Big Pool Jct./B105

Big Pool Jct./B105

Big Pool was reached by the WM in 1892 to connect with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) across the river at Cherry Run, WV. This new connection allowed for increased traffic that made this part of the WM the busiest on the entire railroad. In the spring of 1904 the building of the Cumberland Extension began here at Big Pool. The Western Maryland reached Hancock by December of that year and Cumberland by March 1906. A train-order office was constructed here to control the busy interlocking of the connection with the B&O and the new West Sub/Cumberland Extension traffic. It remained in use for a long time and was manned 24 hours a day. I believe it later closed in 1977 and was torn down. Also, back in the early steam days at Big Pool there was a huge wooden trestle constructed here. It was used to unload coal from hoppers and fill passing steam locomotives. It was later replaced by bigger tenders on the newer steam locomotives.


In August of 1990, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) acquired the 20.3 mile abandoned segment of the Western Maryland Railway, and three lots in the Town of Hancock from CSX Transportation. The abandoned rail corridor was purchased with state-wide DNR Program Open Space funding at a cost of $1,042,000. Construction began November 1996 using the $1.5M of DNR appointed funds. It was completed March 1998 with a paved surface and re-decked bridges from Big Pool to Hancock. The trail begins approximately one-half mile west of historic Fort Frederick State Park. The Western Maryland Rail Trail(WMRT) winds along the Potomac River through farmland, woodlands, and rural towns to its temporary ending in the town of Hancock. Construction began on Phase 2 in May 2002 and extended the trail and additional 8 miles to Tonoloway. Phase 3 is expected to be opened by Spring 2003 another 2 miles west to Pearre.

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A Western Maryland steam locomotive pulls a train west crossing the Big Pool Interlocking. I photographed CSX Train D721 in May 1998 westbound crossing over onto the connection with the B&O at the B105 milepost here at Big Pool Jct. The track west to Hancock and Tonoloway was removed in the late 1980's.

CSX empty hopper train E120 is westbound passing the B105 milepost in May 1998.

Im standing on the former eastbound main track of the WM West Sub. CSX train D720 is running on that track but has now curved to the left and running on the former WM/B&O connection to cherry Run, WV. (December 31, 2018 at 1028 am)

CSX D721 on a rainy January 6, 2019 takes the local train off WM mainline rails and onto the connection with the former B&O over in West Virginia at Cherry Run. The train is passing the B105 mileposts and former signal location. A new signal can be seen in the second photo as a "approach" signal to the signal bridge at Cherry Run on the former B&O.

Big Pool Jct. Interlocking looking west towards Hancock. (Rich Polk Photo)

Rich Polk photographed the operators desk inside of the Big Pool Jct Tower. Notice the controls that operate the signals ans s switches at the interlocking. The phone on the desk was used to talk to the dispatcher and train crews. Outside the office a Western Maryland train led by B&O geeps and a WM F7B pull passed the office bound for Hagerstown on June 29, 1973.

Big Pool Jct. In 1977, the operators office has been boarded up and some rails have been removed at the crossovers seen in the second photo. At this time the tracks were still in west towards North Branch but were out of service. Contractors were working during the week pulling rails west from North Branch to Tonoloway in 1977. (Don Biggs photos)

Looking east along the tracks and at the foundation for the Big Pool Jct Interlocking/Train-Order Office. It's December 7, 2012 and since I was here last CSX has installed a newer relay cabinet with a radio tower and a set of signals just west of the B105 milepost. That's also my 4 year old son John in the photo looking for choo-choos.

Measured the foundation, keep in mind the back wall is missing and the west rear corner. Starting at the east rear corner to the front the concrete wall measures 168 1/2 inches. Across the front the wall is 196 1/2 inches. Now turning back towards the rear the wall is shorter and measures 90 1/2 in. A short square like foundation sticks out now and slopes down slightly west from the rectangle foundation and is 68 inches. Turning the corner to go back again it now measures 54 1/2. From this corned the back wall has been "pulled away" ans is gone. Perhaps this was done to remove the switch control linkage under the building to the tracks.

CSX local D720 takes its train west and is at the former location of the Big Pool Jct. train order office on December 29, 2018 at 1054 am.

K2 No.209 picks up orders eastbound from the office at Big Pool Jct. WM Potomac 4-8-4 No.1411 heads west. (Thanks to Jim Coshun for photos)

CSX Train D721 is westbound passing the former site of the Big Pool Jct. Interlocking. Some of the old piping is still visible on the left. The piping held compressed air that controled the switches.

A previous day I have caught the very first run for the new Hagerstown-Cumberland local which will be called D721 here at Big Pool Jct. The black and white photo is a old railroad company photo of a house that the Western Maryland owned. The house was referred to as a "section house". A railroad foreman would live here and be responsible for this section of railroad.

Here we again look west after the eastbound main was pulled up from here west in favor of single track after thru train abandonment on the West Sub. Unsure when the double track to Hagerstown was reduced to single track. (Photo by Randy Farmer, February 1978)

At the private road crossing on December 31, 2018 at 1102 am as Q016 comes off the B&O Connection at Big Pool Jct. and onto WM rails. The train is still moving rather slow but has began to open up the throttle as will soon be running 50 mph.

Same location and one more time, train Q016 heads up the WM from Cherry Run with a CN SD70i leading. (January 26, 2019 at 1128 am)

CSX train Z279 crosses the road as the train prepares to crossover to B&O rails. This train is called 227 on NS trackage. THis train is using old trackage rights the N&W had acquired with the WM between Hagerstown, MD. and Connellsville, PA.

CSX coal train U820 accelerates east out of Big Pool as the train starts the climb up out of the Potomac River Valley to Big Spring.

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