B&O rushed the Philadelphia Branch into operation before it could
complete the Baltimore Belt Line, a rail connection to/from the rest of
the railroad in downtown Baltimore. Consequently from roughly 1885 to 1895,
B&O instead floated railcars across Baltimore Harbor. At that time
the Philadelphia Branch began in the Canton area (lower left of this
aerial), then tracked generally north to Bayview (or, Bay View as it
was spelled), then northeast to Philadelphia.
When the Belt Line was finished and connected from the west into Bayview,
B&O repurposed the track between Canton and Bayview into the Sparrows
Point Branch, the subject of a separate tour at this site.