On November 1, a locomotive and several cars were diverted to the railroad tracks next to Walgreens. Seeing a train sitting on the tracks in that part of Odenton reminded me of the history of those tracks and that Odenton was born from the railroad. That spur of track from the MARC station to Academy Junction is the last existing and active rail of the Annapolis & Elkridge Railroad. The A&E RR ran from Annapolis Junction (Howard County) through Odenton on its way to Annapolis. While you can still see remnants of the A&E RR right of way in the form of paths and utility lines, the rails that run next to Walgreen is the last remaining usable rails.
The A&E RR opened in 1840 as a way to connect passengers from the Baltimore and Ohio railroad to Annapolis. In 1868 the Baltimore and Potomac railroad opened crossing the A&E RR lines in Odenton. The Washington, Baltimore, and Annapolis electric line also crossed the A&E RR at Academy Junction, which became the major transfer point for passengers travelling to and from Annapolis. The attached picture shows Academy Junction looking south down Piney Orchard parkway. You can see the passenger pavilion and the crossing of the different rail lines. The A&E runs horizontal across the picture. The train in the picture is from the WB&A electric railroad.
You have to take Route 50 out of your mind when thinking about Maryland transportation in the 19th and early 20th centuries. To travel from Washington to Annapolis, a passenger would take the B&P to Odenton and transfer to the A&E. Academy Junction taking its name as the transfer point to reach the Naval Academy. President Lincoln passed through Odenton in 1865 on his way to Annapolis to board a ferry to Hampton, VA.
In your travels in the area you can see evidence of the A&E right of ways. The utility lines that follow Rt 32 past NSA and RT 178 through Crownsville; Maple and Holladay Roads through Gambrills; a hiker/biker trail along Poplar Avenue in Annapolis all are built on the A&E right of way.