CUMBERLAND, Md. — The Emery Rail Heritage Trust and the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad are pleased to announce the trust has issued a special mid-year grant of $50,000 to help complete 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 as part of the “Steam the Last Baldwin” fundraising campaign. The grant will go toward $150,000 needed to complete No. 1309, the last Baldwin built for domestic service in 1949.
Western Maryland Scenic Railroad is working to finish the $3.2 million restoration without interruption this year. Contractor Diversified Rail Services recently worked with Hulcher to re-wheel the locomotive and steam-test it. Work is underway to complete the running gear, back head piping, stoker, and hundreds of other final details necessary to complete restoration. Once in operation, the locomotive will be the world’s largest operating Mallet, a locomotive that uses its steam twice, and the largest articulated in operation in the eastern U.S.
The trust is the largest of its kind devoted to railway preservation. The John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust was created by Chicago native John Emery, who was a lover of the classic passenger trains of America. The trust was founded as a way to demonstrate the late John Emery’s love of the Golden Age of U.S. railroading.
Western Maryland Scenic, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 heritage rail corporation, operates the Western Maryland main line from Cumberland, Md., through the Narrows, around world famous Helmstetter’s Curve, on its 17-mile route to Frostburg, Md., in the beautiful Alleghany Mountains.
“As a member of the Emery Trust team, I am so proud that we are able to make our third grant to the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to help them continue the work on the mighty C&O 1309,” says Trust advisory board member Jim Fetchero. “The Emery Trust usually only awards our grants in the early spring, but with this engine so near to completion, we felt it was worthwhile to make a special mid-year grant to keep the work moving. Once fully operational, the 1309 will draw thousands of rail fans and the public alike to Cumberland, Md., for years to come and will be the mainstay of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.” The trust has made two previous grants to the project, $40,000 in 2019 and $10,000 earlier in 2020.
“We are incredibly humbled by the trust’s decision to contribute a special mid-year grant to the 1309’s restoration,” says Western Maryland Scenic Executive Director John Garner. “This project could not have been brought to this level without the direct and continued support from organizations like the Emery Trust and the enthusiast community.” Trains readers in the Steam the Last Baldwin campaign launched in February to restart the project, have donated more than $130,000.
To help complete No. 1309, make a tax-deductible donation online at the 1309 page at the Western Maryland Scenic website, or mail a check specified for 1309 to Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, P.O. Box 1168, Cumberland, MD 21503.