Then and Now: 1954 Georgetown Branch Excursion Train in Silver Spring

Yesterday I had lunch in Silver Spring with a friend and was reminded of the fine photos taken by Dr. Ira Pearlman on Sunday, Ocrober 24, 1954. This NRHS excursion traversed the Georgetown and Alexandria Branch lines. The train was pulled by B&O GP7 743 and consisted of three passenger cars. Here we see a couple shots from 1954 and the view as it looks today. Enjoy!

Here Dr. Pearlman captures GP7 743 leading its train west, about to cross over Georgia Ave. on the morning of October 24, 1954.
Today, the bridge is still in place but now a second span supports both the CSX tracks as well as the Metro tracks. Station platforms are still evident and the original lamp posts as well. The nearby Silver Spring Metro station opened in 1978.
Dr. Pearlman snaps the train as it picks up passengers at the Silver Spring station. The train was scheduled to depart Eckington around 8:45am, so I imagine this was a scheduled stop for others to hop on before heading to Georgetown. The station was built in 1945.
The same view, Nov 28, 2021. The photographer was a bit closer to the station. The single-fixture lamp post (seen in the “then” photo) is in storage on the ground on the other side of the station.

I’d like to get back one day to take more detailed/composed shots, as these snapshots were serendipitous after we had lunch across the street. To view the rest of Dr. Pearlman’s wonderful photo set, please visit my Gallery. Hope you enjoy them! I snapped a few additional photos:

3 thoughts on “Then and Now: 1954 Georgetown Branch Excursion Train in Silver Spring

  1. I remember the GB quite vividly 1950s-1960s. I grew up on Elkhart Street and loved the Railroad. I remember the Alco S2 pushing its train caboose first so the man in the caboose could blow the horn for road crossings. Later GP9s and larger units were used and pulled rather than pushed. Mainline freights would stop and leave cars for the GB in a small yard near Brookeville Rd. A local freight would go out to Gaithersburg(?) in the morning and return in the afternoon and pick up empties from the GB and the resulting train could be quite long.I worked for a Mason Co. that had a yard acouple blocks past EC keys (A.Myron Cowell)and saw the train go by a few times. In 1978 I worked as a bricklayer on the 2nd Air Rights Building laying block near the track. I only recall one train going by-A lone GP9 with one loaded hopper of Coal. I never expected the Georgetown Branch would become just a memory.I am currently 71 yrs. old.

  2. The two passengers walking towards the train are my mother, Charlotte Pearlman and her father. My grandfather, Aaron Frank, retired from the B&O as a City Agent in the late ’40s.

    My parents had been married all of about 5 weeks at the time of the excursion and photos.

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