Work resumes on 1309

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad restarts restoration work on 2-6-6-2 locomotive
RELATED TOPICS: EAST | STEAM/PRESERVATION | RAILFANING
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Steam locomotive restoration specialist Gary Bensman cuts out staybolts for replacement on Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 on Tuesday, May 9.
TRAINS: Jim Wrinn
CUMBERLAND, Md. — Work has resumed on Western Maryland Scenic 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 after a two-month hiatus while the railroad worked with state officials to streamline funding for the 1949 articulated due out later this year.

Steam locomotive restoration specialist Gary Bensman was cutting out staybolts for replacement Tuesday during a visit. The work is expected to move forward with additional help.

"We'll be putting in the tubes soon," Bensman said. "And after that we'll do the hydrostatic test."

In 2016, the Maryland governor’s office set aside $400,000 in a matching grant to aid in the restoration of No. 1309. Scenic railroad General Manager John Garner told Trains News Wire recently that the grant program is designed to contribute to the locomotive's restoration, but the railroad is required to match the state's financial contribution and must first spend its own capital dollars before an approved reimbursement can be processed by the state. Garner said that raising $400,000 for a single project, while also trying to run the railroad has made it difficult for officials to maintain steady cash flow for the railroad. He says state officials are working to make railroad vendors approved state contractors and to also approve vendors' invoices.

Garner said that contractors have about eight weeks of restoration work remaining before the locomotive is ready to go. Remaining projects include preparations for a hydrostatic test for the boiler followed by reassembly work if the test shows the locomotive will safely hold steam and water under pressure.

In January, the railroad set July 1 as the inaugural weekend for No. 1309’s trip into Cumberland and Frostburg, Md. There's no word yet on a new expected completion date.
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