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Western Maryland Scenic Operates First Charter with WMSR 2-6-6-2 No. 1309

Western Maryland Scenic Railway 2-6-6-2 no. 1309 approaches a private crossing on John Helmstetter’s farm in La Vale, Md., on Sunday morning. For decades, John graciously allowed photo charters access to his property to record scenes such as this. —Jim Kleeman photo

Western Maryland Scenic Operates First Charter with WMSR 2-6-6-2 No. 1309

May 2022By Alex Mayes/photos as noted

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad operated its first photo charter with newly restored former-Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 during the weekend of February 25–27, 2022. This charter was sponsored by Trains Magazine, whose staff did an outstanding job planning and running the event. Clear skies and cool weather prevailed for most of the three-day photo shoot, which provided great photo ops for the 100 registered photographers.

On Friday, the first day of the three-day event, an evening passenger special pulled by 1309, took guests from Cumberland to Frostburg and return. A buffet dinner was served in the two dining cars in the consist of the passenger special. The 1309 pulled a “photo freight” of vintage freight cars between Cumberland and Frostburg, Md., the following two days.

Western Maryland 1309

ABOVE: Sunday’s third runby was held at a location known as Coal Tipple, although there was no such facility to be seen here. Bright sun and a well-chosen location provided additional outstanding photos. Two weeks before this charter, volunteers spent hours here clearing out brush and small trees to provide a wide open space for 100 photographers. —Alex Mayes photo

Photo run-bys were held at several well-chosen locations on former Western Maryland Railway and Cumberland & Pennsylvania Railroad lines. Many volunteers spent days clearing out brush and small trees at the photo locations weeks before the charter to provide ample room for the 100 photographers, who were transported to the photo locations aboard a separate train comprised of half-length dome Stampede Pass, two coaches, two diners, and a kitchen car.

Two former Western Maryland Railway diesels powered this train in pull-pull fashion, with SD40 7471 on the west end and SD35 7436 on the east end. The weekend was the first time since the 1950s that an articulated steam engine pulling freight cars operated over the Western Maryland Railway…

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This article was posted on: April 20, 2022