Posts Tagged ‘Western Maryland Scenic Railroad’

Trains to Sponsor C&O 1309 Charter

March 17, 2017

Trains magazine and the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad will offer a photo charter for Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309 in late September.

The restored locomotive will pull a freight train with 14 to 18 cars on Sept. 26 to 28, stopping at several locations on the 17-mile railroad.

Among the photo locations will be Helmstetter’s Curve. No. 1309, which was built in 1949, will wear its C&O markings and at times have Western Maryland lettering.

The event will also include a night photo shoot, cab access, and an audio-visual program detailing the restoration of the locomotive.

Tickets are $495 apiece and only 80 will be sold.  Tickets may be purchased at 800-TRAIN-50 or at wmsr.com.

WMSR Returns to Frostburg on May 6

March 10, 2017

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad said its first trip to Fostburg, Maryland, in nine months will run on May 6.

The railroad’s general manager, John Garner, said a retaining wall has been built at the sites where landslides last year severed the route.

Garner said railroad personnel will spend the next nine weeks inspecting the track that has been out of service. They will clear brush and make any needed repairs to the track.

With trains unable to operate to Frostburg in 2016, ridership fell by about 10,000.

Another factor in the decline of patronage was that Western Maryland Scenic 2-8-0 No. 734 was removed from service last April for a 1,472-day inspection.

WMSR Repairs Track Damaged by Landslide

March 9, 2017

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad has repaired its tracks at the site of a landslide that kept the railroad from reaching Frostburg, Maryland.

The landslide was found in July 2016 at Woodcock Hollow, about 10 miles from Cumberland, Maryland. Another landslide had occurred near there in February 2016.

The landslides resulted in trains operating only as far as a siding at milepost 174.

Repairing the tracks cost right of way owner Allegany County, Maryland, $1.5 million, some of which was reimbursed by federal funds.

C&O 1309 Tickets Sales Have Been Strong

January 28, 2017

Tickets sales for excursions behind the restored Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309 have been good enough to prompt the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to add trips to accommodate more passengers.

Western Maryland ScenicThe additional trips behind the 2-6-6-2 Mallet will be run in the latter half of 2017.

“At the moment, we’re selling about $2,000 worth of tickets per day. Once word more generally gets out, it will rise steadily,” project manager John Hankey told Trains magazine.

The 1309 has been in restoration since the WMSR purchased it in June 2014 from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.

The WMRS is aiming at a July 1 inaugural run for the locomotive. Hankey said the Federal Railroad Administration is expected to complete a boiler inspection soon and a hydrostatic test could be undertaken by the end of February.

Flues, tubes and applicances must still be attached and Hankey expects trial runs under steam to be conducted in May.

C&O 1309 Inaugural Run Set for July 1

January 13, 2017

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad has hired a locomotive restoration company to help it with the rebuilding of Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309.

Western Maryland ScenicWMSR President Mike Brant said bringing in Diversified Rail Services of Rossville, Georgia, will enable the shops to complete rebuilding the 2-6-6-2 by Memorial Day.

Project manager John Hankey said workers are set to begin installing staybolts and will begin placing the flues back in place in early March.

After that the locomotive will undergo a hydrostatic test and receive its boiler lagging and jacket.

The inaugural run of the 1309 has been set for July 1 and tickets are on sale for that.

Brant said the WMSR’s small shop force could not have completed the 1309 restoration in the time frame the railroad wanted without some help.

Aside from rebuilding the 1309, the WMSR shops will also be rebuilding its passenger car fleet with the help of a $250,000 grant from the state of Maryland.

WMSR Shop Tour Set for Nov. 20

November 12, 2016

A tour of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad shops is being offered on Nov. 20 and will feature at look at Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309, which is being restored there to operating condition.

Western Maryland ScenicThe five-hour tour is being sponsored by the Washington Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and will be led by John Hankey, the tourist railroad’s curator.

Hankey has been involved with WMS since its founding 30 years ago.

Aside from viewing C&O H-6 Mallet class 2-6-6-2 No. 1309, tour participants will inspect the WMSR locomotive fleet, have lunch, and take a short “rare mileage” trip to the former Western Maryland wye and yard at Maryland Junction.

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.

WMSR Won’t Return to Frostburg Until 2017

July 28, 2016

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad has hit a snag in its efforts to resume operations to Frostburg, Maryland.

Western Maryland ScenicContinuing issues with subgrade soil beneath its right of way means that the railroad will not be able to meet its Aug. 1 goal of resuming service to Frostburg.

Officials now say it is likely to be sometime in 2017 before the track is restored and suitable for passenger train operations.

A washout earlier this year that was due to waste mining soil problems closed the line to Frostburg.

The state of Maryland is funding rebuilding of the track, but workers have yet to stabilize the soil to enable the railroad to install new track.

In the meantime, WMSR trains are traveling between Cumberland and Woodcock Hollow.

Western Maryland Scenic Expects to Resume Operating to Frostburg by Middle of September

July 21, 2016

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad expects to resume service to Frostburg, Maryland, by the end of the summer.

Workers have been repairing track damage caused by a landslide last March that severed the route.

Western Maryland ScenicWMSR General Superintendent John Garner told Trains magazine that rail service to Frostburg could be restored by the middle of September.

The landslide was caused by an abandoned mine and workers had to remove coal and debris to improve drainage and to stabilize the site.

Some low-sulfur coal was recovered from the site and will be blended and shipped to coal-fired power generating stations.

The mine had been closed for more than 50 years. Underground water filled the mine, which caused the WMSR right-of-way to move an estimated 2 to 4 feet.

Garner said ridership on WMSR trains has been about 1,000 below what it was at this time last year.

The landslide occurred about two miles from Frostburg. The repairs are being paid for by the Maryland Bureau of Mines.

C&O 1309 Restoration Reported as Going Well

June 14, 2016

Although they haven’t said when it will operate, Western Maryland Scenic Railroad officials said that restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 is progressing well.

Western Maryland ScenicWestern Maryland Scenic Railroad Superintendent John Garner told Trains magazine that significant progress occurred with the purchase of stay bolts – which hold a boiler in place – and other needed supplies.

The WMS has received a $400,000 grant from the state of Maryland to be used in the restoration work and has launched a GoFundMe page seeking approximately $260,000 in additional money to restore the 1309 to operating condition.

This includes paying employees and experts to finish the restoration work.