Something Old, Something New...

Posted by George Hamlin
on Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Definitely something from both categories in the title in this view of MARC train P930. It is operating on the CSX’s main line from Washington to Cumberland on October 6, 1991, at Weverton, Maryland, in conjunction with the “Brunswick Railroad Days”, an annual two-day weekend festival in the town of Brunswick, just to the east of Weverton.

In particular, the passenger cars represent both historic and then relatively-new equipment. The former category is represented by the nearest four coaches, which have an interesting background.  They began life as post-World War II sleeping cars in a 21 Roomette configuration, built by the Budd Company for the Pennsylvania Railroad. 

In the face of declining sleeping car traffic in the 1960s, the Pennsy sent this group of cars (plus some similar 10 Roomette-6 Double Bedroom cars acquired originally by the Norfolk & Western) back to Budd for conversion to relatively high-density reclining seat coaches for use principally between New York City and Washington, DC. MARC later acquired some of the coaches for its expanding commuter services on the former Baltimore & Ohio routes between Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, and beyond as far as Martinsburg, West Virginia on the line to Cumberland.

Other veterans of the post-World War II era are present in the form what appear to be three EMD F-series locomotives; two on the head-end, and the other on the rear, pointed in the opposite direction.  Leading the way is MARC’s F9PH 85.  It was built as an F7A for the B&O and delivered in August 1952, according to The Diesel Shop’s MARC locomotive roster. It’s likely that this is its fifth decade of traversing this particular piece of trackage.

Behind it is what looks like another of the same kind, albeit in a different paint scheme.  However, MARC 7100 no longer has a prime mover, and is now listed as APCU: Auxiliary Power Control Unit.  Thus, it is able to supply HEP (Head End Power) to the passenger cars as needed, as well as serving as a replacement for a cab car.  It began life as B&O F7A 293 in February 1951. It’s seen here in the previous livery of the Maryland Department of Transportation, used prior to the re-branding as MARC (Maryland Area Rail Commuter).

For the “new” category, we have the three Sumitomo/Nippon Sharyo single-level coaches behind the Budd-built cars.  These were acquired new by MARC in two groups; the first in the mid-to-late 1980s, and the second between 1991 and 1993.

And in case you were wondering, the traditional categories of “something borrowed and something blue” are also addressed.  The latter should be obvious: all of the equipment includes that color in its paint scheme.

Finally, there also is something that can be considered “borrowed”, in the form of CSX 116 at the rear of the train.  This unit was built as an F3A for the Clinchfield Railroad and arrived on the CSX roster via the Seaboard System, where it had operated as an A-B-B-A set of F units in the mid-1990s.  MARC was leasing both of the cab units (the 118, also ex-Clinchfield, was the other) prior to the arrival of its GP40WH-2 locomotives.

In any case, quite an interesting collection of passenger equipment; fun to see, and photograph!

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