was secured to rebuild the bridge a dedication ceremony was held in the
late spring of 2006 acknowledging the accomplishment of returning rails
to the yard (currently there are two staging tracks serving the
station). What’s more the West Virginia Railroad Museum also plans to
rebuild the former WM roundhouse to showcase its ever-growing collection
rail equipment, on the exact same spot of the original! Hopefully,
this idea will come to fruition although the museum has announced that
due to funding shortfalls the roundhouse and visitor complex may be
The Western Maryland Railway was once an important eastern carrier,
connecting Baltimore, Maryland with points to west including, in
Maryland, Hagerstown and Cumberland. It reached as far as
Connellsville, Pennsylvania where it connected to the Pittsburgh &
Lake Erie and Pittsburgh & West Virginia (the railroad also served
other Pennsylvania towns including Shippensburg, Gettysburg, and York).
To the south the WM connected to Elkins, West Virginia, a city which
became the railroad's central hub for the coal mines it served in the area (at Durbin it had an interchange with the Chesapeake & Ohio).
As for its place amongst eastern carriers, the WM was part of the famed "Alphabet Route", which included a number of smaller Class Is (aside from the WM it included the Nickel Plate Road, P&WV, W&LE, Reading, Central Railroad of New Jersey, Lehigh & Hudson River, and New Haven) that gave shippers an alternate route between Boston and St. Louis/Chicago. These corridors were predominantly controlled by the B&O, NYC, and PRR, and the Alphabet Route lines tried very hard to provide top notch service across their respective routes to gain and retain as many shippers as they could.
The WM's line through the Mountain State was officially known as the Thomas Subdivision, which connected Cumberland with Elkins and was originally built by the West Virigina Central & Pittsburgh Railway, a company sold to the WM in 1905. Today, the state of West Virginia owns and maintains most the WM's lines around Elkins, except its extension from Bemis to Webster Springs (in total these lines comprise exactly 132.13 route miles of railroad). Interestingly, this stretch of out-of-service track, nearly 80 miles in length is the largest part of the line. The current plans for this segment of track is to eventually be taken up and reused to restore/rebuild the Western Maryland's former Durbin Subdivision between Elkins and Durbin.
If this occurs John and Kathy Smith, which operates Cass Scenic, the WVC, and Durbin operation, will be able to provide visitors the chance to make a complete round trip from Elkins to Cass, and return via Spruce. For more information about the West Virginia Central Railroad please click here to visit their official website. The site covers all of their operations, including both their excursion trains as well as available freight services. To the delight of railfans the WVC operates some of the most unique diesel equipment you can find anywhere, including a rare BL2, of original WM heritage. What’s more, the West Virginia
Central currently has its entire roster painted in WM’s original “speed
lettering” livery. All in all,the future certainly looks bright for
this little shortline in West Virginia!
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West Virginia Central