Which is good news. Correction to the date, ride was on 2-20-18. When NPS completed their Environmental Assessment they had identified several alternatives with one continuing the trail to Paw Paw, This alternative, which shows the trail going to Paw Paw through the Stickpile 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). Comments (0). 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. Back in August 2017, the Indian Creek Trail was extended north of Greenbelt Road (and across the East Coast Greenway). As noted last week, there are quite a few trail tunnels in the area, including some of the longest in the world. I have literally hundreds of skipped over subjects in the queue. Comments (2). Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Celebrates the Completion of Phase IV. Beyond Pearre and onto Cumberland, Maryland, the Western Maryland Railway right of way is owned by the National Park Service. The Western Maryland Rail Trail is a 22 mile paved trail that starts in Pierre MD and goes to Big Pool MD. Mon 06/06 (44.1 miles) Dr. S and 2000 Sun 06/05 (15.0 miles) W&OD Fri 06/03 (33.6 miles) Thu 06/02 (32.0 miles) Wed 06/01 (36.0 miles) Gallows to DC Here again there may be an opportunity. 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. The trail used to end at 57th just south of Greenbelt Road, but now it crosses Greenbelt, on-road and in a crosswalk, and picks up on the north side of Branchville Road. That seems like a good guess, but I actually think it's part of unrelated repairs on the trail. 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. 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. The progress is slowly being made,” Carter said during the board meeting. The WMR right-of-way doesn't end at Paw Paw. Also, you get to see how the Western Maryland RR was built into the side of the Potomac River valley with steep cliffs above the trail and down to the C&O Canal. As part of that they've released four preliminary alternatives for the trail. These alternatives vary primarily in the distance the trail will be extended. 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. But several of the others have real possibilities. 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. #6 is a good one two, because it creates a bike/ped crossing close to Paw Paw. Posted by: The abandoned 17 mile long Bluefield Subdivision from Pocahontas to Weyanoke in WV has a pair of short tunnels just south of Rock. 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. Rode there yesterday, 2-22-18 It's not happening. 123 likes. 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. This 0.8 mile long trail crosses over the North Branch of the Potomac River between Carpendale in West Virginia and Cumberland in Maryland and through the 1,500-foot-long Knobley tunnel. So I'll give you the bad news first. 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). Paved trail popular for cycling, in-line skating … The study team will consider this improvement in the planning process for the WMRT Extension. Western Maryland Rail Trail Parking (at Pearre Rd. ", One cause of the hold is the presence of bats in the tunnels. Big Bend, Lodgeville and Gallitzin tunnels were abandoned, but the railroads were not and now pass through parallel tunnels and so the railroads would surely frown on their adaptive reuse (which would have little utility as well). 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 work as was just reported today. The first is very likely, the second, very unlikely. 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. The Laurel Hill Tunnel which, like the Sideling Hill and Ray's Hill tunnel is an old turnpike tunnel, is currently being used as a test track for race cars. 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. 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. Most of these aren't likely to be trail tunnels. What I can confirm is that the WMRT got money for upgraded wayfinding and trail maintenance. So it won't be extended to Paw Paw. This project would provide for better pedestrian and bicycle connectivity between the C&O Canal NHP and the town of Paw Paw, WV. It is somewhat bittersweet, since as originally planned, this trail was going to go to Paw Paw, WV, passing through 3 large tunnels and over the Potomac 6 times. In partnership with the U.S. September 03, 2015 in Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) | Permalink 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 new western extension to the Western Maryland Rail Trail is now open (May of 2019). DNR hired the design firm of A Morton Thomas and the design is complete. Email announcing race date change below sent to runners on 9/25/20: Unfortunately, COVID-19 has caused the cancellation of another race - the 2020 Western Maryland Rail Trail Marathon and Half Marathon. While it could be considered redundant to the towpath, it has the advantage of passing through these towns. A little closer to DC, there are three long tunnels that were to once be part of the Western Maryland Rail Trail (the Kessler, Stickpile and 4350 foot long Indigo) but they were  closed by the NPS so that they could be bat habitat instead. There's really no reason that the trail can't be continued. I take that to mean expensive, because when I look at the photo below, it's easy to imagine how a ramp could be built from the bridge to the road (which is the old Low Line). May 28, 2019. 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. 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. There are some smaller ones too. Alternatively it could just continue along the low line into Paw Paw and cross over on the 51 Bridge. 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. 42 likes. You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post. 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. Baltimore Greenway Trails Network Builds Paths for Connectivity and Economic Growth Five Creepy Cool Trailside Attractions Washington, D.C., and Maryland’s Anacostia River Trail Notice: Upcoming Railroad Abandonment in Allegany County, Maryland The Great American Rail-Trail Experience: Connections to Our National Scenic and Historic Trails 10 Haunted Tales from America’s Trails … This paved trail is located in the thin Maryland neck between Hancock and Fort Frederick, about 1 1/2 hours northwest of the Capital Beltway. It continues on the north side of the C&O canal passing through the towns of Old Town and Spring Gap on the way to south Cumberland. Maryland Transit Administration was considering constructing the SCMaglev train on the WB&A trail. | Even if just from the WMRT to 144, it could get a good bit of use. Columbia has said it would run the line under the Western Maryland Rail Trail, C&O Canal National Historical Park and under the Potomac River to reach West Virginia. [The C&O Canal path also passes through town]. The Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) is the area's latest rail-to-trail project. Anyway, point is - the trail is no longer at threat and this may be an opportunity. Western Maryland Rail Trail. Contact: 301-842-2155 Hours: Sunrise to Sunset ALERT: 6-19-2020 – The Western Maryland Rail Trail remains OPEN during the Governor’s Safer at Home public health advisory to allow for outdoor recreation. One issue is that I don't know who owns the right of way west of Paw Paw. | DNR is currently in the process of obtaining an Access Permit from Allegany County for the crossing of Little Orleans Road. The whole process is to be complete by the end of the year. Alternative 4 is the best option though. The one that is no longer an issue involved construction of the SCMaglev tracks on the WB&A Trail. But the the state and NPS decided that the tunnels would be better used as wildlife preserves for bats. 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. So some posts are just going to include old bits, and this is one of them. The right of way goes through Allegheny County, Maryland, into West Virginia and back again six times, ending across the river from Paw Paw near the Paw Paw Tunnel on the C&O Canal National Historical Park. December 20, 2017 in Capital Crescent Trail (CCT), National Park Service, New York Avenue Trail, Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) | Permalink NPS is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) regarding the proposed extension of the Western Maryland Rail Trail from Pearre Station, Washington County, MD to the Paw Paw Tunnel area of the park, near Paw Paw, West Virginia. It would presumably bypass the Carnifex which the NPS closed in 2014 for safety reasons. These means skipping the two tunnels and Potomac River crossings #4 and #5. You can't find that anywhere else on the Eastern Seaboard. The Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) is about 28 miles long and parallels the C&O Canal Towpath for its entire length. Unfortunately the trail doesn't extend another 2000 feet along the creek's west side to the Metro station. If work has started, we could expect it to end in 2018. The Chapline Hill tunnel under 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). Western Maryland Rail Trail... Biking in Maryland. Rode from Hancock east just to get in a ride. The State of Maryland has granted the Baltimore Washington Railroad (BWRR) the franchise rights to the defunct WB&A railroad. near Fort Frederick State Park to C&O Canal Towpath (Little Orleans). Another one is the the B&O railroad's Wheeling Pittsburgh Subdivision between Washington, PA and Wheeling, WV. Need to find a bike ride while traveling? See other rides. But since then the number of routes have been trimmed and those two removed from consideration. NPS chose a different alternative, one that would extend the trail to the north side of the Stickpile tunnel and then end. Updated for 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. The work will be done in two phases, to the west of the Hancock town limits. Of the SCMaglev train on the west of Paw Paw, WV, there is no them. 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