Western Maryland boosts 1309 project with contractors

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Contractors will speed the day when 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 steams again. This is the cab in July 2015. A new cab has since been built.
Trains: Jim Wrinn

CUMBERLAND, MD. — A day after announcing that it will debut rebuilt 2-6-6-2 No. 1309, Western Maryland Scenic Railroad officials said Thursday they’ll get the job done on time with a little extra help.

Diversified Rail Services, a locomotive restoration contractor from Rossville, Ga., will begin working with the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad's shop crew to complete work on Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309 by Memorial Day, say Project Manager John Hankey and railroad President Mike Brant.

Hankey said that two boilermakers and their assistants are expected to begin installing staybolts Monday, with installation of flues completed by the beginning of March. The next steps will be a hydrostatic test and boiler lagging and jacket.

“We expect the first firing in late April-early May. By that time, the cab will be on, but not running boards or domes and other parts. It will sort-of begin to look like a locomotive.”

WMSR announced Wednesday that tickets are on sale for 1309's inaugural run on July 1. “That gives them all of May and June as a cushion,” Brant said. “Even if they're wrong by 50 percent they still should hit that mark.”

In an interview early December, Brant said he wanted a firm date so the railroad could begin selling tickets.

“I was hoping for a date,” Brant said. “Something in the back of my mind said it would be awfully cool if we could have our inaugural run for July 4.”

Brant said it was apparent that WMSR's small shop force would not able to complete work on 1309 any time soon. Among other things, the railroad's passenger car fleet needs upgrading and restoration using a $250,000 grant from state of Maryland.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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