Western Maryland lays out timetable for final 1309 restoration push

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Western Maryland's rebuild of C&O 1309 is in the final few months of work.
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CUMBERLAND, Md. — Western Maryland Scenic Railroad’s contractor on the restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 on Wednesday laid out a timetable that leads to the engine’s debut for the long July 4 weekend.

Gary Bensman in a video interview with Western Maryland Scenic Executive Director John Garner said his crew is focused on piping on the boiler and plans to install the rear engine in March, the front engine in April, and have the engine testing in May.

The boiler was test fired last September but reassembly work was slowed while suppliers reproduced parts that went missing in a theft of items belonging to the engine.

The $2.6 million project was delayed multiple times as the cost of the project grew from an early $800,000 estimate and funding lagged behind. Work resumed last spring, but was hampered after it was discovered that a former railroad employee had stolen and scrapped critical parts.

On Tuesday, the John Emery Rail Heritage Trust awarded the project $40,000.

If this timetable holds, No. 1309 will hit the rails about the same time Union Pacific sends newly restored Big Boy No. 4014 on its inaugural voyage in May.

When restoration is complete, No. 1309 will be the only operating compound-mallet type locomotive east of the Mississippi River. A 1309 Club has been created to find 200 donors interested raising money to finish the engine. To help, see, wmsr.com/support-co-1309-restoration/




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