Ellicott City StationEdit profile
The Ellicott City Station is the oldest remaining passenger train station in the United States, and one of the oldest in the world. At the time of its construction it was the terminus of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad line from Baltimore to Ellicott's Mills, Maryland and it incorporated features for the servicing of steam locomotives at the end of the 13 mile (21 km) run. The station was built in 1831 at the end of the Oliver Viaduct of local stone provided by one of the Ellicott's quarries. The two-story stone building is built against the viaduct. A gabled roof is topped by a wood ventilating cupola. The upper level of the station is at the level of the tracks on the viaduct. The Oliver viaduct, which was damaged by Hurricane Agnes in 1972, has since been reconstructed. The building was designed to allow engines to be pulled in on the upper level so that they could be worked on from below. A turntable with a diameter of 50 feet (15 m) was fitted in 1863 to permit locomotives to be turned around. The turntable was filled in after the line was extended, but the granite foundations remain. The station is significant as the terminus of the original B&O railroad. The B&O was conceived as a means of re-establishing Baltimore as a major terminus of inland commerce, a position Baltimore had lost with the advent of the Erie Canal. The commencement of construction on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, originating in nearby rival Washington, D.C., gave impetus to the use of a railroad for topographically-challenged Baltimore. From Ellicott City the tracks reached Harpers Ferry in 1834, Cumberland, terminus of the C&O Canal, by 1842, and Wheeling on the Ohio River in 1852.