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Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Frostburg Flyer 6/16/2023

by Chris Guenzler

Folling our morning preparations, Elizabeth and I checked out of the Best Western Hotel and went to Bob Evans Restaurant where we both enjoyed an excellent breakfast. From here I drove us to the Western Maryland station and parked opposite the depot.

Frostburg Flyer Information

The Frostburg Flyer departs from Cumberland, Maryland and traverses the scenic Allegheny Mountains to Frostburg. During your ride, you will pass over creeks, steams, bridges, travel though scenic canyons, a 916 foot-long tunnel and be treated to mountain vista views. Once at Frostburg you will have 90 minutes to enjoy shops and restaurants.

Open air car and coach seating is perfect for families of all ages. Our coaches are indoors and climate-controlled with heating and air conditioning. The open air car provides guests with a fresh air experience, and you will get the full sights, sounds and smell experience of mountain railroading. A concession car will be available for your enjoyment.

Our Trip

We went into the station and Elizabeth picked up our tickets for an exciting trip. We had chosen the open car so took full advantage of this throughout the journey.

Now sit back, relax and enjoy a ride aboard the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Frostburg Flyer.

The ride to the Helmstetters Curve.

The trip around Helmstetters Curve.

The short trip to Brush Tunnel.

The trip through Brush Tunnel, which was constructed in 1911 by the Western Maryland Railway as part of its expansion from Cumberland to Connellsville. The walls of the double-track tunnel are constructed of cement and at either end is a rectangular cement portal with an arched opening and a corbeled edge.

The trip to the old Western Maryland signal bridge. The trail that parallels the track is part of the Great Allegheny Passage which links up to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath in Cumberland. Hikers and bicyclists can enjoy a continuous, off-road trail experience for 334 miles from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. Starting in Cumberland, the Great Allegheny Passage follows the route of the historic Western Maryland Railway as it makes a gradual ascent to the Eastern Continental Divide.

The rest of the trip to Frostburg which I hope you enjoyed. Now here is how the engine is turned.

Western Maryland Scenic Railway B32-8 558, nee Norfolk Southern 3558 built by General Electric in 1989. This is the first and only General Electric locomotive in the history of the Western Maryland Scenic Railway, which arrived in August 2022. The 558 operates long hood forward and is not owned by the railway; it is currently leased from Northern Illinois & Wisconsin Railway.

We then photographed the consist.

Western Maryland Scenic coach 851 "Frostburg" 800397, ex. Amtrak 5477, exx. Seaboard Coast Line 5477, nee Florida East Coast "Cocoa Rockledge", built by Pullman Standard in 1954.

Western Maryland Scenic dome-coach 558 "Stampede Pass" built by the Budd Company in 1954 for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy for service on the Northern Pacific's premier train, the Chicago-to-Seattle North Coast Limited, which the Northern Pacific operated in partnership with the CB&Q. It operated throughout the country in Amtrak service from 1971-1995 before it was sold into private ownership. In the late 1990's, the car was converted from a dome-coach to a dome-sleeper, with the addition of three bedrooms, a galley and a lounge seating area. Paxrail acquired the car in 2015 and named it "Stampede Pass". It features dome seating for 24 passengers, as well as seating in six four-top tables in the dome, 8 booth seats and 11 leather seats in the cherry paneled long lounge and a full galley. Under the dome is a public lavatory as well as a crew/storeroom. Rooms B and C feature double size beds. This dome car has been on lease to the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad for two years. It was also repainted while in service on the WMSR into our red-stripe passenger scheme.

Western Maryland Scenic coach 801, nee Long Island 2900 series, built by Pullman-Standard in the 1950's.

Western Maryland Scenic coach 810 ex. MARC, exx. South Eastern Michigan Transportation Authority 1403, exxx. Penn Central 1482, exxxx. Pennsylvania Railroad 1482, nee Nortfolk and Western "Mercer County", built by Budd Company in 1950, rebuilt from smooth sided ten roommette-six double bedroom.

Western Maryland Scenic coach 803, nee Canadian Pacific Railway 803 built by Canadian Car and Foundry in 1953.

Western Maryland 558.

The railroad's emblem on the engine.

Western Maryland fireball emblem.

The naming of Frostburg sign.

Our train was now ready to go back to Cumberland. We visited the gift shop and bought a couple of T-shirts then walked up to the ice cream stand where I had some mint chocolate chip ice cream.

The two of us and another rider were invited to be in the cab by the engineer.

The view from the cab looking down the rails east.

The long end of the hood is the front of the engine. We then sat at a picnic table awaiting boarding time.

We reboarded and on the way back to Cumberland, I would take only a few pictures.

The bridge over the former Western Maryland Railroad right-of-way.

Helmstetter's Curve on the return trip.

Our tickets for today's journey.

The Western Maryland emblem on the engine.

Returning to Cumberland.

Clinchfield Railroad center cupola caboose 1072 built by the railroad is on display at the station.

We visited the Western Maryland Railiway gift shop but did not purchase anything. I drove Interstate 68 to Interstate 79 to Interstate 70 where Elizabeth took over and drove us to St. Clairsville, Ohio where we had an excellent dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse beore we checked into the Best Western Inn for the night.