1309 receiving boiler tubes

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Boiler tubes ready for installation on Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309.
Kevin Gilliam
CUMBERLAND, Md. — The tubes are going into Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad shops in Ridgeley, W.Va. After a delay that stopped work on account of waiting for state grant money funds to be released, the 1309 project is back on track, and crews are busy at work on the giant steam locomotive. A recent visit to the railroad found Gary Bensman from Diversified Rail Services and his crews working on firebox patches and installing tubes, along with performing laser scans of the frame.

The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad operates over the former Western Maryland main line between Cumberland and Frostburg, Md. In May 2014, the railroad announced that former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309, a longtime resident at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore, would be returned to operating condition. The Western Maryland Scenic operated former Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2-8-0 No. 34, decorated as Western Maryland No. 734, on tourist trains from 1993 until her boiler certificate ran out in early 2016. Steep grades and heavy trains meant that No. 734 often needed diesel assistance on the 3-percent pull into Frostburg, and the acquisition and rebuilding of C&O No. 1309 is set to alleviate the extra diesel crew, which railroad officials expect will save the organization money. When operational, No. 1309 will be the largest operating steam locomotive in the United States.

The current projected completion plan is to have No. 1309 ready for service later this year.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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