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Steam & Excursion > Steam on the Western Maryland Railway

Date: 09/21/22 11:46
Steam on the Western Maryland Railway
Author: ClubCar

Do you remember when the former Nickel Plate Road number 759 was running on the Western Maryland Railway?  This was in the Fall of 1970 and was operated by the "High Iron Company."  I was not able to go as I had a major work commitment. 
John in White Marsh, Maryland

Date: 09/21/22 12:43
Re: Steam on the Western Maryland Railway
Author: refarkas

Two historic beauties.

Date: 09/21/22 14:06
Re: Steam on the Western Maryland Railway
Author: wcamp1472

I remember it like yesterday!

1970 culminated in 759 pulling westbound & eastbound 'hotshots'
AJ1 & AJ2.  In a wonderful October morning.... 52 years ago.
( That previous September, 759 had conquered Horseshoe Curve...2-times) 

The westbound freight started from Hagerstown in an early AM fog.
As 759 and freight rolled towards the Potomac, a youngster waiting for a school bus,
He saw us come out of the fog...thundering along hauling freight.

He was roadside, by himself, wiaiting, and when he saw 759 roar out of
the fog, he was AWED by the sight.  He was awed, transfixed and didn't
wave back --- as we sailed by.   His jaw dropped wide-open as the engine
proceeded into the fog...

It was astounding to appreciate 759 in her 'element' ----- pulling 80 cars of
high-priority freight at track speed --- on a beautiful October morning, leaves
flying and the mountains echoing 759's commanding whistle !! 

It was the only time I saw 759 doing what she was designed to do and what she did best...
. .... with a immensely strong draft!  Excursions can't pull a draft of 20% compared to the
weight of 80+  freight cars.

The fire on the grates was thin....most ashes went up the stack, fly-ash...
the rattling 'finger grates' shook the ashes into the wind... 

The throttle was nearly WIDE-OPEN, and the draft was thundering and huge volume.
The reverser & cutoff of the valve  travel were at the center .... 

The stoker was barely creeping, ...very low coal feeding rate, most of the coal was
burned in mid-air at a flaming-hurricane's wind through the boiler and flame tips
over the superheater units.

The flames were pulled deeper over the hot-ends of the superheater units.
It also means that the maximum superheat temps were doing the work.

From the Potomac, the westbound leg was river-grade and uphill....
the ideal drafting for Lima's Best, at its BEST.  
You can't  imagine the intensity of the heat in that firbox..

At Cumberland, Md.  we took on fresh coal and water, the nice, level fire took
no attention and readied for the eastbound AJ !!!

There were 3 Western Maryland crew! and Ross & I in the cab... both 'legs.'
And, yes,  the two famous WM Alco FA's helped by shoving us up the hill, back to Hagerstown ...

The freight train work we did that day was a once in a lifetime event.
Thanks go to the WM  and George Leilich, VP Operations, for their wonderful
hospitality.  Lieilich invited 759 to pull his railroad's highest priority Train...
all by 759's own horsepower.

Oh, yes, ---- that afternoon, when we cleaned the ash pan, there was barely
a wheelbarrow's full of ashes.   After pulling two freights and burning probably
15 to 18 tons of coal..

Thanks for the pictures ... What a wonderful Life-time's  experience we had, riding behind
that wonderous Machine..


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/21/22 14:08 by wcamp1472.

Date: 09/21/22 14:19
Re: Steam on the Western Maryland Railway
Author: ClubCar

Thank you Wes for all the history of the 759 pulling freight trains on the Western Maryland Railway.  Those were the days for sure.
John in White Marsh, Maryland

Date: 09/21/22 15:43
Re: Steam on the Western Maryland Railway
Author: bigsavage

The 2 freight runs were today, 9/21/1970
AJ-1 WB, AJ-2 EB
AJ-1 is WB here at Pearre, MD. in this epic JJ Young pic that was in several magazines.

10/17-18 was the "Blue Mountain Express from Baltimore to Connellsville.

Date: 09/21/22 16:45
Re: Steam on the Western Maryland Railway
Author: wcamp1472


I'd forgotten the actual date!
Thanks for JJ Young's photo...

It WAS foggy!

A Wonderful capture of a rare event...


Date: 09/21/22 18:35
Re: Steam on the Western Maryland Railway
Author: steamfan759

This was a great look back!   Wes - thanks for filling in all the details on this fantastic run!!


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