One of the things parents always tell their children is stay off the train tracks and to never go into abandoned buildings. One of the things growing up in Canby Park was the train tracks went right through the woods and they were just a natural corridor. You could walk the train tracks and get yourself right into the city. I know I mentioned walking train tracks in other posts but this time I'm just going to talk about walking down to the riverfront. The tracks it went through Canby Park we're called the Market Street branch of the B&O Railroad. The Market Street branch connected the big railroad yard by the General Motors Factory to Wilmington and the businesses in the city. Those tracks are still there but there and used once in awhile to transfer cars from one railroad to another but there are no longer any businesses in the city that get rail service.
We would walk down the street into Canby Park woods and then down to the tracks, once on the tracks we head down toward the city. Next we would cross Maryland Avenue, then walked behind Alban Park and around Robinson's Bend and you would be at a place called West Yard. At West yard you'd have to be careful because that's where the tracks connected with Amtrak. Those trains went faster and they were patrolled by the police.
Once we got to West yard there was a lot of things we could get into. There was a place that had been a scale house for weighing rail cars. The scale house was gone but the scale mechanism was still in the ground and there was a manhole hatch that opened allowing access to climb down
underground and around inside the scale mechanism. It was dark, smelly, dirty, and greasy but it was a neat place to crawl around when you were a kid. We could go under the Amtrak elevated railroad and in the other side between Amtrak and the Christian and River there was an industrial park that used to be the old Dravo Shipyard. One part of the shipyard was used by a company called Trans Car Services that repaired tank cars, mostly for the Dupont company. I remember in the summer after 8th grade I had to go to summer school and there was a girl that rode the bus with my named Judy Dombrowski, her dad worked there. Sometime 2000 Raymond and I were walking around in the closed down facility and I picked up a piece of paperwork that was blowing around in the breeze and her dad’s name was one it. It's amazing that the name has stuck with me but sometimes we just remember peculiar things.
|The switcher from Trans Car Services is now
on display at the Delaware Children's Museum.
|The former Wilson Line steamer State of Pennsylvania
|If mom only knew the places we used to go. The view was great!