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The Western Maryland Scenic to Revisit Operations in 2021

CUMBERLAND, MD- ​COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on Allegany County’s most visual, audible, and ground-shaking community drivers: The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad (WMSR). Like many businesses in the region, the Western Maryland has endured an abrupt shutdown and subsequent restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the railroad studied how guidelines and precautions could be implemented into its operations, it invested in a new website and ticketing system, acquired several vintage passenger cars, and restarted the restoration of Western Maryland steam locomotive no. 1309. With the task of restoring 1309 entering its final phase, the railroad has decided to re-open again in 2021.

Any pre-sold ticket holders may contact the railroad to reschedule their visit for 2021, donate their pre-sold ticket value to the organization, or speak with a reimbursement representative. The 2021 operating season features family-friendly offerings and signature events such as The Polar Express.

We have pooled resources within the historic railroading community from across the country to enhance the experience and identify solutions for a refreshed Western Maryland Scenic railroad come 2021,” shared John Garner, Executive Director. “This same group of enthusiastic preservationists has spearheaded fundraising strategies that have kept No. 1309’s restoration rolling ahead during the railroad’s downtime. Also, 1309’s long-anticipated rebirth is being managed by shop forces and regional craftsmen, which shall bring this project to completion.”

This summer, No. 1309 was re-wheeled and test-fired as part of the massive, 400-ton machine’s meticulous restoration process. Following these milestones, No. 1309 will be test-fired sporadically during the next quarter to verify its reliability and make adjustments in anticipation of a busy 2021. Additionally, track, grade crossings, and railroad infrastructure improvement projects are underway to enhance the railroad’s operations. The communities of Cumberland and Frostburg will continue to benefit from the presence of the WMSR as no. 1309 will capture the imagination and excitement of tens-of-thousands of visitors when Maryland Thunder journeys up the mountain.

To learn more and support the restoration, visit wmsr.com/1309.

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