Friday, July 13, 2018

1309 Update: Machining and Fabrication Proceeds as #1309’s Reassembly Rolls Forward

Ridgeley, West Virginia, July 13, 2018: 

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and Diversified Rail Services are very proud to share their continuing progress in the overhaul of Western Maryland 2-6-6-2 #1309.  With the FRA hydro completed the momentum is building towards a test fire of her massive boiler. The checklist of appliances and parts, including boiler fittings and key portions of the stoker/firing equipment, becomes shorter each week. Clean up and replacement of boiler brackets continues. Over the Independence Day holidays the locomotive was jacked up to allow for removal of the trailing truck. The trailing axle has been sent for tread and journal trueing prior to reinstallation in the truck frame. The frame itself has been inspected and needed repairs attended to. As mentioned in our previous release the cab floor, stoker elevator tube and grate shaker levers are installed. With these components aboard the locomotive attention turned to the fabrication of 1309’s all-new welded ash pan. Utilizing the original as a template the new pan has been completed using .25” steel and joined to the original hopper bottom casting. Installation of the smoke box draft appliances has commenced and replacement grate parts are being cast.
Previously we had suggested clever donation opportunities using locomotive numbers…so we will add another number for this release: Casting of new grate parts - $3985, or individual grate fingers for $39.85!
We say an enthusiastic, “Thank you,” for your sincere compliments and generous financial support. Thanks for helping us rebuild the past for your enjoyment in the future.

Friday, June 22, 2018

1309 Update: Super Heaters And Appliance Installation Gains Momentum

“Western Maryland #1309 – Only the GOOD news here!”
#1309 Rolls Forward As Super Heaters And Appliance Installation Gains Momentum
Ridgeley, West Virginia, June 22, 2018: 
Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and Diversified Rail Services are very proud to announce additional progress in the ongoing overhaul of Western Maryland 2-6-6-2 #1309.  Since the successful hydro has been completed an impressive checklist of appliances and parts have been reinstalled.
  • The top row of Type-A super heaters has been installed. There are a total of 36.
  • The cab floor, stoker elevator tube and grate shaker levers are installed.
  • The grate structure and ash pan are attached.
  • Steam and water pipes for the injectors are being fit up.
  • Steam lines for the blower and air pumps have been attached.
  • Grinding and cleaning up washout seats
With many specific needs in the pipeline, a creative solution to contribute to our progress is as follows:
$4,014 – Arch Brick and Stoker Screw Repairs
$4,449 – Boiler and Pipe Lagging
$4,501 – Steam and Water Pipes for Injectors
$4,960 – Boiler Jacketing

“Thank you,” to all concerned for your generous financial support. “Thank you,”  for your continued vision to see this project come to fruition. “Thank you,” for the many compliments on our completed progress thus far.

Special thanks to Diversified Rail Services, Gary Bensman and April Bush of Red Caboose Photography!

Friday, June 8, 2018

1309 Update: FRA Hydro Test & Inspection PASSED

More information:

Monday, May 14, 2018

Garner's Switch - Railroad Update


Some of our faithful followers have been requesting an update on our railroad. I do my best to answer each inquiry on a personal level as time permits. One request that came in this week was for an update on the WM 1309. 

Before I answer that request, I wanted to share a general update on operations as a whole. This year, WMSR will celebrate it’s 30th year of operations. WMSR started with the Allegany Central Railroad as a contractor utilizing Pacific-style locomotives of Canadian Heritage. Coaches used were ex-DLW commuter cars and other various historic passenger equipment. Jack Showalter’s vision of using ex-Western Maryland Main-line trackage as a heritage railroad became the foundation of what we offer: quality family heritage rail experiences. We have enhanced these experiences over the last 2 years by creating family-themed weekends for our day-time excursions and creating a more cozy experience for couples on the evening excursions. ( As I pen this, our staff is setting up the train for a sold-out Wine Tasting Train!) Our railroad offers something for everyone. Our food is prepped and cooked on board our moving train - something that Amtrak has recently stopped doing on many of their routes. Our food is based on historic recipes from America’s heritage railroad companies. In my humbled opinion, there is no better way to spend a Saturday night than on board our dinner train! It is more than just a train ride. For a schedule of events, check out our website: 

We spent last year repairing our heritage equipment. From sheet metal replacement to interior repairs to repainting the fleet into what livery the Western Maryland Railway used. Our WM 501 received much needed maintenance and a repaint in WMRy heritage colors of the red-black-white. We had a busy mechanical year!

In 2017, we acquired one of two remaining 40-foot WMRy Heritage Boxcars. WM 26634 arrived on property a few weeks ago. Our force, including volunteers, spent several days going over the boxcar replacing the brake systems and overall general maintenance. Our goal is to use this boxcar as our bicycle transport car for those that wish to ride the train up the mountain, and bike back. Look for details to come! (And, a special thank you to our volunteer forces!!)

This year, our main goal is railroad tie replacement and acquisition of track maintenance equipment. Currently, our track department performs the job by hand -  as our company does not have the appropriate and functioning track equipment. Our intent is to create a tie-replacement program for the entire line in anticipation of the WM 1309 Operations.  A railroad tie is a rectangular support for the rails in railroad tracks. They are often made of wood and their lifespan is 20 years.  

WMSR has many different facets that create the company. No one part is the company. The WM 1309 is one of the many facets that create the company. In late fall, WMSR’s contractor, “Diversified Rail Services,” ceased the restoration work as the funding for the project was depleted.  This situation was very depressing for all of us! We knew that we could take operational funds to continue the restoration process. WMSR requires a certain amount of monthly capital to survive. Therefore, WMSR could not wisely make a decision to utilize operational money for restoration. WMSR would not have survived the winter months. The project was paused. In November, our staff started a letter writing campaign to solicit for WM 1309 donations. (Special thanks to Trains Magazine for the support!) WMSR was able to acquire $30K over the months of November and December - with much gratitude to YOU, our supporters!

Since we were able to raise additional funding, we sent the driving wheels to Chattanooga to be serviced. It is a small step but the WM 1309 project is moving forward albeit - slowly. 

I am personally very thankful for those WMSR supporters that have donated to the restoration. It is the acts of kindness from people like YOU, that will complete the restoration process. I would graciously request that the donations continue to arrive in our mailbox for the Western Maryland 1309. Please consider donating today so that “Maryland Thunder,” WM 1309, will come to life and climb through the majestic mountains of beautiful Allegany County. 

See you on the platform, 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Number 9 Switch

This is the Number Nine location.  

We placed a switch in the main line to gain a complete 1700' passing siding at this location where once stood Consolidated Number Nine's mine complex, as well as the original "interchange" of the Cumberland and Pennsylvania with the Western Maryland Railway.  

We will hope to offer additional opportunities in 2018 that will feature this new passing track.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Number 9's Tucker Switch Installation (Video & Photos)

As we are getting ready for 1309 in 2018, we wanted to share with you one of the many projects we must do.

This week, WMSR Track Department and a couple of volunteers installed the Railroad East End of the Number 9 Switch.

The purpose of this work is to be able to get more trains into and out of Frostburg. With a passing siding installed, we will be able to pass trains to and from Frostburg (allowing our passengers to be able to enjoy the Frostburg layover longer, to enjoy different types of train service and to operate more efficiently).