Cumberland Times-News

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February 4, 2013

Scenic railroad searching for new manager

Retiring superintendent Fowler will stay on until position is filled

CUMBERLAND — Although a new general superintendent is being sought for the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, Frank Fowler, who is retiring from that position, will stay on until the transition is complete.

“It might take a month, it might take six months, to hire a new superintendent,” said Mike Brant, a member of the railroad’s board of directors, on Monday. “Frank has done a great job and he has assured us of his presence until a new superintendent is hired and ready to take over.”

New excursions up the mountain to Frostburg and back begin in May and reservations are starting to come in, Fowler said Monday.

Brant and Fowler said a new manager will need experience in railroad management. Some applications have already been received.

“Frank has been very, very knowledgeable from both the working of the railroad as well as all the regulations,” Brant said. “It is a 12-month position even though the railroad operates for eight months.”

Fowler, who has been superintendent for seven years, said he expects good ridership numbers this coming season because of an improving economy.

An experimental club-car program has been popular and has railroad managers considering establishing a permanent, first-class coach.

The locomotive experience that allows a customer to sit in the engineer’s seat has increased in popularity as well. That experience does not take place during regular runs of the train.

Brant anticipates that the new superintendent will have railroad operation and management background. Marketing experience would be beneficial, Brant said.

A classified ad that appeared in Sunday’s Times-News notes that “WMSR strives to offer a safe, unique and educational experience for guests, while providing a positive economic impact for the region.”

Desired experience includes at least five years’ management and organizational leadership. The salary is based on experience, and applications are due by Feb. 14.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

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