The Western Maryland Train Station at Sudbrook Park
By Beryl Frank
Children of the 21st century will never recall the small Sudbrook train station built on the site of Western Maryland Railway tracks adjacent to what is today Sudbrook Park, Maryland. Here, built by the railroad for the convenience of residents, was a stop for passenger service to and from the City of Baltimore.
In the late 1890s and early 1900s, some passengers walked to the station. Others were taken by horse and carriage to meet the train. In some photographs, you can still see a horse and carriage. One could purchase tickets inside the depot and even mail a letter or buy a postage stamp right there! Ten cents was the cost per rider to take the train from the Sudbrook station to downtown.
James McHenry bequeathed 204 acres of his estate called Sudbrook, near Pikesville, to make a community still known today as Sudbrook Park. The community was designed to have tall trees and curved streets with lovely, gracious summer homes originally planned for summer escape for city residents from the heat of Baltimore. The community planner was the renowned Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., the designer of Central Park in New York City.
The Sudbrook Park depot was built on property originally owned by Mr. McHenry. The archives show a deed to the Western Maryland dated September 19, 1890, for one acre of land with a provision that if ever the land ceased to be used for railroad station purposes, it would revert to the Sudbrook Company.
The depot was completed prior to 1896. Wood steps led down to the railroad tracks. The Boston firm of Cabot, Everett and Mead designed the building. When completed, it included the post office plus a telegraph and express service.
This was not the first Western Maryland location on that line called Sudbrook Station. An earlier location was along the tracks under the Sudbrook Park bridge. The annual report for the year ending September 1896 contains a note stating, "the Sudbrook Station moved to the summit of the grades in Sudbrook Park."
Other changes occurred over the years. In 1900 there was a freight shed of frame construction standing six by eight feet with a shingle roof. Ultimately this was dismantled as it became unused.
The Sudbrook Park train station on top of the hill was retired January 6, 1930.
According to later railroad records of February 24, 1942, a frame waiting shed was built measuring eight by fourteen by eight feet. That building was erected on the south side of the eastbound main track at track-level.
Passenger train service was discontinued in 1957. With that, an era ended for the Sudbrook Park community and the Western Maryland Railway.
Special thanks to Dennis Wertz and the Western Maryland Railway Historical Society for their help in adding to the pictures and facts for this article.
Anson, Melanie D.: Olmsted's Sudbrook, Sudbrook Park Inc., Baltimore, Md., 1997.
Frank, Beryl: A Pictorial History of Pikesville, Maryland, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, Md., 1982.
This early picture was taken just after the embankment was regraded. The hill had yet to be sodden, but access to the trains by wooden steps was complete. Note the horse and carriage in the rear.
The Sudbrook station was where students waited for trains to downtown Baltimore. [Photo courtesy of the Cox family]
This was the shed located west of Sudbrook Park. It was dismantled in August 1925. [Photo courtesy of the Western Maryland Railway Historical Society]