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2-6-6-2 steam locomotive action photos: Western Maryland Scenic

By Jim Wrinn, Trains Editor | March 23, 2022

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad debuts 2-6-6-2 for the fans

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Smoke fills the frame with nose of black steam engine

2-6-6-2 steam locomotive action photos: Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and Trains Magazine on Feb. 25-27 kicked off the 2022 steam season at the Cumberland, Md.-based tourist railroad with a multiday photo charter for 100 enthusiasts spotlighting No. 1309, the former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 returned to service after an arduous restoration process.

Nose of black steam locomotive and train coming around a bend

Western Maryland Scenic No. 1309 steams around Helmstetter’s Curve on Feb. 26, 2022. Jim Wrinn photograph

Nose of black steam locomotive and train coming around a bend
Big plume above black steam engine coming around a bend

It has been since the 1950s, since articulateds of the Western Maryland attacked the mountains like this. No. 1309 shows Mallet power and pride at Helmstetter’s Curve on Feb. 26, 2022. Jim Wrinn photograph

Big plume above black steam engine coming around a bend
Smoke fills the frame with nose of black steam engine
Western Maryland Scenic No. 1309 steams at Garner’s Meadow on Feb.26, 2022. Jim Wrinn photograph
Smoke fills the frame with nose of black steam engine
Predawn light illuminates the large plume as steam engine pulls train
Western Maryland Scenic No. 1309 greets the dawn in the Narrows just outside of Cumberland, Md., on Feb. 27, 2022. Jim Wrinn photograph
Predawn light illuminates the large plume as steam engine pulls train
Side view of steam engine and train works upgrade

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad No. 1309 cuts a profile at Helmstetter’s Curve on Feb. 27, 2022. Jim Wrinn photograph

Side view of steam engine and train works upgrade
Large group of people stand near tracks and the front of a stopped steam engine to pose for picture
Participants in Trains Magazine’s photo charter with Western Maryland Scenic Railroad 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 gather for a group portrait at Frostburg, Md., on Feb. 27, 2022. Jim Wrinn photograph
Large group of people stand near tracks and the front of a stopped steam engine to pose for picture
Black steam engine with photo freight comes around a horseshoe curve

Western Maryland Scenic No. 1309 puts on a photo runby at Helmstetter’s Curve on Feb. 27, 2022. Jim Wrinn photograph

Black steam engine with photo freight comes around a horseshoe curve

The 1949 articulated was restored in late 2020 and spent most of 2021 being fine-tuned and awaiting rebuilding of the Western Maryland Scenic’s right-of-way. After the locomotive appeared on Polar Express runs in December 2021, the February weekend trips were the first for railroad enthusiasts.

The 2022 event featured a Friday night trip behind steam to Frostburg, Md., and two days of photo runbys with No. 1309 on an 11-car photo freight. Photo sessions focused on world famous Helmstetter’s Curve, the legendary horseshoe curve on the Western Maryland main line just west of Cumberland. Passengers rode a diesel-powered passenger-consist chase train, powered by two authentic Western Maryland SDs now part of the Western Maryland Scenic roster.

No. 1309, with an appreciative audience, began teaching about compounding (using steam twice) with a mushy “chuff-chuff-chuff” that followed (occasionally) brief, crisp exhausts while being run as a simple (running live steam through both sets of cylinders) articulated steam locomotive.
In a strange twist of irony, the same weekend that No. 1309, the last Baldwin, was running on this special event, across the continent in California, Baldwin’s first Mallet, 1909 2-4-4-2 Skookum, was running on the Niles Canyon Railway in the Bay Area. The fact that both exist is a miracle; the odds of both being in operation 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 through October. And if seeing and photographing it on the point of freight cars is to your liking, you can also join us for our next Trains outing with
No. 1309 on Nov. 4-6.

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