— CUMBERLAND - The Maryland Historical Trust announced that it was awarding $85,000 to the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Development Corporation to assist with the restoration of former Western Maryland Railway Office car #204.
The funding is through the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, which coordinates the administration of 13 designated heritage areas throughout the State. The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad is based at the historic Western Maryland Railway Station in the Canal Place Heritage Area in downtown Cumberland, Maryland.
The grant, which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by WMSRDC and the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Foundation, will help fund critical work on the car's roof, open platform, car sides, and interior woodwork. The 204 is one of the most complete and significant early steel passenger cars in the country and a significant artifact of Maryland's railroad heritage.
The Pullman Company built car #204 in 1918 as a private railroad car for New York's Peter Rouss. The interior featured an observation room with traditional "open platform", four bedrooms, shower and bathrooms, dining room, kitchen/pantry, and crew quarters.
The Western Maryland Railway acquired the car on March 17th, 1943 for use as an "Office Car", a mobile office and meeting place for company officials. For over 20 years, the car traveled throughout the Western Maryland Railway system, and it visited Cumberland often. In 1964, the railroad sold the car. For the next 50 years it was used as a summer cottage and home at Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County. In early 2014, the family of the late R.R. Johnson donated the car to WMSRDC through Carl Belt, Inc. Other corporate, organization and department donors have included: Bill Miller Equipment, Garrett County Roads Department, Garrett County Sheriff’s Department, Maryland State Highway Administration, Maryland State Police, Allegany County Sheriff’s Department, Cumberland City Police, Department, Keystone Lime Company, Maryland Minerals and Atkinson Welding. The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Foundation has also received grants from the Tom E. Dailey Foundation and the National Railway Historical Society to support the car's restoration.