Western Maryland Scenic restarts work on 1309 with successful FRA hydro

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A pressure gauge shows 262 pounds on No. 1309's boiler.
Diversified Rail Services
C&O 2-6-6-2 No. 1309's restoration is back on track at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.
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CUMBERLAND, Md. — Western Maryland Scenic Railroad's restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 is underway again in a big way: the railroad and contractor Diversified Rail Services announced Friday that the locomotive has passed a Federal Railroad Administration hydrostatic test.

After major funding ran out last fall and work ebbed to a trickle, but wheel work continued as a result of donations from Trains readers contacted by direct mail. At the time contractor Gary Bensman said a crew of 4-6 could finish the engine in six months if about $530,000 was raised for the remaining work. The replacement of 12 staybolts was all that was needed to get the hydrostatic test done for the benefit of an FRA inspector.

On Friday, the railroad and the contractor sent out a photo showing a pressure gauge reading of 262 pounds per square inch, or 25 percent over the maximum allowable working pressure of 210 pounds.

With the hydro behind it, the grates and superheaters can go in and a test fire performed. Additional running gear work is a big part of the additional time and cost of the restoration. The railroad and contractor declined Friday to discuss the funding source for renewed work, a timetable, or other details.

When completed No. 1309, the last steam locomotive Baldwin built in 1949 for domestic use, would be one of the largest steam locomotives in regular service in America, and the only Mallet type in operation east of the Mississippi.

That impressive pedigree and the bragging rights that come with it carry a steep price. So far, the restoration has cost about $1.8 million, including at least $800,000 in funding from the state of Maryland.

A donation page is available on the railroad website at www.wmsr.com.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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