Catonsville Short Line Railroad Trail
Please note this trail is still under construction
The Catonsville Short Line Trail is a 2.2-mile woodland trail in Baltimore County, Maryland. When complete, it will begin near the Catonsville Fire House and meander through a dozen Catonsville neighborhoods, Spring Grove State Hospital Center and the neighborhoods of Paradise before its dead ends near Charlestown Retirement Community. The trail is flat and has an unpaved crusher-run surface. Portions of the trail are on-road including a beltway bridge crossing. This trail is still under construction with a completion date of Spring 2023.
- The Charlestown section of the trail is a dense woodland trail teaming with wildlife including deer, fox, and wild turkeys.
- Cemetery Overlook – The trail provides a breathtaking view of the National Cemetery aka “Little Arlington”. CRTT has created a peaceful overlook area to memorialize these brave veterans.
- Birds of Paradise Birdhouse Project – Over 30 birdhouses adorn the trail. Part art project and part habitat project, the birdhouses bring a whimsical feel to the trail.
- A large mural along the Shady Nook section depicts a train bridge that once crossed over the Beltway.
- The Spring Grove portion of the trail features the original railroad tracks and historical wayside exhibits.
- A new boardwalk section of the trail is under construction behind Catonsville Elementary School which is expected to be completed in the fall of 2021.
New boardwalk trail behind Catonsville Elementary School
Catonsville Short Line Trail History
The Short Line Railroad ran from St. Agnes Station (present day Loudon Park), on the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad (B&P, now Amtrak), to Catonsville — about 3.5 miles. Ground was broken on December 6, 1883, with completion in November 1884, at an estimated price of $37,000. The line ran as many as 8 round trip passenger trains a day to Baltimore and numerous freight trains and special trains.
Service on the Short Line was abandoned with the last carload running in April 1972. Today, the Catonsville Short Line is enjoying a rebirth as a 2.2 mile bike/hike trail. Since 1999, Catonsville Rails To Trails has been raising funds, overseeing construction and promoting the trail. The trail is approximately 80% complete as of 2021.
Short Line Ticket office on Frederick Rd.
Parking on east side of the Beltway
Parking is available behind Western School of Technology during non-school hours. Parking is also available along Garden Ridge Road, Paradise Ave, and Shady Nook Ave.
Parking on the west side of the Beltway
Parking is available near the Armory at 130 Mellor Ave., and near 55 Wade Ave.
Lily Mae is a goose at the Short Line entrance
View a 17-minute video produced by the Charlestown Retirement Community