Train buffs, history buffs and those who just enjoy riding the rails find an excursion on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad is an exciting adventure. The nonprofit railroad in Cumberland, Maryland, offers “a unique experience visitors won’t get anywhere else,” said Charles Brotemarkle, passenger services manager for the railroad.
With an almost 17-mile climb up along the ridges of “Mountain Maryland,” the railroad’s Frostburg Flyer offers spectacular views, said Wesley Heinz, executive director at Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.
“We have some of the most wonderful scenery in America,” Brotemarkle said. “We go through the Allegheny Mountains following a super scenic trail between Cumberland and Frostburg.”
The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad recently added the restored steam locomotive No. 1309, the world’s largest operating mallet steam locomotive, to its lineup. The 1309 is now the line’s centerpiece.
“It’s definitely our top crowd pleaser,” Brotemarkle said. “Just watching the historic machine is magic.”
On Thursdays, historic diesel engines pull vintage passenger cars, but Friday through Sunday, the No. 1309 is the star of the show.
The 1309, built in 1949, is the largest engine of its type still operating in the world and the largest operating steam locomotive in the East, Heinz said.
For an additional fee, groups can charter the 1309 on days it does not normally operate.
Trains stop in Frostburg, where passengers have 1 1⁄2 hours to explore the downtown. On select dates, visitors can enjoy Evening Dinner Trains, including Murder Mystery Dinner Trains or Moonlight on the Mountain trips. Daytime trains take 4 1⁄2 hours, while dinner and evening trains take about 3 1⁄2 hours.
Groups of 15 or more get a 10% discount. Coach seating, deluxe dome car and lounge seating are available. Box lunches may be ordered in advance. Free motorcoach parking is available at the station.
For more information call 301-759-4400 or visit wmsr.com.
Main image and credit: Courtesy of Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and its Supporters
Article by Kathie Sutin