Posts Tagged ‘WMSR No. 734’

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.

Steam Saturday: A Good WMSR Outing

December 19, 2020

Of all of the fall photo specials I’ve ridden on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, the sun and colors were top notch on the October 18, 1999, Carl Franz photo special.

The top image is the same angle on the Helmstetter’s farm we did earlier that year in June.

Photos two through five are the carefully sequences arranged at Brush Tunnel. Photos six through eight were made back at Helmstetter’s Curve in the afternoon.

In Photo eight, you can see the shadows of part of the photo line. Jeff Troutman and myself are two of those figures.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Steam Saturday: WMSR Memories

December 5, 2020

The inside of Helmstetter’s Curve on the Helmstetter’s farm.

Over the years from 1989 to 2010, I visited the Western Maryland Scenic Railway at least 10 times with family and friends.

On six of those trips I was on Carl Franz photo specials. The visits were a variety of spring, summer and fall events.

The weather conditions were a combination of great, fair and lousy. I will highlight the best in four installments.

This report is the June 6, 1999 special I attended with Dave McKay and Marty Surdyk. The second in a couple of weeks will be the Oct. 18, 1999, fall special I attended with Jeff Troutman. Early next year I’ll continue with the best of the rest, then finally my favorite night photography photos.

All of thse images were made in 16 miles between Cumberland and Frostburg, Maryland.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Out on the line at a location known by the photographers as the gravel pile.

Different angles on the outside of Helmstetter’s Curve.

At the station in Cumberland, Maryland.

Dave McKay and Marty Surdyk