CUMBERLAND — In a historic agreement, three organizations will partner to bring one of the country's largest steam locomotives to Cumberland.
The B&O Museum of Baltimore, Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and WMSR Foundation arranged for the transfer of C&O steam locomotive 1309 from Baltimore to Cumberland - where the locomotive will be restored and later placed in operation on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.
The locomotive will be delivered via flat cars and is expected to arrive in Cumberland by early next week.
The 217-ton locomotive, built for coal service in West Virginia, was one of the last steam engines commercially made by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia. It will be restored and then placed into service on the scenic railroad’s excursion between Cumberland and Frostburg.
The steam locomotive arrived at the B&O Museum in 1972 and has been preserved and displayed for decades.
Created in 1988, the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad is a heritage railroad that operates on the former tracks of the Western Maryland Railways and uses steam and diesel engines.
The addition of 1309 will be the fourth engine for the railroad. It will have two steam and two diesel-powered locomotives.
Earlier this year, officials for the WMSR said the 1949 Baldwin will likely be the most powerful locomotive in the tourist train industry in the country.
The locomotive is the largest articulated -- meaning the way its front wheels move around curves -- steam locomotive in regular operation in the U.S., according to a news release from the WMSR Foundation.
"This locomotive was (built) for tight turns and steep grades and is perfect for our Western Maryland Scenic Railroad," the release states. "(It) will be restored to its former glory."
Once restored, 1309 will operate weekends from May through December.