Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Expands Popular Train Rides
CUMBERLAND, MD (August 3rd) – For the first time since 2019, the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad is operating sold-out passenger train rides through Mountain Maryland. The railroad’s popular Ice Cream Trains have welcomed over 1,000 passengers over two weekends to downtown Cumberland station. The Ice Cream train will expand to include departures from Frostburg on August 6th and 20th.
“While the railroad hosts visitors from around the country, we specifically wanted to create an experience aboard our trains with the local community in mind. This is our way of welcoming many first-time riders and life-long residents aboard the Scenic,” explained newly appointed interim executive director Wes Heinz. “Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive and it’s been great for our employees and volunteers to get to meet so many of our neighbors.”
Priced at $10.00 ticket, the 30-minute train rides have operated every hour on the hour at 5 PM, 6 PM, and 7 PM along with the railroad’s Frostburg Flyer, a 4-hour excursion between Cumberland and Frostburg, and Hand On the Throttle, a recurring event that allows visitors to operate a real diesel locomotive. The Scenic has also announced plans for the return of the Polar Express holiday train rides and the Murder Mystery Dinner Train later this year. For more information or to book tickets, click here.
“The Scenic is an asset for this community, though we’ve not always fully embraced this role,” explained Heinz. “As we prepare to test and operate our historic steam locomotive no. 1309 in the coming months, we want our neighbors to know they’re welcome here.”
Progress on the years-long restoration of locomotive no. 1309 has taken place amid the railroad’s re-opening and the Scenic has expanded its staff to include a Passenger Services Manager and a dedicated Operations Mechanic.
“We’ve been waiting for a few firebox components to become available for the locomotive, which has been delayed by ongoing supply chain and production issues related to the pandemic. As we take possession of these materials, we’re also working with Federal Railroad Administration officials to make sure 1309 is not only a safe and compliant machine, but a reliable one for years to come,” explained Heinz.
In addition, the Scenic has also signed a long-term lease agreement for the historic railroad passenger car Ocean View, which was the last full-length dome car used in intercity passenger service in the United States before being retired by Amtrak. Combined with first-class passenger cars, a new open-air car, Western Maryland’s passenger offerings have been almost completely overhauled.