Cumberland Times-News

Local News

September 17, 2013

Two classic train engines arrive for 25th anniversary

CUMBERLAND — Two classic train engines are arriving in Cumberland this week to take part in events surrounding this weekend’s 25th anniversary of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

Joining the WMSR’s own engine, Mountain Thunder No. 734, will be the Flagg Coal Co. engine No. 75 and the Viscose Co. engine No. 6.

“We want to do something different. Something people haven’t got a chance to see,” said Dan Pluta, chief mechanical officer for the WMSR.

The Flagg Coal Co. engine, built in the early 1930s, arrived Tuesday morning. The 12-foot-tall, 26-foot-long black engine weighs 40 tons.

“It’s a father and son project that got out of control,” said Barney Gramling, of Ashley, Ind., who owns the engine with his dad.

Gramling and his father have other trains. They take them, by tractor-trailer, to various train festivals and happenings across the country.

The Viscose Co. engine No. 6 is to arrive sometime today.

The WMSR will be offering train rides all weekend in celebration of 25 years of service in Western Maryland.

“It’s a fantastic accomplishment,” said Michael Gresham, general superintendent of the scenic railroad.

Gresham said the railroad has gone through tough times, including the economic recession of 2007-2008, but has kept going.

“I think this weekend’s celebration is going to be a lot of fun for people,” said Gresham.

Canal Place has partnered with the WMSR to offer free train rides on Sunday from the rail station to the narrows and back.  Local historian Al Feldstien will give talks to the passengers on the local transportation history.

Tickets can be obtained at the shops at Canal Place or Kramer’s Deli in the rail station. Rides start at 9:30 a.m.

Train rides this weekend will also include a route Sunday that will travel the line into West Virgina and through Carpendale to the site of the Kingsford Coal Co.. The trip is approximately 45 minutes.

“We are keeping Americana, a piece of history, alive,” said Pluta.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com

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