All Aboard at the Elkton Railroad Station

The last time a regularly scheduled passenger train stopped at the Elkton Railroad Station was April 25, 1981. The Chesapeake, train 420, scheduled to arrive at the depot at 6:29 p.m. on its run north from Washington, D.C., completed its final run that spring evening a quarter-of-a-century ago. Passenger service had returned in 1978, when the Chesapeake, a new Amtrak train, started running between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. When it made its first run across the top of the Chesapeake on the morning of April 30, 150 over people greeted it at Elkton. Once the dignitaries disappeared after the inaugural run, a small cluster of passengers gathered along the southbound track each morning, waiting for the locomotive around the bend east of town so they could continue their journeys to Baltimore and Washington. In the evening, as people in Cecil County settled down for dinner, the train screeched to a stop at Elkton, as tired workers climbed off to head home for the night.

Since 1981 the quiet at the old depot has not been broken by the conductor shouting “All Aboard,” though many Acelas and other fast trains thunder past the old station that once served as an important commuter station in Cecil County.

This photo shows Elkton’s Pennsylvania Station soon after the modern depot opened about 1930, the cars of commuters and travelers jamming the parking lot during those days of the Great Depression.
—- Elkton, a railroad town — Chronology

1837
January 9 — A train operated by the Wilmington & Susquehanna Railroad makes an experimental run to Elkton, as work continues on building the line to the Susquehanna River. Many townspeople were on hand to greet the first arrival of
a train of cars.

1837
July 31 — the road opens for regular service. For more than a century, the
railroad plays an ever growing role in Elkton’s development.

1858
The Philadelphia Wilmington & Baltimore railroad guide says: “The railroad has proved of great advantage for Elkton . . . The population of this place prior to construction of the road was about 900 although 160 years had elapsed since its settlement, while since that time the number of inhabitants has increased fully 50-percent.

1938
Eighteen passenger trains a day stop at the Elkton station.

1963
Only 3 trains a day stop at the depot and all service would soon stop.

1978
After a period of interruption, passenger service returned to Elkton in 1978 when a the Chesapeake, a new Amtrak train, started running between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. When it made its first run across the top of the Chesapeake, 150 people greeted it at Elkton

1981
April 25 — Train 420, scheduled to stop in Elkton at 6:29 p.m. on its trip north from Washington, D.C. makes its call at the old depot. Since that time the quiet at the old depot has not been broken by a conductor shouting “All Aboard,” through Acela and other fast trains thunder past the old station that once served as an important commuter station in Cecil County.

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6 responses to “All Aboard at the Elkton Railroad Station

  1. If only a mere pittance of what was spent on the Interstate system had been spent when the railroads were going under, we would most likely still have a viable rail system. Granted, those who ran the railroads were not saints, then what business is not.

  2. What is the state of the depot today? Does anyone have interior pictures?

    • Steve it is still standing and use for some maintenance worker operations. I have been in a couple of times, but most the representations of what it was like have been lost. Next time I get in there, I’ll ask permission to snap a few photos and share them.

  3. Vickie Boyd Mowen

    My father William W. Boyd was a conductor on the PRR till it became Amtrak. His run was Washinton to New York.

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