Just west of the really skinny part of Maryland is Cumberland and the home of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad (WMSR). The WMSR is a heritage railroad that begins it's trips in Cumberland and turns around in Frostburg, running about 75 minutes each way. Excursions begin at the Western Maryland Railway Station built in 1913 during the golden age of steam powered rail travel.
This past summer, I had the unique and exciting opportunity to ride in the cab of this engine where I took most of the following photos. Please forgive me in advance as I am not aware of the many technical terms associated with trains.
Here, engine 734 enters the Cumberland station pulling several passenger cars to begin it's journey. This 2-8-0 engine was built in 1916 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. Currently, this engine is undergoing it's 15 year major inspection/tear down so the WMSR will be using another engine from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum. I felt this image just had to be black and white!
The fireman (the guy who keeps the coal burning so that we have steam and thus have power to move) maintains the various moving parts of the locomotive while it's parked in the station before our trip. I saw quite a volume of steam drifting around - I knew there was the possibility of a good photo to be made.
Before getting underway, Richard shovels coal into the fire.
Crawling out of the station, we can see the engineer is seated on the right side of the cab, the firman is nearest to me feeding the fire, and the guy who stands in the tender feeding the coal forward is observing. I'm in the left seat of the cab hanging on.
With eye protection, gloves, and hearing protection in place, we're racing down the track! Although you can't feel it here, it's a very turbulent ride in the cab of the engine!
I really liked looking up at the coal smoke pouring out of the engine.
Although a cool wet day, each time the fire doors opened a wave of heat blasted us.
I don't normally do funky antique film conversions, but it seemed to work in this case.
At the end of the line, the engine turned around on the turntable in Frostburg, and moved to the other end of our train.
The crew of the train really got into their roles by authentically dressing in period wear.