hold , and a meeting was recently held to discuss The progress is slowly being made, Carter said during the board meeting. But the the state and NPS decided that the tunnels would be better used as wildlife preserves for bats. The Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) still beckoned to us, even though we hadn't liked the east-from-Hancock section of it very much (for that stretch, recommend sticking to the C&O Canal, which is further away from the highway and a little more pleasant, but read more about that here).The blurb about the western half in the Rails to Trails Posted by: Here again there may be an opportunity. by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. You can now bike from downtown Washington, D.C., to Beltsville, Maryland, almost entirely on paved trails, courtesy of an effectively-complete, not officially-opened, extension of the Little Paint Branch Trail along Cherry Hill Road. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources plans to clean parts of the trail and replace damaged guardrails and fencing. Comments (3). Back in August 2017, the Indian Creek Trail was extended north of Greenbelt Road (and across the East Coast Greenway). Anyway, point is - the trail is no longer at threat and this may be an opportunity. As I noted in September. Comments (5), The Hagerstown/Eastern Panhandle Metropolitan Planning Organization (HEPMPO) received the draft copy of their Regional Bicycle Plan last month, and while it's a bit outside my coverage area, I figured some in the area might find it interesting. Finally, and very far away from the Anacostia, it appears that the Western Maryland Rail Trail is finally complete. There also will be interested parties, such as local officials and business owners, Carr said, and Mary E. "Emmie" Woodward of Bridgeport, West Virginia, formerly of Shepherdstown, who will have an opportunity to present her views on extending the WMRT through the Paw Paw Bends. A visitor sent these photos of the final 4.5 mile section from the Indigo Tunnel to Little Orleans and on to the Potomac river where it ends. This was done as part of a project to replace the road bridge with the new trail alignment designed to enhance pedestrian and bicycle access and safety. Which is good news. 39.6361864, -78.3228281 As I noted in September The current trail will be continued from its current terminus and then across a rehabilitated Sideling Hill Creek Bridge to the mouth of the Indigo Tunnel. I don't care too much about the former, but on the later I'd like to see the more direct options chosen as opposed to switchbacks. Facebook is showing information to help you better understand the purpose of a Page. Need to find a bike ride while traveling? find trail maps, reviews, photos & driving directions on traillink.com Continuing the trail across those bridges would be fantastic. Here, for example, are the longest abandoned tunnels in the area, in order. he bends in the river are crossed by the Western Maryland Railway right of way, bridging the river on six trestles high above the water, creating spectacular vistas of the river and mountains. The Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) is about 28 miles long and parallels the C&O Canal Towpath for its entire length. Some examples include, July 06, 2016 in C&O Canal Trail/Great Allegheny Passage, Planning, Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) | Permalink At the top of this list is the Farimont Branch in WV. Description. Maybe someday West Virginia will get back involved and/or Maryland will look to build on more of the right-of-way west of Paw Paw to Cumberland. There's really no reason that the trail can't be continued. If you enjoy winter walks or bike rides along the Western Maryland Rail Trail around Hancock, note that detours and temporary closings will be in effect through Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. May 28, 2019. There are some smaller ones too. GB | That's Option 1 on the east side of Indigo Tunnel and Option 3 on the west side (which has the most gradual slope and more paving, but probably does the most damage since it includes a retaining wall). I haven't been in probably 7-8 years so it was interesting to see how much the town has developed along it. More than 20 years after the first segment of the Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) was begun at Fort Frederick State Park, the state of Maryland has sought bids on the fourth and final planned phase of the trail, a 4.5 mile section from Pearre to Little Orleans. In the Maryland Department of Natural Resources March-May 2016 Newsletter they announced that. From there it goes north between Indian Creek and a scrap yard to a loop around a little pond. What I can confirm is that the WMRT got money for upgraded wayfinding and trail maintenance. Find out about Western Maryland Rail Trail - Phase IV (RE-BID) and other projects out for bid. When this right-of-way was abandoned, works on establishing a train commenced but were done in phases and this was after the Maryland Department of Natural Resources bought a section of the right-of-way. Main Another trail on the west side of Indian Creek connects the Ryan Homes at Greenbelt Station to Branchville Road. The new western extension to the Western Maryland Rail Trail is now open (May of 2019). | Will 2018 be the Vision Zero Yearo? The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. this Saturday, June 1 to celebrate the completion of the Phase IV extension of the Western Maryland Rail Trail.. Rode there yesterday, 2-22-18 Rode from Hancock east just to get in a ride. The Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) is the area's latest rail-to-trail project. October 24, 2017 in WB&A Trail, Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) | Permalink The west end of this line is part of the previously mentioned Wheeling Heritage Trail, but the rest of the line would make a great extension passing through numerous towns along I-70. As noted last week, there are quite a few trail tunnels in the area, including some of the longest in the world. Sorry. Of course, environmentalists are opposing the pipeline for other reasonswhich seem a lot more concerning. Comments (1), October 16, 2012 in Bridges, Capital Bikeshare, Helmet, Politics, Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail (RIATT), Share the Road, Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) | Permalink | Twenty-eight mile-long trail runs from Big Pool along the Potomac River and the C&O Canal Towpath, past Sideling Hill, to Little Orleans. 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