Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Debuts World’s Largest Steam Locomotive
CUMBERLAND, MD - 25 Jan, 2017 - The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad (WMSR) has set an official roll out date for restored 2-6-6-2, number 1309. The locomotive will pull its first public revenue trains beginning July 1, 2017. The July 4th week will feature a variety of regular trains, special moves, celebratory events and railroad activities.
WMSR 1309 is a true Mallet steam locomotive. The locomotive uses steam twice in a 2-6-6-2 articulated compound arrangement. Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia built it for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in 1949 for use on coal branch rail lines in West Virginia. The C&O retired the locomotive after just seven years of use, and transferred it to the B&O Museum in 1972. When returned to service it will be the largest operating steam locomotive in the world.
The two-year rebuild will bring the locomotive back to “better than new” condition. The rehabilitated 1309 will feature an improved lubrication system, new tires and updated driving boxes, a 26L air brake system, improved electrical system and almost complete replacement of studs, pins and bushings, and other wearing parts. The boiler will feature almost 400 new staybolts and all new flues and tubes. The 1309 will have refurbished superheater units, new ashpan and hopper, completely rebuilt tender and FRA mandated upgrades. It will remain a classic American coal-fired locomotive.
WMSR anticipates making test and training runs in June, and offering a full schedule of regular runs beginning in July. Diversified Rail Services is working closely with WMSR to complete the locomotive’s restoration, with funding from the State of Maryland Capital Projects grant.
The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Development Corporation is a quasi-public entity chartered by the State of Maryland and Allegany County to preserve the region’s railroad heritage and offer classic railroad experiences along the former Western Maryland Railway mainline corridor between Cumberland and Frostburg, Maryland. It has been operating mainline steam and diesel excursions since 1991.