Wednesday, March 15, 2023

1911 914' GAP Trail + Western Maryland Scenic Brush Tunnel near Cumberland, MD

(Bridge Hunter; Satellite; Portals: West, East)

GAP = Great Allegheny Passage

This interactive map of the trail is one of the sources that indicates the closest access to the tunnel is at Cash Valley Road.

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, shares this tunnel with the GAP Trail. Note that they simply put a fence between the trail and railroad.
Aug 2012 Photo by Jim Allen via BridgeHunter
[According to Bryan Burton's comment below, this view is looking at the west portal.]

Since the trail is on the opposite side in this photo, this would be a view of the east portal.
Apr 2021 Photo by Bradley Owen via hmdb

Oct 2016 Photo by bikeabout via FourSquare

Brush Tunnel is near the upper-left corner of this map. The Cumberland and Pennsylvania is the railroad that chose to stay in the valley of Jennings Run. Obviously, WM chose to quickly climb out of the valley. Several sources label the horseshoe curve just east of the tunnel Helmstetter's Curve.
The WM will climb 1800' in 24 miles to cross the Eastern Continental divide. [MidatlanticBikeTrails]
1949 Cumberland Quad @ 24,000

hmdb, cropped
"The Brush Tunnel was built in 1911, constructed of reinforced concrete, and designed for two tracks. The tunnel is located on the Connellsville Extension of the Western Maryland Railway in Cash Valley, four miles west of Cumberland.
"The extension from Cumberland to Connellsville, Pennsylvania was completed in 1912 at an enormous cost through rugged and mountainous country. The line was built to serve a twofold purpose; to provide a western outlet for the Western Maryland and an eastern tidewater outlet for the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad. It afforded the Western Maryland the shortest line between Baltimore and Pittsburgh and the lowest grade line across the Allegheny Mountains.
"These 1915 photographs include a Baltimore to Chicago passenger train entering the tunnel, soon to emerge into the Jennings Run Valley."

Bryan Burton Photography posted
Chesapeake and Ohio 1309 exits the west portal of the Brush Tunnel at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. 2/23
Randall Hampton shared

Worldwide Railfan Productions posted
Western Maryland Scenic WMSR 501 exits Brush Tunnel
Pulling a passenger train full of railfans, WMSR 501, an EMD GP30 locomotive, pulls a passenger train through Brush Tunnel in Maryland.
 Location: Corriganville, MD
 By: Brandon Fiume 
 Taken on: November 05, 2022

When WM Scenic is running their steam locomotive, this warning about entering the tunnel is well worth heeding.
Gary Bensman, Oct 2019, cropped

It is worth noting that the Cumberland & Pennsylvania stayed in the valley until they got to Frostburg, MD. And then they had such a steep climb to go south of Frostburg that they used a switchback. I also note that the Western Maryland had yet to be built in 1908.
1908 Frostburg Quad @ 62,500

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