Mission
The Walkersville Southern Railroad Museum is dedicated to promoting Maryland’s local railroad heritage through educational programming and the preservation, restoration, and interpretation of historic railroad equipment, structures, and memorabilia.


The Museum

The Walkersville Southern Railroad Museum is located on and around what was once a secondary line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Housed within an early 20th century commercial building, the museum features a variety of educational exhibits that showcase railroad artifacts and equipment. It gives special emphasis to the Walkersville Southern Railroad and its predecessors, including the Pennsylvania Railroad. Other highlights include an operating HO scale model and a Children’s Corner with a hands-on wooden train shelf layout, books, and games.

Outside the museum is the Walkersville Southern Railroad (WSRR) Train Station; the Maintenance Shop where the WSRR mechanics base their repair work; and the Engine Shed which houses the WSRR rolling stock engines. Additional rolling stock that has been or is in the process of being restored is stationed on nearby tracks .

 

The Renovation Campaign

While you will have a memorable visit to the Walkersville Southern Railroad Museum today, plans are also underway for an extensive renovation of the building and museum exhibition area. A preliminary architectural study of the building was conducted in 2018 providing the first glimpse of the re-envisioned museum. Later this year, the Board of Directors will unveil more comprehensive plans for the building and a project timeline. We continue to pursue grants and donations to expedite this important work.


The Walkersville Southern Railroad Museum is a 501(c)3 organization, governed by a Board of Directors.

Board of Directors
Paul Kovalcik, President and Treasurer
Deanna Baird, Secretary
Wayne Kirchoff, Program Director
Gabe Gerber, Director
Marianne Urban, Director
Bill McCullough, Director

The railway line that connects Walkersville and Frederick is a section of a secondary line of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), constructed between 1869 and 1872. Just a few years following the end of the American Civil War, our nation was rebuilding. Passenger and freight railroads were extremely active. The entire PRR secondary line ran from Columbia, PA, through York and Hanover, into Maryland, continuing on through Taneytown, Keymar, Woodsboro, Walkersville, and terminating in Frederick. For decades there was a thriving business on the rails as dairy farmers sent milk and eggs to market and local residents traveled into Frederick for the day or to larger cities in the north.

In 1968 when the Pennsylvania Railroad merged with the New York Central, the line became part of the Penn Central Railroad. In less than three years, the reorganized railroad filed for bankruptcy. In 1972, Hurricane Agnes struck Frederick County resulting in a flood that destroyed the bridge over the Monocacy River, severing the rail line two miles south of Walkersville. The entire line was put up for sale. The State of Maryland purchased the Maryland portion of the line, but only utilized the section north of Walkersville. For 20 years, the six-mile line between Walkersville and Frederick was out of service and became buried under brush, weeds, and asphalt.

In 1991, the Walkersville Southern Railroad (WSRR), a for-profit company, was founded with the goal of operating short run tourist trains. For the next two years, volunteers cleared the tracks and right-of-way of vegetation and debris. In 1993, WSRR was selected by the Maryland Department of Transportation as “operator” of the Walkersville-Frederick line. Rebuilding began immediately with the first tourist excursions taking place in 1995.

In 2017 the Walkersville Southern Railroad Museum was established. It is housed in a building constructed in 1911 by the Walkersville Ice & Power Company, an enterprise associated with the Glade Valley Milling Company, which produced and sold grain. The building was part of a sprawling complex of buildings owned by Glade Valley. All that remains of the complex is the former ice plant building and the large shed across the track, which currently serves as the Walkersville Southern Railroad engine house.

In the mid to late 1980s Maryland Midland Railway operated freight trains out of Walkersville. By that time, the former Glade Valley Milling Company buildings had been purchased by Cargill, a national grain and feed supplier–and a railroad customer. When Cargill left the area in the late 1990s there was not enough commerce for Maryland Midland to operate in Walkersville. WSRR and WSRRM were able to secure ownership of the remaining Glade Valley Milling Company buildings and have used them ever since.

 

 

Historical Timeline

1846
The Pennsylvania Railroad Company (PRR) is chartered by Pennsylvania Governor Francis R. Shunk on April 13.

1869-1872
Construction of the railroad from Frederick, MD north to the Pennsylvania state border. The line ran from Pennsylvania in Columbia through York, Spring Grove, Hanover, and Littlestown, and into Maryland through Taneytown, Keymar, Woodsboro, Walkersville, Harmony Grove and Frederick.

1896
The line is sold to PRR and reorganized as the Frederick and Northern Railroad Company.

1897    
Merged with other PRR controlled railways to form the Hanover and York RR Company. Line is part of PRR, known as Frederick Secondary.

1889
Monocacy Bridge is replaced.

1902 
Name is changed to Northern Central Railway.

1914
North Central Railway of Maryland merged into York, Hanover & Frederick Railway Company. Remained a wholly-owned stock subsidiary of PRR.

1948
Last passenger service into Frederick takes place August 14.

1968 
PRR merged with New York Central creating Penn Central.

1970   
Penn Central files for bankruptcy.

1972 
Monocacy River Bridge washes out by Hurricane Agnes, severing the rail line two miles south of Walkersville. State of Maryland purchases Maryland portion of the line.

1976 -1978
The MA & PA RR operated the Frederick branch as far as Walkersville.

1980 
The line remains dormant until Maryland Midland Railway begins operations over the route between Walkersville north to Taneytown. South of Walkersville the right-of-way, devoid of freight customers, is overtaken by brush and weeds.

1991-1993
Volunteers of the new Walkersville Southern Railroad began restoring the line, clearing weeds and repairing track. Maryland Department of Transportation selects WSRR to operate the Walkersville-Frederick line.

1995 
Limited tourist excursions begin.

1996-1998
Rebuilding of the Monocacy Bridge is completed. Trains operate from Walkersville to Rt. 26 in Frederick, the current end of the line, for the first time in more than 25 years.

2009  
The State of Maryland grants access to three additional miles of track north of the existing station. Work begins immediately to upgrade the track and WSRR runs limited operations north from Walkersville on this rail.

2015  
The north runaround siding extension was completed. Monocacy Boulevard and Fountain Rock Road crossings are replaced.

2016
25-year anniversary of WSRR is celebrated.

2017
Walkersville Southern Railroad Museum is established as an independent non-profit entity. WSRR donates Engine #1 to the Museum.

2019
A new WSRR Museum website is introduced.