You can read about the first leg of the trip by clicking here.
When the draw was up on the bridge, the red face of the danger signal was illuminated by a red lantern, thus the engineer knew it was not safe to proceed. The white face of the safety signal, illuminated by a white lantern, would only show when the draw was securely latched.
This mechanism eliminated human error on the part of the watchman who may have been napping, or startled by the train, or simply grabbed the wrong lantern, as an 1856 publication noted.
Now that we’ve safely crossed the Bush River, we come upon Perrymansville. This stop is, “important only as the outlet for business transacted with the surrounding neighborhood.”
The station is a two-story building with gables on either end, and one in the front over the raised porch. It looked like someone’s home. As we journey onward, we see Spesutie Church on our left and on our right is farmland.
“Railroad depots are generally ugly structures, but those on the PWB are neat, tasteful, and of beautiful design and finish,” the 1877 Guidebook boasted.
While the Aberdeen station wasn’t nearly as large or as grand as either the Baltimore or Philadelphia stations, it was quite neat. It was a two-story frame building with a covered porch.
The first floor was used as the railroad office and the second floor was the stationmaster’s quarters. At the rear of the building was a large ell and to its right sat a shed used for freight and maintenance.
The town as well as the railroad flourished over time.
The 1877 PWB railroad Guidebook noted that there were 75 to 100 inhabitants, a post office, two churches and a public school.
It’s interesting that there was a separate post office, as the train stations generally served that purpose. “Steam locomotives practically eliminated stage coaches on Post Road and carried all mail and passengers,” according to Harford Historical Bulletin No. 54.
In 1877, the area was not without a distinction which still holds true today.
“The best eating fish in the market are caught in the waters of the Chesapeake, and the oysters taken here are noted for their excellent qualities in restaurants and dining rooms,” according to the Guidebook of that year.
No doubt, travelers of that time would be quite disoriented by the scenery we pass today.
Although most of the old stations are long gone, the tracks remain. As Amtrak speeds along the same basic route that the steam engines did, we’re reminded that the only thing constant is change.