If you live in the Mount Hebron community, it is possible you are able to experience a very relaxing sound at night. It is also possible you might hear a very annoying sound. It’s the same sound, what could it be? It is the sound of a CSX train snaking its way through the neighborhood along the Patapsco River.

There are many unique facts associated with the railroad that passes by our neighborhood.

The B&O Ellicott City Station is the oldest surviving railroad station in the country. Built in 1831, Ellicott City (then Ellicott’s Mills) was the first stop on the B&O Main Line.

The station was the terminus of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s first 13 miles that ran from Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland.

For more information on the B&O Ellicott City Station visit. https://www.preservationmaryland.org/this-day-in-history-chartering-of-the-bo-railroad/

The B&O’s inaugural trip from Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mills took place on May 22, 1830 using horse-drawn rail cars.

Engineer Peter Cooper built a locomotive that to impress the B&O barons called the Tom Thumb. The B&O arranged a demonstration of the Tom Thumb in 1830. Hauling a car full of 40 officials, dignitaries and social notables, the little locomotive covered the distance from Baltimore to Ellicott Mills in an hour, reaching the unheard-of speed of 18 mph.

On the return trip, the driver of a passing horse-drawn carriage challenged the locomotive to an impromptu race. The challenge was accepted. Tom Thumb was able to pull away from the horse until the belt slipped off the blower pulley. Without the blower, the boiler did not draw adequately and the locomotive lost power, allowing the horse to pass and win the race. This race took place in Relay, Maryland. 

For more information on Peter Cooper and Tom Thumb visit https://todayinsci.com/C/Cooper_Peter/CooperPeter-TomThumb.htm