Possible restoration of C&O 1309


Using Trainz since 2003
From Trains Magazine
CUMBERLAND, Md. – In a search for potential additional steam power as it begins its 25th season of operation, the mountain-climbing Western Maryland Scenic Railroad is investigating more steam power to supplement its 2-8-0. One possible contender is Chesapeake & Ohio class H-6 Mallet 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore.

B&O Museum chief curator David Shackelford confirms the initial inquiries to Trains News Wire. “The Western Maryland Scenic contacted the B&O concerning acquiring the engine. The museum is in the early stages of evaluating their request, and no decision has been made at this time,” Shackelford says. He rejects numerous Internet rumors that stated the loco is already being prepared for shipment or is already confirmed as going to Cumberland.

Western Maryland Scenic Chief Mechanical Officer Dan Pluta says the railroad is looking at other steam locomotives. A second steam locomotive is desirable because “our regular operations are demanding, even severe in the tourist railroad world, and although we have missed a minimal number of trips in the past 20 years, a back-up locomotive would be a benefit.”

Since its establishment as an excursion operation in 1989, the Western Maryland Scenic has relied on 2-8-0 No. 734, former Lake Superior & Ishpeming No. 34, built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1916. The locomotive was acquired in 1992 from a private individual that acquired it from Illinois Railway Museum. It went into service in 1993 as a close approximation of a former Western Maryland H7a-class 2-8-0 built by American Locomotive’s Richmond works in 1911, of which the real-life Western Maryland No. 734 was a member.

The “replica” No. 734 is approaching a long-planned major overhaul at the end of the 2015 season, and although the railroad also rosters a pair of former Conrail GP30s occasionally used in excursion service, steam remains an important part of the railroad’s “Mountain Thunder" marketing and image. The search for steam power that could haul longer fall-season and Christmas passenger trains over the Western Maryland Scenic’s steep grade to Frostburg — more than 2 percent in spots — means that not just any steam locomotive is suitable. Any steamer acquired would likely face a rebuilding or overhaul process taking a year or more, although Pluta says, “We expect the overhaul of No. 734 to take approximately five to six months.” The locomotive’s last “1472-day” overhaul was in 2000-01, and took a mere two and a half months, Pluta says. More work is anticipated this time.

One important consideration for any potential substitute for No. 734: It must be able to fit the former WM turntable from Elkins, W. Va., now used to turn engines and change tracks at Frostburg, Md., the other end of the excursion. The two GP30s fit with inches to spare and considerable overhang at the ends, while C&O No. 1309, despite its massive appearance, has a wheelbase, including tender, of 88 feet. No. 734 sports a much larger tender than its ”prototype” WM H-7a class did.

Part of a 1948 order for ten such locomotives, C&O No. 1309 was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Eddystone, Pa. in September 1949 near the end of domestic steam production for Baldwin. Considering its late construction date, No. 1309 and its nine sisters of the 1949 H-6 class were built to a considerably archaic design, first delivered to the railroad in 1911 as an improvement upon earlier 2-6-6-2 designs.

The H-6 class featured a compound design, where high-pressure steam was used first in the rear pair of cylinders and then re-used at a lower pressure in the larger front cylinders before being exhausted.

Compound articulated locomotives like No. 1309 enjoyed a brief surge in popularity between their development by Frenchman Anatole Mallet in 1885 and the post-World War One era. The Baltimore & Ohio rostered the first North American Mallet, 0-6-6-0 No. 2400 Old Maud, built by American Locomotive Co. at its Schenectady Works in 1904. Compound Mallets eventually lost favor to “simple” articulated, which fed high-pressure steam to two pairs of cylinders simultaneously. The latter-day largest articulated steamers, such as the B&O EM-1 2-8-8-4s, C&O Allegheny 2-6-6-6s (the heaviest reciprocating steamers ever built), Norfolk & Western Class A 2-6-6-4s, and Union Pacific Challenger 4-6-6-4 and Big Boy 4-8-8-4 classes, were simple articulateds. C&O Allegheny No. 1604 is also part of the B&O Museum’s collection, currently displayed in a car shop building adjacent to the museum’s landmark roundhouse.

No. 1309 worked out of the C&O's Peach Creek terminal in Logan, W.Va., in relative obscurity on mine run and switching for only seven years before being retired in 1956. It remained in the Peach Creek roundhouse in Logan, W. Va. until the mid-1970s when No. 1309 was transferred to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, along with several other C&O steamers that had languished in a dead line in Russell, Ky. No. 1309 spent years on prominent display in the front lot of the B&O Museum before weathering severely and being withdrawn to storage pending future cosmetic restoration. If restored to operation, No. 1309 would be one of the few compound steamers. Black Hills Central in South Dakota and Niles Canyon Railway in California sport 2-6-6-2Ts, and Oregon Coast Scenic is near completion of a rare 2-4-4-2
I'd give my Atlas N-scale GP-7 in Katy Colors, my vintage Texas Special Breakfast menu, and my entire collection of Lionel Postwar O-gauge rolling stock and motive power to see C&O 1309 back under steam. Hell, I'd love to see her doublehead with 734! I hope this goes through, personally. Next stop--WM 4-6-2 No. 202.
It almost seems that there is a sudden war to get unique locomotives up and running. The Big Boy, Santa Fe 5000, the 1309...whats next?
I want to see 202 run more than just about anything... but not in Cumberland. They don't necessarily mistreat their equipment, but they don't take the best care of it, either.
1309 Restoration

After talking to people at the B&O Museum in Baltimore today - 5-15-2014 - engine 1309 is still sitting outside waiting to be pulled to the restoration facility about 1/2 mile west.
It sounds great that they are going to restore the 1309 and even give it to the WMSR because even though I like the 734 it sure has seen better days. And does anyone know if The Western Maryland had any mallet engines in their roster