State of Maryland begins payments to Western Maryland Scenic Railroad

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Steam locomotive restoration specialist Gary Bensman cuts out stay bolts for replacement on Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 on Tuesday, May 9.
TRAINS: Jim Wrinn
CUMBERLAND, Md. — The Western Maryland Railroad and its contractors have received payments totaling $128,772, according to Maryland state officials. Restoration work has started again on 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 at the railroad's shop in Ridgeley, W.Va.

A spokesman for the Maryland State Treasurer's Office said Wednesday that two additional checks for $30,000 and $24,396 are in process and should be completed by next week, bringing total payments to $183,168.

A recent visitor to the WMSR told Trains News Wire that Diversified Rail Services crews were back on the job last week.

Originally the WMSR planned to have the locomotive in service by July, but payment delays from the state forced the railroad to stop work. The locomotive now should make its debut in the fall, although it will be another two weeks before the railroad can announce a date.

The scenic railroad bought No. 1309 from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore in June 2014. It is a former Chesapeake & Ohio Class H6, one of 10 locomotives that were the last built by Baldwin Locomotive Works for use in the United States.

When it becomes operational, it will be among the largest steam locomotives operating in the U.S. It's estimated that restoration costs will be about $1 million. The scenic railroad received a $400,000 capital grant from the state in 2016. The payments made so far were drawn from this grant.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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