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=Western Maryland Railway=

=Porters Sideling=

York County Roadtrip Part II
November 24, 2002

By the early 1900's the Western Maryland Railway had developed into compact Class 1 railroad that went from its own tidewater port west to the best crossing of the Alleghenies (see Railroutes of the Alleghenies)and on to a midwest freight connection with a group of other independent-minded railroads. Throw in WM's three coal hauling arteries and a strategic bridge route to the Reading, add a sense of class and good management, and the result was a railroad company that operated up through the 1970's and still lives on in the hearts of many to this day.

The Western Maryland, however, did not forget its roots. The genesis of the WM was a railroad company that wanted to serve local businesses in areas that the trunk lines ignored. Keeping to this mission, the WM under John Mifflin Hood connected a group of local lines in York, Adams and Franklin Counties Pennsylvania in what would become known as the Dutch Line. One of these lines, the Hanover Branch Line Railroad Company, predated the WM with its line from the Northern Central to Hanover, chartered in 1851. One of its operating points was Porters Sideling, which among its various charms includes its curious spelling. With the creation of WM's Baltimore & Harrisburg RR's eastern extention in 1892, Porters became the junction of lines going to the east and the west.

This USGS photo gives a perspective that cannot be seen on the ground at Porters. Note that a train is using the junction in this 1988 photo.

Inside the junction. One box labeled Porters the other is labeled Kraft Mill Rd. Randy Miller reports: "The box marked Porters is a radio repeater for CSX. They have them about every ten miles or so. That is how we talk to the dispatchers in Jacksonville. When we tone them on the radio, a red square on their computer screen marked Porters flashes."

Looking from the west to east the switch is set for the York branch (now Yorkrailway).

This is about as high off the ground you can get without climbing a tree in an effort to photograph the junction.

The older houses in Porters Sideling are along the original line from Hanover Junction to Hanover. One has to believe this structure was here when Abraham Lincoln traveled over the line to make his Gettysburg address in the midst of the Civil War.

When WM operated all of these lines, yard facilities existed in Hagerstown and York for trains YH-1 and HY-2. With Yorkrail operating the York branch today, one can speculate that this siding at Smith Station west of Porters is used to interchange traffic. Besides this cut of freight cars the siding also contained a separate set of loaded coal hoppers, probably bound for Glatfelter's in Spring Grove.

After Randy Miller, from Yorkrailway read the above, he responded: "The siding at Smiths is where we pick up from CSX and we set out our cars for CSX at Porters. The coal loads that you saw at Smiths were loads of coke for Lehigh Cement in York. All of Glatfelter's coal comes in from NS now using -944's. The trains use to come up on the old PRR, but the engines were to heavy for the track inside the mill. They run on Sundays and it can be anywhere from two to four trains a month."

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