Posts Tagged ‘Western Maryland Railroad’

Western Maryland Two for Tuesday

March 30, 2021

Here are two Western Maryland geeps although neither is an original WM Geep but was transferred to tthe WM by the Chessie System.

In the top image No. 5972 and caboose C-2851 are in front of the freight house in Massillon on July 1, 1981. The bottom image shows No. 5971 in New Castle, Pennsylvania, on April 16, 1977.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Almost Everything

March 27, 2020

There’s quite a variety of Chessie System heritage motive power in this image made on Sept. 20, 1980, in Cumberland, Maryland.

There are units of the Baltimore & Ohio and Western Maryland along with a locomotive wearing Chessie colors and markings.

Paul Woodring was with me on the day that I made this image of this four-unit lash up.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Some ‘Wild Mary’ in Brewster

February 12, 2020

Sometimes you find a badly damaged negative that tells a story. Thankfully with hard work a decent image appears.

It is Dec. 23, 1972, in Brewster, Ohio. I am at Baymere Road SW looking west towards the Norfolk & Westerm yard. A five-unit motive power consist led by Western Maryland Geeps and F-units will leave soon.

Back then this was not an unusual sight. This is the past even some locals have never seen.

Today this crossing is owned by the Wheeling & Lake Erie, has one set of tracks, and has no trains pulled by five Western Maryland locomotives.

The W&LE is a great railroad with a multitude of locomotives in different paint schemes, but once in a while I photographically have to visit the past to start my memories about “back then” flowing.

By this date the WM was part of Chessie System, so these were Chessie locomotives still in their WM paint.

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas

Thief Steals Parts for C&O 1309

February 14, 2018

Restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309 suffered another setback when thieves stole parts for the 2-6-6-2 locomotive from the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. Also taken were parts for passenger cars.

WMSR Executive Director John Garner said he learned of the theft when local salvage yards reported receiving locomotive and passenger car parts.

Police believe the thefts were made by a former shop employee, but no charges have yet been filed.

“These irreplaceable artifacts are property that was entrusted to our care for preservation and for the education and enjoyment of the public,” Garner said in a statement. “Employees with access to the Western Maryland Scenic’s collection of railroad equipment and parts are trusted guardians who must not abuse their positions for personal gain.”

Among the stolen items were rare light fixtures and brass hardware from Western Maryland Railroad office car 204, bronze bearings and wear plates from No. 1309, and miscellaneous locomotive and passenger car parts.

Garner said the person suspected of the theft “had access to a wide array of WMSR’s collection of parts and artifacts,”

He said the tourist railroad will review its security and storage procedures and make changes.

Garner expects criminal charges in connection with the theft to to be filed in West Virginia in the coming days.

As for the restoration of No. 1309, Garner said it continues to move forward as funding becomes available.

A direct mail campaign netted $30,000 that will be used to pay for work to the drivers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that will be performed under the direction of Gary Bensman’s Diversified Rail Services using specialized steam locomotive wheel machines located at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s Soule Shop.

WMSR Give 1309 Restoration Update

October 3, 2017

Work continues to restore former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309, with the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad having spent $2.3 million on the restoration thus far.

WMSR head John Garner told Trains magazine that the locomotive’s boiler vessel is 90 percent complete, the tender is 90 percent, the brake and spring rigging are 80 percent done, the grates and ash pan are 30 percent complete, the running gear is 20 percent complete, the cab floor and locomotive cab are 20 percent done, and super heaters and smoke box are 10 percent complete.

Workers still must re-wheel the engine, fabricate the locomotive’s air brake system, install the boiler and jacketing, test-fire the boiler, and paint and assemble the locomotive.

“It’s going to be a group effort to finish the project,” Garner said. No date for finishing the work has been set.

Funding for the restoration is now largely coming from a Maryland grant of $400,000. Much of the work is being done through Diversified Rail Services.

Garner said the grant money requires WMSR to fund various parts of the project with its own money.

In a related development, WMSR has repainted its EMD GP30 No. 501 in Western Maryland’s red, white, and black “circus scheme.”

The tourist railroad believes the unit is the only Western Maryland-painted locomotive to wear the livery on a tourist railroad.

No. 501 pulls WMSR trains between Cumberland and Frostburg, Maryland.

The locomotive along with some restored freight cars painted in WM markings, including a caboose, will be used during photo events planned for Nov. 3 to 5.

These include a Friday night photo session with No. 1309, a Saturday day trip with No. 501’s freight consist, and a Sunday morning breakfast and networking opportunity with railroad staff and steam experts.

Proceeds benefit the restoration of No. 1309. Garner said the November event is limited to the first 20 participants and those who are interested are encouraged to call the railroad’s offices.

Before Fallen Flags, Loco Builders Had Fallen

October 18, 2016

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In the late 1960s a railfan in Northeast Ohio daily encountered what to us are now fallen flag railroads and fallen flag builders.

In the top image, Brewster, Ohio was “little Hagerstown” for several years because so many Western Maryland locomotives could be found there.

Up to 10 WM locomotives could be seen there on a given day. Here WM Nos. 3579 and 3578 occupy a service track in the late 1960s.

At the beginning of Penn Central, ex-New York Central Baldwin road switchers were common in the Canton-Massillon area.

In an early Penn Central view, NYC No. 8067 works the ex-Pennsylvania Railroad yard in Massillon north of MACE tower whose roof can be seen above the second gondola.

Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas

Another Landslide Hits WMSR

July 29, 2016

Another landslide has hit the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, making it all but certain that the tourist railroad won’t be running to Frostburg, Maryland, until sometime in 2017.

Western Maryland ScenicAn earlier landslide last March near milepost 179 had severed the line, but officials had predicted that damage from that incident would be repaired in time for a return to Frostburg by the middle of September.

The latest landslide occurred 10 miles from Cumberland near milepost 175 and is unrelated to the earlier landslide.

WMSR General Superintendent John Garner told Trains magazine that a geology firm detected movement in a hillside adjacent to tracks about two miles away from the location of the March landslide.

Garner said the location, known as Woodcock Hollow in Mt. Savage, has been a problem spot for years with the original Western Maryland having to stabilize the hillside from falling rock and other debris.

Movement on the hillside was only detected recently when soil and rock-like material moved down and outward about an inch as a result of heavy rainfall.

For now, WMSR trains are operating from Cumberland to Maryland Junction in West Virginia and back into Maryland as far west as Milepost 174.

Locomotives are being placed on both ends of the train and passengers will travel on a 24-mile roundtrip excursion.

Garner told Trains that ridership is up by around 1,000 passengers this season.

Landslide Cuts WMSR Route to Frostburg

March 2, 2016

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad passengers will be making a shorter journey after a landslide severed the tracks between switch No. 9 and Frostburg, Maryland.

Officials said that track damage will prevent WMSR trains from reaching Frostburg for more than half of the 2016 season.

Western Maryland ScenicInspectors found the landslide damage during a routine track inspection. Land below the right of way has slipped an estimated 2 to 4 feet.

Maryland Bureau of Mines staff recently visited the site of the landslide are expected to take up to 45 days conducting field tests.

It remains to be seen who will pay for the track repairs. WMSR General Superintendent John Garner said if the railroad has to fund the repairs they will not likely be made this year and service to Frostburg would remain suspended.

If the state bureau of mines determines that a mine caused the landslide, then it would be able to fund emergency repairs. In a best cast scenario, service to Frostburg would not resume until July.

Garner said that for now the railroad will renovate switch No. 9 to create a runaround siding. It also hopes to create a small picnic-type area next to the siding.