Posts Tagged ‘Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309’

C&O 1309 to Begin Revenue Service By December

August 30, 2021

Former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 is expected to debut in revenue service by mid December.

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad executive director Wesley Heinz said the tourist railroad is pushing as hard as it can to get the on the road and that it could debut sometime between now and Dec. 17.

The 1309 is expected to pull some Polar Express excursions in December.

Although most restoration work of the last Baldwin built for domestic rail operation remains to be done, some work remains to be completed.

The WMSR began operations on Aug. 26 after completing track rehabilitation that had been ordered by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Testing of C&O 1309 Expected Soon

July 17, 2021

The former dome car Ocean View is how operating on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

Testing of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 is expected to begin soon at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad

The last Baldwin steam engine built for domestic use needed new firebrick for its firebox before testing can begin. Delivery of the firebrick has been delayed due to supply and labor shortages.

In the meantime, the WMSR has begun using in revenue service a full-length dome car built in 1955 for the Great Northern.

The Ocean View was Amtrak’s last dome car. The passenger carrier retired the car in 2019. It began operating on WMSR trains Cumberland and Frostburg earlier this month.

The car has been repainted into the red and while “circus” colors of the Western Maryland.

Also operating on the WMSR are an open-air car and privately owned cars Pacific Trail and Overland Trail.

Ocean View was purchased and renovated by a partnership between Rail Excursion Management and PAXRAIL.

It is believed to be the first dome car to use WM rails other than one or two documented detours of Baltimore & Ohio passenger trains..

Rebuilding WMSR 734 Seen as Years Away

April 24, 2021

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad said it plans to stabilize and evaluate its 2-8-0 steam locomotive No. 734, but has no plans to resume operations with it.

 “Our new mechanical team has found accounts and inspection forms that indicate the locomotive was performing well below peak efficiency during her final years in service,” officials said.

“The locomotive was often pushed far beyond its normal operating capabilities, which has resulted in extreme wear and tear of many key components, particularly the running gear.”

WMSR forces have in the past couple years been focused largely on restoring former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309, which was steamed up earlier this year and is expected to begin revenue service this summer.

No. 734 is a “Consolidation” type built by Baldwin in 1916 for the Lake Superior & Ishpeming as No. 18 and later had roster number 34.

It was retired by the LS&I in the early 1960s and ran on another tourist railroad and sat on static display at Illinois Railway Museum.

WMSR restored the 734 in the early 1990s and it was featured in many photo charters over the years. The locomotive last operated in 2016.

WMSR officials said the 734 is in extremely worn mechanical condition and will need a lengthy and expensive overhaul.

“If undertaken, it would also mean a significant investment in a locomotive that no longer meets the daily needs of the railroad, though this does not remove the possibility of 734 operating on the lighter, off-season trains and as stand-by power for 1309,” officials said.

The officials said the WMSR cannot commit to rebuilding the 734 until it determine the cost and scope of the needed work.

They indicated that review would not be completed until after the 2021 operating season and is likely to require a fundraising campaign.

Nonetheless WMSR officials expect that it will be a few years before overhaul work on the 734 begins in earnest.

The railroad plans to resume operations on May 29 after being shut down since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

C&O 1309 Operates Under Own Power

January 4, 2021

Former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 moved on Dec. 31 under its own power on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

It was the first time the Mallet-type locomotive had done that in 64 years.

WMSR officials told Trains magazine that the 1309 is expected to regularly operate on the 17-mile tourist railroad but did not give a date for when it will begin revenue service.

Test runs of the locomotive will be made in the meantime.

Restoration of the locomotive has taken much longer and cost far more than expected. It has been a six-year process that has cost $3.5 million.

The 1309 was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1949 and was its last domestic steam locomotive product.

Once it begins regular service the 1309 will be the only articulated rod engine operating in the eastern United States and the region’s largest active steam engine.

C&O 1309 Restoration Gets Another Emery Grant

July 23, 2020

The restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 got a boost this week with a grant from the Emery Rail Heritage Trust.

The foundation has awarded $50,000 to the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to help the tourist railroad complete the restoration of the 1949 Baldwin-built locomotive.

WMSR officials have said they need $150,000 to complete the restoration of No. 1309 to operating condition.

The project is expected to have cost $3.2 million once completed.

Workers are currently completing work on the the running gear, back head piping, stoker, and other tasks needed to enable 1309 to become the world’s largest operating Mallet type locomotive.

The Emery grant was unusual in that the organization normally only makes awards in the spring. It is the third grant for 1309 restoration made by the Trust.

Previous grants included $40,000 in 2019 and $10,000 earlier this year.

Work Resumes on C&O 1309 Restoration

May 14, 2020

Workers have resumed restoration work on former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309.

Trains magazine reported this week that contractor Diversified Rail Services began preparation work for setting the locomotive’s boiler onto two sets of drivers.

That work is expected to be completed in June by a crane company.

The restoration is being done in Ridgeley, West Virginia, at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

Restoration of the 1309 has proceeded in fits and starts, hindered by lack of funding.

Work halted last summer after the campaign exhausted its money.

Since then a fund-raising drive led in part by Trains has raised more than $100,000.

Officials say the restoration project is more than 85 percent complete mechanically.

Another $100,000 is needed to fund construction of water, coal and ash removal facilities.

Thus far the restoration has cost $2.8 million.

Once it enters revenue service, No. 1309 will be the only articulated steam locomotive in regular operation in the Eastern United States and the world’s largest operating compound Mallet.

Trust Awards Grant for C&O 1309 Restoration

March 26, 2020

The John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust has awarded a $10,000 grant for the restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309.

The grant will be used to pay to have two heavy duty cranes set the boiler of the locomotive on its wheels.

The grant is the second awarded by the trust for restoration work on the 1309, which is being undertaken by the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

A grant awarded last year was used to purchase jacketing and insulation.

The crane lift is expected to occur in the next quarter of this year although that will hinge on any restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wheel Work Progress Reported on C&O 1309

March 24, 2020

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad is eyeing a finish of wheel work in the restoration of former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309.

It has purchased 12 driving boxes for the locomotive and had on hand 11 journal driver boxes in place on the axles.

It was missing the final driver boxes but was able to purchase it due to an influx of donations that were in part prompted by a fundraising effort led by Trains magazine.

“We have paid other expenses on the locomotive from previous work performed totaling $20,000,” said WMSR Executive Director John Garner. “Balancing the account, we have $18,500 to advance the locomotive restoration to the next phase.”

The project now needs $28,000 to do more wheel work, which includes $16,500 for labor services and $11,500 for two cranes to lift the locomotive.

Garner said if donations continue to come in the 1309 wheel work could be completed by June.

Funding Progress Continues for C&O 1309

March 6, 2020

The fundraising campaign to earn the final dollars needed to complete restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 is nearing $60,000 of its stated $100,000 goal.

The campaign, which is being promoted by Trains magazine, has picked up donations in varying amounts ranging from $5 to $25,000.

The magazine reported this week that funds raised thus far have enabled the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to acquire parts to replace those stolen from the project by a former employee who sold them.

The stolen parts included 12 drive-wheel journal boxes.

Railroad officials have said that restoration of the 1309 to operating condition is 85 percent complete and $390,000 is needed to finish the work.

Donations can be sent to Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, 13 Canal Street, Cumberland, MD 21502, or made online at

The former employee who stole parts from the 1309 restoration effort pleaded guilty in January to one count of grand larceny in a West Virginia court.

He was sentenced to one to 10 years I prison, which was suspended. He also received 30 days of active incarceration with work release and must make restitution in the sum of $251,000 and provide 100 hours of community service.

However, Trains reported that it is unlikely the WMSR will receive any money from the person.

The theft of the parts cost the restoration time, but restoration efforts have also been hindered by lack of funding. Thus far the restoration has cost $2.8 million.

C&O 1390 Fund Raising Gets Promising Start

February 29, 2020

The campaign to raise nearly $400,000 to finish the restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 has gotten off to a promising start.

In the past month $41,000 — including one donation of $25,000 — has been pledged the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad reported.

WMSR say restoration of the locomotive to operating condition is 85 percent complete and $390,000 is needed to complete the project. The tourist railroad already had about $100,000 on hand when the latest fund-raising push began.

Thus far $2.8 million has been spent on the restoration project.

Officials say once the needed funding is in hand, it will be about six months, including a break-in period, before the 1309 is ready to enter revenue service.

The WMSR operates on 17 miles of former Western Maryland track in a mountainous region of Maryland and West Virginia.