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with about two dozen grave markers lined up neatly in a row. On every stone, regardless of gender or age, the word Bauman is carved in, but on one domi- nant marker, it is spelled Bowman. After completing the full 180 degree


turn, the steepest part of the entire run from Cumberland will follow at an in- cline of 1.72 percent around Guard Rail Curve. It’s not over yet, as a short sec- tion before Manila shows a grade eleva- tion that comes very close to a full two percent before entering the east portal of


Sand Patch Tunnel. Inside the tunnel, throttles can be relaxed somewhat since here it all lev- els out to a calm 0.5 percent mid-way through the bore. However, this is not the place for complacency, since more than half the train is still draped over the hill and down into the Manila inter- change. At one time, a tower called GR stood guard at Manila, a busy place for helpers, but in 1953 this tower was torn down and authority given to the operator at SA Tower located on the west side of


the tunnel. SA Tower was, in all proba- bility, one of the most famous on either the East or West Slope, but it was torn down in October 2001. Walking the nar- row access road south of the tracks, one can look down and see the depression in the side of the cut where this proud structure once stood.


Operation at the summit is as varied as it is interesting. Lighting is difficult for photography at the east portal, as it sits in a deep cut and only sees the sun first thing in the morning on long sum-


RIGHT: Western Maryland’s impressive Salis- bury Viaduct carried its last train in 1975, but it still provides a great view of the Casselman Valley and the former B&O line. CSX Office Car Special P902 makes a rare appearance on Sand Patch, rolling west on August 7, 2008. The old WM viaduct is now part of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail. BELOW: While not as common as coal trains, eastbound grain moves on Sand Patch are not unusual and offer a good show climbing the West Slope. The hard work is over for a couple of veteran EMDs though as they roll train G388 through the S-curve just west of Fairhope during fall foliage season on October 18, 2008. SCOOTER HOVANEC PHOTOS


36 JULY 2015 • RAILFAN.COM


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