Railroad Maintenance Partnership Announced
One of the most vital aspects of any organization is community involvement and partnership. Since its inception, the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad has been operating between Cumberland and Frostburg over trackage owned by Allegany County. The railroad has been responsible for maintaining this trackage, with a yearly allocation of funding. Despite this, many of the ties that remain have been in place for a significant amount of time and the trackage has been downgraded from Federal Railroad Administration Class 2 standards to Class 1 standards. Class 2 speed limits allow us to run between Cumberland and Frostburg in 1 hour. Class 1 speed limits lengthen the trip to 1 hour and 30 minutes.
We are thrilled to announce that we have reached an agreement with Allegany County, the owners of the right of way, to turn over track maintenance to them. We anticipate assisting their efforts with our own program of additional yearly track work to bring the right of way to a higher standard than ever before. This will also allow us to shift more focus on our daily operations and upkeep of locomotives and rolling stock.
Once no. 1309 has been inspected and certified by the FRA we will begin testing in earnest. We are focusing all our efforts to prepare the locomotive for inspection and to ready our passenger car fleet for the season, but if resources allow, we may explore the possibility of operating a limited schedule of diesel-powered excursions prior to the grand opening of the season with no. 1309.
We anticipate a mid-summer opening, and we hope to announce a schedule in the coming weeks. When operations resume, we will only be running regular excursion trains between Cumberland and Frostburg with some select special events. We will be monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic and will explore the possibility of resuming our popular dinner trains and other special events as the season progresses. We have some exciting new onboard experiences to choose from and we will share more details once we announce our 2021 schedule.