Cumberland Times-News

Local News

February 28, 2011

Scenic railroad providing 25 photo ops in special excursion

April event will benefit caboose restoration

2/28/2011 — CUMBERLAND — Serious railfan photographers will have the chance to contribute to the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad caboose restoration while taking photos in 25 spots along the 16-mile route from Cumberland to Frostburg.

An April 30 Steam Photo Freight Special will offer outstanding video and photographic opportunities, including new locations cleared by recent logging and brush-clearing.

This trip is a fundraiser to repair and restore WMSR caboose No. 1906, which will be named in honor of the late Richard E. Markle, the train’s conductor. The caboose was damaged in a switching accident in 2005. When finished, its interior will display photos and memorabilia of Markle. This photo special will be the inaugural run of the Richard E. Markle caboose.

The star performer will be the 1916, Baldwin-built, 2-8-0 known as Mountain Thunder. Dressed in a Western Maryland paint scheme complete with a fireball emblem, this ex-Lake Superior and Ishpeming locomotive looks very much at home on the old Western Maryland right of way. The freight train will consist of 10 vintage freight cars and a caboose. Passengers will ride in a coach and a dining car that are dropped for the photo runbys using a Western Maryland GP-30 diesel.

Complimentary muffins, hot chocolate, tea and coffee will be served.  The trip will feature about 25 photo runbys. Cab rides will be available in both the steam and diesel locomotives.

The trip is a joint effort of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and the Carl Franz Photo Special staff. This is their 45th special on the WMSR.

Donations for the caboose restoration can be made by sending a check made payable to the WMSR to 13 Canal St., Cumberland, MD 21502; Attn. Ms. Tonya Wright.

The special leaves the WMSR depot in downtown Cumberland at 7:30 a.m. and returns at 5:30 p.m. To reserve a seat, call Carl Franz at 240-720-8686 or e-mail cmfrr@aol.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the WMSR offices, Suite 303, in the Western Maryland Railway Station.

Markle was a passenger and freight conductor for most of his 44 years on the B&O and CSX.  After his CSX retirement, he became the senior conductor at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad for another 20 years. He died at age 82, just days after completing WMSR’s 2009 season.

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