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Stations, Meyersdale and Salisbury Viaduct 6/15/2023

by Chris Guenzler

After our morning preparations, Elizabeth and I checked out of the hotel in Moorefield, West Virginia, went to the Sunset Restaurant where we had a good meal before finding the station.

Baltimore amd Ohio Moorefield freight house which has been modified. We made our way to Keyser.

Baltimore and Ohio Keyser station, built before 1917 and a stop on Amtrak's former Shenandoah route. It is now used by CSX. Elizabeth navigated us to Piedmont and our next depot.

Cumberland & Pennsylvania, later Western Maryland, Piedmont station. This was the southern terminus for the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad.

We then entered Maryland and found items of note in Westernport.

Western Maryland Railroad caboose 1826 built by the railroad and painted as Baltimore and Ohio caboose 1826.

Western Maryland station, home to the Westernport Heritage Museum which recounts the community's industrial history and showcases a collection of railroad artifacts. The Westernport Heritage Society Museum was founded in 1996 when the Western Maryland Railroad Station was acquired by the Town of Westernport for use as a museum. Initially, a collection of railroad artifacts was gathered and cataloged for use by its members. Eventually it became evident other memorabilia needed preserved from the era of the Industrial Revolution, which was the historical backdrop for the community’s Golden Age. In the twelve years since, the museum has become the historical focal point for the entire Tri-Towns region, as it houses memorabilia from the three communities surrounding the North Branch of the Potomac River: Westernport and Luke, Maryland as well as Piedmont, West Virginia. The region is steeped in industrial history not only representing three railroads but coal mining and papermaking as well.

Plaque on the station building.

Ore cars on display.

Switchman's shanty.

Plaque on the shanty. Next we were driving towards Sandpatch as we both spotted some engines and I found a road that led us to them at Barton, Maryland.

The Georges Creek Railway was a shortline railroad in Western Maryland that performed contract switching and owned a 14-mile line between Westernport and Carlos. The railroad was headquartered at 119 Pratt Street in Luke in the former Luke Post Office. The first section of the CSX Georges Creek Subdivision was acquired in 2005 by a new short line in which Gerald Altizer was a partner. In the ensuing years, Georges Creek Railway would gain control of the entire former CSX subdivision, eventually rostering seven Western Maryland Railroad survivors, along with a few Alco S-6 and T-6 locomotives, models which WM operated. For more than a decade, Altizer was living his dream. A cruel wakeup came in 2019 as the railroad lost its only major customer when Verso shut down its paper plant. The closure drained the lifeblood of the local economy and the railroad. A petition to abandon GCK was filed with Surface Transportation Board the following year, and most if not all of the GCK locomotives have been sold.

Long Island caboose C67 built by Morrison in 1963 painted as Georges Creek 67.

Western Maryland Railway kitchen car K-3014, builder and year unknown.

Georges Creek GP9 25 lettered as Western Maryland 25, ex. CSX 6400, exx. Chessie System 25, nee Western Maryland 25 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1954.

Georges Creek GP9 39, ex. Knox and Kane Railroad 39, exx. Gettysburg Railroad 39, exxx. Chessie System/Western Maryland 6414, nee Western Maryland 39 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1951.

Georges Creek S6 154, ex. Trigen Syracuse Energy Corporation 2, exx. Allied Chemical 2, exxx. Chrome Crankshaft 2, nee South Buffalo 42, built by American Locomotive Company in 1956.

From here I drove us to Hyndman, Pennsylvania and our next station.

Baltimore and Ohio Hyndman station in use by CSX.

Chesapeake and Ohio caboose 903556, nee Chesapeake and Ohio 3556, built by the railroad in 1968.

Chesapeake and Ohio bay window caboose 904115 built by the railroad in 1980.

We proceeded to Meyersdale.

Western Maryland Meyersdale station built in 1912. Initially, the depot served two passenger trains in each direction daily, but regular passenger service ceased in 1931. The station continued to serve freight customers and as a maintenance base. After the Western Maryland Railway was abandoned in 1975, the building fell into disrepair.

It is home to he Meyersdale Area Historical Society which supports and promotes activities chronicling our area's story and participates in the development of interest, appreciation, preservation and research in the region's history. The station is leased from the County of Somerset which serves as a visitors' center, local history museum and trailhead on the Great Allegheny Passage hiking and biking trail. The station houses exhibits relating to the region's history, railroad-themed artifacts, operational model train displays featuring a children’s activity area, DVD programs highlighting trail and local attractions, in addition to oral histories and a gift shop. The station is typically open each April through October, offering hospitality and rest area facilities to trail users, tourists and local residents. Staff, volunteers, signage and printed materials at the visitors' center provide information about housing, food service, amenities and attractions not only for the Meyersdale area, but also throughout the county and along the trail.

Baltimore and Ohio caboose C3892 painted as Western Maryland 3235 built by International Car in 1969.

We walked down and over a couple of blocks to the Baltimore and Ohio station. Then we heard a horn and knew a train was on the approach.

CSX 3091 East with CSX SD70MAC 4540 and CSX ES40DC 5303 in the consist. We left Meyersdale and made our way to the Salisbury Viaduct and parked then walked the path to the hiking and bicycling trail to the foot of the viaduct. The entry to the parking area was not well sign-posted and did not match up with the exact location on the map on Elizabeth's mobile phone.

The Salisbury Viaduct display board. The 1,908-foot viaduct soars 101 feet above the Casselman River just west of Meyersdale. The longest trestle on the Great Allegheny Passage, this steel structure was an engineering achievement for the Western Maryland Railway but it was not built without human cost. During construction in 1911, disaster struck when a travelling electric crane crashed to the ground while lifting a 14.5 ton girder. Six men were killed and one was seriously injured in the accident. A month later, another worker died when he fell off the deck of the viaduct. Like all the bridges on this part of the Western Maryland, it was built to accommodate a second track, which was never added. Hundreds of spectators cheered when the first train crossed in 1912. Abandoned as a through-route in 1975, it was decked for bicycle and pedestrian use in 1998.

The Salisbury Viaduct, which Elizabeth walked across and back.

A trio of views on the way back to the car. Next I drove us to Sand Patch but alas, no trains came through in the good amount of time we spent here. Elizabeth then drove us towards Cumberland but a stop was made when we espied something of interest.

Chesapeake and Ohio caboose 903237, nee Chesapeake and Ohio 3237 built by International Car in 1969. We continued on to Bob Evans for dinner, which was excellent as usual, then checked into the Best Western in Braddock for the night.