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.
Western Maryland Scenic No. 1309 steams around Helmstetter’s Curve on Feb. 26, 2022. Jim Wrinn photograph
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
Western Maryland Scenic Railroad No. 1309 cuts a profile at Helmstetter’s Curve on Feb. 27, 2022. Jim Wrinn photograph
Western Maryland Scenic No. 1309 puts on a photo runby at Helmstetter’s Curve on Feb. 27, 2022. Jim Wrinn photograph
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.