Steam Locomotive 2-6-6-2 Action Photos: Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and Trains Magazine Feb. 25-27 kicked off the 2022 steam season at the Cumberland, Md.-based Tourist Railroad with a multi-day photo charter for 100 enthusiasts highlighting No. 1309, the former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 returned to service after a painstaking restoration process.
Western Maryland Scenic No. 1309 sails around the Helmstetter Curve on February 26, 2022. Photograph by Jim Wrinn
It’s been since the 1950’s that Western Maryland articulates have been attacking the mountains like this. #1309 shows Mallet’s power and pride at Helmstetter’s Curve on February 26, 2022. Photograph by Jim Wrinn
Western Maryland Scenic No. 1309 smokes at Garner’s Meadow on February 26, 2022. Photograph by Jim Wrinn
Western Maryland Scenic No. 1309 greets dawn in the Narrows just outside of Cumberland, Md. on February 27, 2022. Photograph by Jim Wrinn
Western Maryland Scenic Railroad No. 1309 cuts a profile at Helmstetter’s Curve on February 27, 2022. Photograph by Jim Wrinn
Trains Magazine photo charter participants with Western Maryland Scenic Railroad 2-6-6-2 #1309 gather for a group portrait in Frostburg, Maryland on February 27, 2022. Photograph by Jim Wrinn
Western Maryland Scenic No. 1309 stage photo at Helmstetter’s Curve on February 27, 2022. Photograph by Jim Wrinn
The 1949 Articulated was restored in late 2020 and spent most of 2021 being fine-tuned and waiting for the Western Maryland Scenic’s right-of-way to be rebuilt. After the locomotive first appeared on Polar Express routes in December 2021, February weekend trips were the first for railroad enthusiasts.
The 2022 event included a Friday night trip behind the Steam in Frostburg, Md., and two days of photos with #1309 on an 11-car photo freight. Photo shoots focused on the famous Helmstetter Curve, the legendary horseshoe curve on the Western Main Line in Maryland, just west of Cumberland. Passengers rode a chase train made up of diesel-powered passengers, powered by two authentic Western Maryland SDs that are now part of the Western Maryland Scenic roster.
No. 1309, with a grateful audience, began teaching composition (using twice the steam) with a “chuff-chuff-chuff” that followed (sometimes) short, crisp escapes while being performed as a single (stream of live steam through the two sets of cylinders) Articulated steam locomotive.
In a strange twist of irony, the same weekend as No. 1309, the last Baldwin, raced on this special event, across the continent in California, Baldwin’s first Mallet, 1909 2-4-4-2 Skookum, raced on the Niles Canyon Railway in the Bay Area. The fact that both exist is a miracle; the odds of both working on the same day are astronomical.
For those who want to see this remarkable locomotive, No. 1309 enters regular service in May and runs long weekends until October. And if seeing and photographing it at the tip of the freight cars appeals to you, you can also join us for our next Trains outing with
No. 1309 from November 4 to 6.