I was looking up some information on the dispute about who owns the WB&A right of way in southern Anne Arundel County and I found a lot of articles in the Baltimore Sun about various rail trails. The Sun, it turns out, makes their archives more available than the Post does.
Here are some of the stories I found:
The Jaycees played a key role in the development of the B&A Trail.
Later, Kuntz recalls, the Jaycees spent weekends straining on a home-made machine, built from two lawn mowers, mounted on the abandoned rails. The volunteers would haul the contraption back and for, cutting down the tenacious growth that had sprung up in the decade since the last train rolled.
An article about the B&A's inclusion in the American Discovery Trail. It also has information on the WB&A Trail
Warren, whose doctor ordered him to take up hiking after a 1985 heart attack, has walked the entire 46-mile defunct WB &A rail bed. He said it has only one or two small sections where septic systems make it impassable.
An article about the B&A has a familiar ring to it.
The biggest complaint about the trail, Mr. Dionne said, is that there isn't enough of it. Only 10 feet of its 66-foot width are paved -- most newer trails around the country are 12 feet wide -- and warm weather weekends have seen it as crowded as a rush-hour subway.
But to many, the trail is jeopardized, ironically, by something similar to what it once was. The Mass Transit Administration is considering extending light rail from Dorsey Road to downtown Glen Burnie along the old railroad bed. To many, that would be the first step toward Annapolis.
And if the commuter line gets on the trail southbound, it won't detour off, they predict.
"It's certainly a top-of-the-list option," O. James Lighthizer, state secretary of transportation, said of using the former rail bed as a light rail corridor. But that is years away, he added.
And the tracks would be only about 20 feet wide, Ken Goon, chief MTA planner, said recently.
While some say light-rail cars running next to them wouldn't be so bad, others are not so sure. That commuter rails run alongside bike paths in Europe is no consolation.
Back in 1995, Harford County, MD had a chance to build 6 miles of what would eventually be a 26 mile Ma and Pa Heritage Corridor. The trail would go from Gunpowder Falls State Park to the PA line. The county needed to agree to pay the match to get $706,000 of funding. Homeowners along the 6 miles agreed to allow the trail, but people living along other parts of the rail bed opposed it "saying it would bring excessive traffic to their neighborhoods on weekends and noisy "tourists" to their back yards." The plan was scaled back to 1.5 miles a few days later. The trail has been built in small pieces and didn't reach 6 miles until 2008.