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Special train will mark rail line's heritage

May 23, 1998

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

A special MARC train on Memorial Day will commemorate the 125 years of history of the Brunswick Line.

The 750 tickets for the train, priced at $10, have sold out.

Special programs are planned Monday afternoon at the Brunswick Museum and at several stops on the line, including Rockville, where Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening will speak.

The train will arrive from Union Station in Brunswick at 2:45 p.m. and depart at 4:30 p.m.

The Metropolitan Branch of the old B&O Railroad evolved into the Brunswick Line, which is now a part of CSX.

The railroad was the catalyst for Montgomery County's evolution from a largely rural, agriculture-oriented county to the original suburb of Washington, D.C.

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Suburbs such as Kensington, Takoma Park and Garrett Park clustered along the rail line, and tourist areas including Forest Glen and Glen Echo formed.

"Once the train went through the people who lived in the city saw their chance to live in a better climate," said Karen Lottes, education program director for the Montgomery County Historical Society.

"These old neighborhoods weren't even on the map. They wouldn't have existed if the train hadn't existed."

In 1850, there were 65 residents in Gaithersburg, Md. Ten years after the railroad opened for business May 25, 1873, there were 800, according to Judith Christensen, director of the Gaithersburg Museum. Before 1900, more than 30 trains a day ran from Union Station to Gaithersburg, she said.

The railroad line was also important to area farmers, she said. Dairy and other farmers were able to get their products to market more quickly, enabling them to secure a higher price.

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