Ellicott City Makes Headlines for Both Good and Bad News

A train derailment, plus kudos for its quality of life, make contrasting news for the Maryland suburb.

By: Carol Ross Joynt

The charming and rustic Ellicott City, Maryland, made the news today for both positive and calamitous reasons. The tragedy was the deadly derailment of a CSX freight train in the heart of the historic area, where overturned cars spilled coal and crushed automobiles in a public parking lot. The scene was described as “chaos.” Two individuals, who police said were on the tracks when the derailment happened, were killed.

Maybe, then, this good news will comfort Ellicott City residents: Their town ranked high on a list of the 100 best small cities in the US. Money magazine ranked Ellicott City, and nearby Columbia, eighth. They are not alone among local towns that got good marks. The others included Reston, Virginia (7); Centreville, Virginia (17); Waldorf, Maryland (20), Gaithersburg, Maryland (23) Germantown, Maryland (24); and Ashburn, Virginia (30). No area small cities made the second 50, though Arlington and Dale City, Virginia, were numbers 45 and 46, respectively.

Ellicott City was founded in 1772. It makes a big deal out of its connection to the railroad. One of its popular tourist attractions is the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, described as the oldest passenger train station in the US.

According to Money, the towns on the list represent what “American families care about most,” including good jobs, schools, and health care, and low crime rates. The small city that came in first was Carmel, Indiana.