The Western Maryland Railway, The Fast Freight Line

While the Western Maryland Railway, affectionately known as the Wild Mary, was never a large carrier it was nevertheless a legendary line.  Condensed in a network of just 700+ miles one could witness time freights, slow coal drags, backwoods locals, and even Shay geared locomotives!  The railroad was built through rough, but gorgeous, topography with a main line featuring numerous tunnels and bridges.  While aspects of the system were difficult to operate (such as Black Fork Grade) the WM offered some of the most fantastic photography opportunities one could ever hope or wish for as it navigated through central/eastern West Virginia, parts of Maryland, and southwestern Pennsylvania.   The railroad utilized brawny 4-8-4's and even magnificent 4-6-6-4's, both of which were largely banned from the tight curves through the Mountain States.  To put it bluntly, what a fantastic scenic railroad the entire WM main line would have made if it were all still intact today. Its territory would easily rival anything offered from other famous tourist lines such as Strasburg, the Durango & Silverton Narrow-Gauge, and Grand Canyon Railway.

The state of Maryland carried a forward-thinking approach to the newfangled railroad.  It was quick to adopt the recently developed technology, an English invention, by chartering the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in February of 1827 our country's first common-carrier.  The B&O was established to help sustain the city of Baltimore as an important eastern port in the face of newly-built canals linking cities such as Philadelphia and New York.  By the time the Western Maryland's earliest predecessor, the Baltimore, Carroll & Frederick Rail Road Company, was chartered by the Maryland General Assembly on May 27, 1852 the B&O was finishing its charter to Wheeling, Virginia along the banks of the Ohio River.  The road quickly proved its worth and the BC&F was to provide the city with another transportation artery for agricultural, mining, and quarry purposes.  According to the book, "The Western Maryland Railway: Fireballs And Black Diamonds" by Roger Cook and Karl Zimmermann, the road's planners initially envisioned it connecting Baltimore with the Monocacy River near Virginia's Eastern Panhandle.

It was not long before promoters decided upon a name change to better reflect the company's intentions.  On March 21, 1853 it became the Western Maryland Rail Road Company with construction officially launched from Baltimore on July 11, 1857.  This initial section utilized a segment of a former Baltimore & Susquehanna branch completed in 1832 between Relay House and Owings Mills.  It was acquired by the WM in 1857 and opened for service on August 11, 1859 (by October of 1873 the WM opened its own line into downtown Baltimore at Fulton Station). By the end of the year rails were pushed a bit further to the northwest at Reisterstown but stalled beyond that point as money ran out.  With financial backing from the city rails reached Union Bridge during November of 1862 when the project was again halted due to the Civil War.  Things finally picked up again in 1868 and the line was opened to Hagerstown in August of 1872.  A year later, during the fall of 1873, a connection was opened at Williamsport with the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal while interchanges commenced at Hagerstown in 1884 with the B&O and Shenandoah Valley Railroad (a later Norfolk & Western property).

During 1874 John Mifflin Hood was elected president of the WM.  He transformed the railroad into an important regional line and oversaw its largest growth until the Gould interests acquired control at the turn of the century.  His first expansion occurred in October of 1881 when he leased 33.6 miles of the Baltimore & Cumberland Valley Rail Railroad between Edgemont, Maryland and Shippensburg, Pennsylvania via Chambersburg and Waynesboro.  This line proved a vital component of the later "Alphabet Route" high-speed freight corridor when the railroad completed a short branch at Shippensburg to the Harrisburg & Potomac, a future part of the Reading Company. The flurry of acquisitions during the 1880s continued as the WM acquired the Baltimore & Hanover and Gettysburg Rail Road systems in late 1886.  These two lines offered connections to Gettysburg and Hanover via Emory Grove.  The WM consolidated the properties into the Baltimore & Harrisburg Railway that same year and completed extensions to the west at Highfield, Maryland in June of 1889 and northeasterly to York, Pennsylvania in 1893 (the latter would provide interchanges with the Pennsylvania Railroad and short line Maryland & Pennsylvania).  This the line, the later Hanover Subdivision, was most often referred to by the railroad as the "Dutch Line."

Western Maryland's Passenger Services

The Western Maryland maintained only modest passenger services and never bothered with the idea of streamlining.  It did operate a few high-class accommodations for a handful of years following the opening of the Connellsville Extension.  In 1913 it entered into a contract with Pullman to operate sleepers as part of the westbound Chicago Limited (Baltimore - Chicago, Train #3) and eastbound Baltimore Limited (Chicago - Baltimore, Train #2), which terminated at Hillen Station in Baltimore the WM's terminal since 1876.  In addition to sleepers these trains ran with parlors, diners, and club cars.  Their immediate subordinates in this territory was the less flashy Western Express (Train #7) and Eastern Express (Train #8).  All of these trains were operated in conjunction with the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie (Connellsville - Youngstown), Erie (Youngstown - Cleveland), and New York Central (Cleveland - Chicago).  The Limiteds' running times were quite competitive in this territory at 21 1/2 to 22 1/2 hours but survived until only 1917 after which time the WM maintained coaches-only service.  

Nearly all of its main line services were provided by its fleet Pacifics, either ten K-1's built in 1909 by Baldwin (#151-160) or the nine more powerful K-2's (#201-209) that arrived in 1912.  All 4-6-2's operated between Baltimore - Connellsville and Baltimore - Elkins.  At one time they even operated over the Durbin Branch to the C&O interchange handling a single wooden coach and combine.  However, in later years a beefy little H-7b or H-8 Consolidation normally handled this work as a mixed train to offset the losses.  Interestingly, this mixed train survived the longest on the entire railroad; it was finally retired on April 10, 1959 signalling an end to all passenger service on the WM.  The company spent most of that decade shedding these money-losing operations.  For just a few years its trains ran with diesels; between May of 1953 and September of 1954 it acquired four RS3's from Alco equipped with steam-generators (#192-194 and #197).  They featured an odd, high-short hood (for a steam generator and dynamic brakes) which contrasted their much lower long-hood earning them the nickname as "Hammerheads."  Despite the WM's 1959 cessation of services it continued running or hosting excursions through the Chessie System era of the 1970s; big steam like Nickel Plate Road 2-8--4 #759 and Reading #2102 regularly plied its rails in addition to WM's own power such as F7's, FA-2's and even Geeps.

Baltimore-Elkins Day Express: (Baltimore - Cumberland - Elkins)

Elkins-Baltimore Day Express: (Elkins - Cumberland - Baltimore)

Baltimore-Hagerstown Express: (Baltimore - Hagerstown)

Hagerstown-Baltimore Express: (Hagerstown - Baltimore)

Baltimore-Pittsburgh Express: (Baltimore - Connellsville - Pittsburgh)

Pittsburgh-Baltimore Express: (Pittsburgh - Connellsville - Baltimore)

West Virginia Express: (Baltimore - Cumberland - Elkins)

Blue Mountain Express (Resort Special): (Baltimore - Blue Mountain House/Pen Mar, Maryland)

Blue Mountain (Resort Special): (Baltimore - Blue Mountain House/Pen Mar, Maryland)

Buena Vista (Resort Special): (Baltimore - Blue Mountain House/Pen Mar, Maryland)

Pen-Mar Express (Resort Special): (Baltimore - Blue Mountain House/Pen Mar, Maryland)

During the 1890s the WM completed the first link in its future high-speed, Alphabet Route corridor.  First, in 1892 it opened the 14-mile Potomac Valley Rail Road between Williamsport and Big Pool, Maryland, crossing the Potomac River there to complete a connection with the B&O main line at Cherry Run, West Virginia. Second, in the WM collaborated with the Philadelphia & Reading (Reading) to complete a connection between Hagerstown and Quinsona, Pennsylvania.  It was built as the Washington & Franklin Railway, opening direct service in March of 1899 between Hagerstown and Shippensburg.  The link allowed freight to flow from Midwestern points along the B&O to the Northeast via P&R rails.  During late February of 1902 Hood gave up his post, a turn of events that signaled an entirely new direction for the WM beyond a new president.  The city of Baltimore had been funding much of the WM's construction and expansion costs during its growth at this time.  However, the railroad had not been repaying those costs.  As Zimmermann and Cook note, the city was owed nearly $9 million.

To recoup those expenses, offers were solicited to sell the railroad and on May 7, 1902 the property was purchased by the Fuller Syndicate, led by George Gould.  This group had grand visions for the WM.  Gould had plans to use it as a link in completing his father's vision of a true, coast-to-coast transcontinental railroad.   At the time he already controlled the Western Pacific, Rio Grande Western/Denver & Rio Grande, Missouri Pacific, Wabash Railroad, Wheeling & Lake Erie, and Wabash-Pittsburgh Terminal Railway.  The new owners immediately put their plans into action, opening a deep water port at Port Covington, just southeast of Baltimore along the Chesapeake Bay.  The facility featured freight and coal piers as well as transfer ramps for carferry service.  On August 1, 1903 construction commenced to extend service to reach Maryland's largest western city, Cumberland.  The line was opened for freight on  March 15, 1906 and launched passenger service a few months later on June 17th.  There, it linked up with another Gould property, the West Virginia Central and Pittsburg Railway.  

He had originally acquired the line in January of 1902 and then transferred it over to the WM on November 1, 1905.  The WVC&P blossomed into the railroad's coal route, channeling vast amounts of black diamonds out of the east/central mountains of West Virginia.  It was envisioned by Henry Davis as the Potomac & Piedmont Coal & Railroad Company of 1866, changed to the WVC&P in 1881, and completed between Cumberland and Elkins, West Virginia by 1889.  The WVC&P continued to expand even after WM ownership with lines snaking to the west and south of Elkins.  These branches constituted a mix of coal, lumber, and interchanges with the B&O (Belington) and Chesapeake & Ohio (Durbin).  There were also coal branches dotting the main line northeasterly out of Elkins.  The Western Maryland's operations in the Mountain State truly exemplified railroading in this region carrying tight curves and stiff grades passing through rural small towns in the heart of Appalachia.  Incredibly, many of these lines survived into the 1980s and some remain in service even today!

The last initiative Gould oversaw during his reign was the addition of the small Georges Creek & Cumberland Railway in January of 1907, which ran west from Cumberland, through the Narrows and reached mines around Midland to the southeast and a connection with the PRR at Ellerslie, Pennsylvania just across the state line.  As Gould attempted to complete his transcontinental railroad he overextended his financial resources and lost control of his portfolio.  The Western Maryland Rail Road entered receivership on March 6, 1908 and was reorganized as the Western Maryland Railway Company on December 1, 1909 with its receivership ending on January 1, 1910.  Gould had been attempting to complete his planned extension to Connellsville, Pennsylvania when he lost control but had secure an important corridor through the Narrows by controlling the GC&C.  New ownership carried on with this plan, beginning construction on the project during April of 1910.

The appropriately-named Connellsville Extension was built to very high standards; the 86-mile line featured relatively modest grades and was designed for the purpose of eventually being double-tracked, a plan which never materialized.  Its toughest territory was the 23 miles heading west from Cumberland where the route tackled Sand Patch via a 1.75% grade.  The line summited at Deal and gradually descended along a 0.80% to 0.60% grade into Connellsville.  Along the way four bores were needed (Big Savage Tunnel, Borden Tunnel, Brush Tunnel, and Pinkerton Tunnel) along with two majestic bridges (1,908-foot Salisbury Viaduct and Keystone Viaduct).  Finally, there was the sweeping Helmstetters Curve.  Located about seven railroad miles west of Cumberland, just outside of the small town of Corrigansville, Maryland, engineers had to figure out how to span the Cash Valley.  To do so they constructed a hairpin curve, originally via a trestle and then covered with fill.  It became a photogenic location, named after the local farm which sat near the right-of-way.

The Connellsville Extension was finished on August 1, 1912 thus opening a western connection with the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie.  Its important interchange here, however, occurred when the Pittsburgh & West Virginia finally completed its eastern link to Connellsville via Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Junction, Ohio in the spring of 1931.   Soon afterward the "Alphabet Route" was launched.  This consortium of eight different carriers (the Nickel Plate Road, Wheeling & Lake Erie, P&WV, Reading, Western Maryland, Central Railroad of New Jersey, Lehigh & Hudson River, and New Haven) offered customers high-speed freight service between Baltimore/New York/Philadelphia/Boston and Chicago as an alternative to the major eastern trunk lines of the Baltimore & Ohio, New York Central, and Pennsylvania.  The service was successful for many years until the 1970s when mergers made the entire idea largely redundant.

Could The Western Maryland Survived Into The Modern Era?

Unfortunately, large segments of the WM were abandoned under Chessie System which arguably could still be viable, profitable lines today, such as the Connellsville Extension and its grade over Sand Patch which carried lower grades than the B&O's route.  However, the entire network almost certainly would not have survived to the modern day.  The first blow came in 1959 when the St. Lawrence Seaway opened.  This waterway provided an seagoing exit out of the Great Lakes and greatly hurt all eastern carriers which handled export grain, including the WM at Port Covington.  Into the 1960s the railroad's coal business was playing out and its lumber shipments out of West Virginia had long since evaporated.  The merger movement began in the 1960s and the collapse of the Penn Central in 1970 only made things more difficult.  Ironically, the WM's exemplary management and sound business practices kept it a profitable road right up until the Chessie System acquisition upon which time the road's independence and identity slowly disappeared.   With the advent of Conrail and creation of CSX and Norfolk Southern during the 1980s the WM would have been a tiny fish surrounded by gigantic competitors.  To survive it would have been forced to rely on short-hauls, acting as a short line operation 

While the Western Maryland operated a myriad of other feeder and branch lines the Thomas Subdivision, Connellsville Subdivision, East Subdivision, and West Subdivision comprised the railroad's important corridors.  The WM's entire 835-mile network was broken down into two primary segments; its Connellsville - Shippensburg/Lurgan corridor carried expedited, time freights while its Elkins-Baltimore route moved primarily coal and related natural resources (coke and lumber) to tidewater.  In addition, the WM operated a handful of branches which were entirely disconnected from the rest of its network.  In September of 1916 it acquired the Fairmont Helen's Run Railway Company running just over 6 miles from Chiefton to Ida May.   A year later it added the nearby Fairmont Bingamon Railway Company in December of 1917 which maintained another small segment of trackage between Hutchinson and Josephine.  Both branches were located near Fairmont and to reach them the WM maintained trackage rights over the B&O via Bowest Yard just outside Connellsville.  

There was also the Somerset Coal Railway formed in 1915 and operated by the Western Maryland.  Running just 4 miles from Coal Junction and Gray it served two mines maintained by Consolidation Coal Company.  The WM maintained additional trackage rights over the B&O from Coal Junction to Rockwood in servicing these mines on what became known as the "Gray Train."  While all of these disjointed lines may have added only a few miles to the WM's network they proved very important to the WM's bottom line.  The branch to Ida May was especially noteworthy, generating coal for Bethlehem Steel.  During the 1950s it was producing an astounding 4,000 carloads a month!  As Zimmerann and Cook point out that was more traffic than all of the WM's lines south of Cumberland generated at that time.  Following the opening of the Connellsville Extension three final additions to the network completed the modern Western Maryland system including the Greenbrier, Cheat & Elk; West Virginia Midland; and Chaffee Railroad.

These were all feeder operations that generated coal and lumber.  The first, and most isolated, addition was the 1927 purchase of the Greenbrier, Cheat & Elk Railroad.  The GC&E was a longtime property of the West Virginia Pulp & Paper Company, running 74 miles from a connection along the WM's Durbin Branch at Cheat Junction to Bergoo.  The route featured steep grades and sharp curves that was noteworthy as having the highest main line above sea level in the eastern United States, Summit Cut near Spruce with an elevation of 4,066.6 feet.  Due to the rugged, sawtooth-like profile the WM limited its territory south of Cumberland to mostly 2-8-0 Consolidations where Class H-7's and H-8's regularly roamed.  They offered ample power while their short wheelbase could handle curves.  The GC&E snaked its way along the Shaver's Fork of the Cheat River before cutting across the Tygart Valley River to the west at Spruce and reaching Slaty Fork.  From there, rails wound their way first north, then westward along the Elk River and terminated at Bergoo.

Western Maryland's Operations Around Elkins

The Western Maryland's most noteworthy branch beyond Elkins included its lines south to Durbin and Webster Springs.  The former location concluded a long sought connection with the Chesapeake & Ohio by Henry Davis's West Virginia Central & Pittsburg Railway.  On December 14, 1899 a charter was issued for the Coal & Iron Railway (C&I), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the WVC&P.  After initially disagreeing on the junction point the C&O and WVC&P settled on Durbin as the new interchange.   Building the branch, extending south from Elkins, was difficult and expensive as the geography was rugged (grades exceeded 2% in some locations), where the Cheat and Shavers Mountains had to be crossed and doing so meant tunnels were required beneath each; Tunnel #1 was bored under Cheat Mountain south of Canfield while Tunnel #2 was located near Glady under Shavers Mountain.  Not surprisingly, the work was slow although there was no rush towards completion since the C&O was in the process of completing its own line.  By late 1902 service was opened to Bemis and finally completed to Durbin on July 27, 1903 according to William McNeel’s book, “The Durbin Route.”   From the station in Elkins the route’s entire length spanned 46.9 miles.  Under the WM the route was known as the Durbin Subdivision.

The West Virginia Central & Pittsburg had been formed in 1881 by Davis after renaming his Potomac & Piedmont Coal & Railroad Company that year in an effort to further extend lines into West Virginia to tap the region’s timber and coal reserves.  It initially began construction in April of 1880 near Bloomington, West Virginia at an interchange with the B&O now known as West Virginia Junction.  The grades were not terrible until engineers were stuck with trying to find a way down the rugged Blackwater Canyon; descending from Thomas the line reached grades exceeding 3% before leveling off at Hendricks.  Another stiff encounter south of Parsons with grades over 2% were endured to Haddix before reaching Elkins in 1889 (then known as Leadsville).  A branch extended beyond Elkins to Dailey and as far as Huttonsville (the "Huttonsville Branch") in 1899.  In 1891 a branch opened westward 16 miles to Belington to connect with the Baltimore & Ohio's Grafton & Greenbrier Railroad, which standard-gauged the line in 1892.  Finally, an exentsion here was opened as far as Weaver in 1899 through the subsidiary Belington & Beaver Creek to tap additional coal mines.

What many may not realize is that today's popular Cass Scenic Railroad, running from Cass, West Virginia to Spruce and Bald Knob, was once a much larger operation.  According to William Warden's book, "West Virginia Logging Railroads," the project was launched by the West Virginia Spruce Lumber Company (a division of West Virginia Pulp & Paper) when it purchased 173,000 acres of property near Cass to tap the area's rich timber tracts.  It could begin rail operations until the Chesapeake & Ohio's Greenbrier Branch was completed from the C&O main line at Ronceverte to Durbin in December of 1903 where it met the Coal & Iron Railway, a later WM subsidiary.  With rail service now established the Greenbrier & Elk Railroad was chartered to begin hauling logs off the mountain.  The section to Spruce (8 miles) featured very stiff grades, requiring the use of Shay geared steam locomotives.  This now-ghost town once hosted a pulp peeling mill, company store, railroad facilities, and housing for workers.  In 1910 the railroad was renamed as the Greenbrier, Cheat & Elk and continued expanding, connecting with the Coal & Iron at Cheat Junction to the north and as far west as Bergoo.  At its peak the GC&E maintained some 175 miles, earning it recognition as the longest logging railroad ever operated.

The Western Maryland acquired control of the GC&E's lines north and west of Spruce in 1927, which became its Elk River Branch.  Interestingly, the WM's interest lay less in lumber/logging and more in the idea of serving area coal mines.  It upgraded the property with heavier rail and improved ballasting while also straightening some of the worst curves.  However, the line still retained a very rugged profile as it was never intended for main line service.  As Zimmermann and Cook point out it needed Maney guard rails for the most severe curves, a feature most often found on interurban operations.  Incredibly, the WM actually expanded beyond the tiny rural hamlet of Bergoo as it looked to bolster its coal business.  In 1929 it acquired the West Virginia Midland Railroad, a system first planned to narrow-gauge standards.  Its original promoter was the Holly River Boom & Lumber company, which opened a standard-gauge private line from Holly, where its mill was located, to a connection with the B&O at Palmer Junction.  It was established in 1893 and according to George Hilton's book, "American Narrow Gauge Railroads," opened for service on November 1, 1894.

Including branches it maintained about 12 mile of track.  On July 1, 1896 the property was reorganized as the Holly River Railroad and acquired by John McGaw to serve area lumber mills.  He again changed the name as the Holly River & Addison Railway on September 10, 1898, which acquired the standard-gauged property and began constructing narrow-gauge lines to Diana (18 miles) and Jumbo (22 miles), opening in 1899.  Another extension opened to Webster Springs (12 miles) on May 26, 1902.  After this time his operation slowly declined.  It was reorganized as the West Virginia Midland Railroad on April 6, 1906 and he retained control until another receivership in 1920.  In 1924 the entire property was sold and renamed as the West Virginia Midland Railway.  In 1925 one final extension was carried out, another 12 mile addition from Webster Springs to the GC&E at Bergoo, which was built to dual gauge (three rails for standard and narrow-gauge operation).  Ironically, for all of this construction only the latter segment, acquired by the GC&E in 1929, was retained under the Western Maryland.

Finally, there was the Chaffee Railroad added in 1929, which became the Chaffee Branch.  This little operation ran from the WM's main line at Chaffee, West Virginia to serve mines at nearby Vindex, Maryland.  It featured brutal grades of over 9% and curves as sharp as 23.5° requiring the use of Shay geared steamers.  One of the largest ever built was #6, an incredible 162-ton, three truck machine built as the Lima Locomotive Works' final such example in May of 1945.  Unfortunately, she spent only five years in service before the Chaffee Branch played out in 1950.  She was stored until 1953 when the locomotive operated under its own power to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum for display.  The locomotive remained here until 1980 when she was sent to Cass for restoration and excursion service.  The big Shay remains in operation today and is a fan favorite.   The WM in its final form was vastly different from the railroad envisioned by the company's original promoters.  As Ross Grenard and John Krause point out in their book, "Steam In The Alleghenies: Western Maryland," the railroad was planned to handle only agricultural products from Carroll and Frederick Counties to Baltimore.  The modern, high-speed Western Maryland of the 20th century, transporting all types of freight from coal to merchandise, would certainly have impressed its promoters.

The "Wild Mary" earned a reputation from its customers for having extremely fast, efficient, and high quality service upon which it prided itself greatly; "The Fast Freight Line" slogan was much more than just a saying and it marketed this trait extensively.  In 1940 it introduced a "Fireball" herald to twelve new 4-6-6-4's, products of Baldwin (The "Fireball" logo was later replaced with the stylized speed-lettering in 1952 on freight cars and 1954 on diesels.  Over a decade later the WM updated its livery for a final time with the so-called "Circus" scheme applied to the speed-lettering on new SD40's in June of 1969).  The powerful Challengers were designed for high-speed service between Hagerstown and Connellsville but proved very hard on the track with a tendency to slip.  As a result they were banished east of Cumberland and eventually retired in 1953.  They were replaced with twelve 4-8-4's, "Potomacs," also Baldwin products outshopped in 1947 (the last new examples of that type ever built for an American railroad), working the line east of Cumberland while the Challengers handled assignments over the Connellsville Extension.  Alas, even they saw short careers, replaced by diesels in 1954.

The railroad experimented with diesels from American Locomotive, Baldwin, Electro-Motive, and even General Electric 44-tonners to work Port Covington.  In time, however, the company best liked EMD products purchasing its only second-generation models from the builder.  The WM as a truly independent carrier ended in 1964 when the Chesapeake & Ohio and B&O (both of which were affiliated with the 1962 takeover of the B&O by the C&O) jointly applied with the ICC to acquire the WM, which was granted (the B&O had held a controlling interest in the railroad for many years).  Under this new setup the Western Maryland Railway continued to operate mostly independent from its parents (of which the B&O had full control of the line) until the 1972 creation of the new holding company for all three, the Chessie System, when the WM mostly disappeared (from an operating and visual standpoint) as a division of the B&O (although Chessie units continued to be sub-lettered as WM). The most significant and lasting changes for the WM began in the mid-1980s when Chessie merged with the Seaboard Coast Line and the Family Lines (to form the shortlived-1982 creation of Seaboard System) to form CSX Corporation.

Diesel Locomotive Roster

The American Locomotive Company

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
S2125-127, 140-1441943-19448

The Baldwin Locomotive Works

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity

Electro-Motive Division

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
F7A53-66, 231-2421950-195226
F7B53B-59B, 61B-65B (Odds), 231B-237B, 239B-243B (Odds)1950-195320
GP35501-505, 3011-30121963-19647
GP40-24257-4261, 4312-4321, 4352-43711977-197935
SD407445-7449, 7470-7474, 7495-74961966-196912

General Electric

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity

Steam Locomotive Roster

According to the book, "The Western Maryland Railway: Fireballs And Black Diamonds" by Roger Cook and Karl Zimmermann, Western Maryland's steamers generally carried the following assignments; 4-6-6-4 "Challengers" worked the Connellsville Extension, 4-8-4 "Potomacs" east of Cumberland, big Mallets tackled the Blue Ridge grades, powerful 2-10-0 "Decapods" handled helper assignments, heavy 2-8-0 "Consolidations" fought Black Fork Grade while their lighter counterparts were assigned to the branches south of Elkins, Shays the Chaffee Branch and sometimes on Black Fork, and finally 4-6-2 "Pacifics" handled passenger services.

Class Type Wheel Arrangement
B (Various)Switcher0-6-0
C1/a, C2Switcher0-8-0
H-3 Through H-9 (Various)Consolidation2-8-0
G (Various)Ten-Wheeler4-6-0
I-1, I-2Decapod2-10-0
K-1, K-2Pacific4-6-2
L1/a, L2Chesapeake2-8-8-2
M-1/aMallet2-6-6-2, 0-6-6-0

The railroad division of this company was CSX Transportation, which slowly began to merge the carriers. The WM was officially the first Chessie road to disappear, merged into the B&O on May 1, 1983.  The B&O followed after CSXT's creation, disappearing into the C&O on April 30, 1987.  Finally, the C&O was formally dissolved as a corporate entity on August 31, 1987.  Physically, the WM began to vanish during the Chessie System era as large segments of the main line were abandoned wholesale in favor of the nearby B&O; in 1975 the Connellsville Extension was lost followed by the Thomas Division to Elkins, West Virginia in the mid-1980s (embargoed after the severe flooding during the fall of 1985).  Today only small sections of the WM are still active, with the best known of these operated by the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and West Virginia Central. Under the WMSR a short segment of the WM main line around Cumberland (still using the original WM Cumberland Station) remains active, which includes famous Helmstetter’s Curve.  The railroad has gained much fame for its use of #734, a 2-8-0 steam locomotive, especially traveling through Helmstetter’s! In recent years a newer tourist/freight line, the West Virginia Central, owned by the State of West Virginia and operated by the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley has gained much attention. The WVC operates over 100 miles of ex-B&O and WM (the former Elkins Division) trackage and just recently restored the bridge to the former Elkins Yard in Elkins, WV where the railroad will not only serve passengers at the restored WM station but also use the building as its central headquarters.

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