(Remains of) Washington and Great Falls Electric Railroad
Ventured into Washington, DC yesterday after deciding to walk the Capital Crescent Trail and take advantage of the fantastic weather. Admittedly the starting point wound up being the metro station rather than the trail, but while we’re on the subject of abandoned railroads, I thought I’d post these items that might be of interest to the local history fanatics out there!
While walking through Georgetown, we stumbled across this old railroad trestle just west of the university towards Foxhall Road:
Clearly an old railroad bridge, some post-walk research told me this was the remains of the Washington and Great Falls Electric Railroad. Not strictly a Bethesda issue, although the railroad, also known as the “Cabin John Trolley” (where it eventually terminated, never actually being extended to Great Falls!), ferried passengers through Glenn Echo, where they could board a Bethesda-bound streetcar. We covered this previously in relation to the Bethesda North Trail (read more here).
Further exploration in the woods along Foxhall turned up further remains, while the old track bed was still clearly visible across the road. The old track bed today is a pleasant right of way that is well preserved in certain sections along the route. This is also not the only trestle that remains intact, with others further down the line in Maryland.
The Washington and Great Falls Electric Railroad was incorporated in 1892 and opened in 1895, beginning in Georgetown at the junction of 36th and Prospect Streets. It was bought by the Washington Railway and Electric Company in 1902 and finally dismantled during the 1960s. Running along a private right of way, the journey must have been extremely pretty on its vantage point along the hillside above the Capital Crescent Trail. Original photos here.