Mountain Climbing #14704

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The Story

An old railroad steam locomotive pushing thick black coal smoke pulls upgrade in the Maryland mountains with a train of vintage freight cars. A few miles back, Western Maryland  #734 left the station in Cumberland MD with a train of vintage freight cars, hauling them straight out of the past into the now.

This train will run through many scenic places along the tracks, climbing uphill through the hardwood forest to Frostburg, MD. On most weekends while doing its usual job, the Western Maryland #734 steam locomotive pulls short passenger trains full of tourists up and down the mountain. It’s a beautiful scenic ride and a great experience with the smell of smoke and cinders in the air.

It was a very good day to make this photograph in the sunny fall foliage. I truly enjoyed seeing and hearing this old machine go by, throwing black smoke along with all the noise. In this picture, I like some slightly blurred motion in the background while the engine and train are in sharp focus. As a little side note, the camera caught the surprised fireman looking at me standing on the hillside across the ravine.

By making reservations, tourists can take bicycles along on the train ride up the mountain and coast back down sixteen miles on the path made from a once parallel second track. This is known as a “rails with trails”. The bike trail is part of the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail from Cumberland MD to Pittsburgh PA.

Western Maryland #734 is a former Lake Superior & Ishpeming RR 2-8-0 that began operating here in tourism on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad in 1992. It was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works near Philadelphia in 1916. Not entirely original, it has had some slight modifications to give a more Western Maryland RR appearance, such as the fireball logo on the tender. The tender is also different than the original too, but this old steam locomotive certainly looks good and runs great!

There are other interesting views of this Western Maryland Scenic Railroad train on the website, such as Ghost Train #13013 and High Beam #13365, which shows this locomotive heading into a tunnel.

Location: on the mountain railroad line between Cumberland and Frostburg, Allegany County, Maryland. Picture and story © Andrew Dierks

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