Western Maryland 1309 update: Drivers and front engine reunited

Posted by Jim Wrinn
on Thursday, August 15, 2019

Steam locomotive restorations are agonizingly slow, especially when the subject locomotive has been well used in its working life and exposed to the elements during its preservation life. Such is the case with Western Maryland Scenic’s former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309. The engine only ran from 1949 to 1956 in coal service near Logan, W.Va., but by that time the Chessie knew it was heading toward dieselization and that steam upkeep could be minimal. Years of storage at Russell, Ky., and outdoor display at the B&O Railroad Museum did little to help. Asbestos abatement at the B&O museum included a lot of quick torch work to eliminate pipes and speed up the process — at the time, nobody ever figured this, Baldwin’s last steam locomotive built for domestic use, would ever be a candidate for restoration. Add in the theft of brass that the engine runs on, and it’s a drag. 


But here it is. Inching forward. On Tuesday and Wednesday earlier this week, Trains sent Tishia Boggs to make these photos of the work: The latest is the 56-inch drivers have been installed in the front engine. The front pilot was added. There’s much work to be done. There are cranes to set the boiler on both the front and back engine. There’s plenty of piping to be run. But this project is moving forward with careful craftsmanship that will result in a reliable locomotive. 


I was last in the shop at Ridgeley, W.Va., for a day one rainy September 2018 day. Restorations like this one are once in a lifetime. I would love to have joined Tishia this week on this visit. There’s something refreshing about the smell of cutting oil in the morning (or any time of the day for that matter).


We’ll continue to update the restoration of No. 1309. You can read the report in our September issue, available now, and we’ll update often here and on News Wire at www.TrainsMag.com



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