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Hub City then & now

September 03, 2006|by JULIE E. GREENE

It's not called Hub City for its hubcaps or bicycles.

The sights and sounds of steam and later diesel locomotives were probably most prevalent in Hagerstown's West End, as tracks running from Cumberland, Md., to Baltimore lined Foundry and Walnut streets.

One sign of the times was the dark soot from coal-fired steam locomotives that would sully laundry hanging out to dry in the West End, says Bill Knode, publicity director for the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum.

Another sign was the frustation shown by drivers waiting for long trains to pass so they could head west. With no interstates, freight drivers also had to wait for trains to clear. That ended in the late 1950s after the tracks were elevated along what is now Burhans Boulevard.

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