Echoes of the Past: A Journey on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad
The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad (WMSR) is a remarkable journey through history, combining the allure of heritage railroad travel with the beauty of the Allegheny Mountains. Based in Cumberland, Maryland, the WMSR operates passenger excursion trains and occasional freight trains using both steam and diesel locomotives. The main attraction of this line is its steam locomotive, which is notably the largest operating steam locomotive on the East Coast. Specifically, the Baldwin Locomotive Works Steam H-6 2-6-6-2, operational since 1949, carries this distinction【11†source】.
The train ride begins at the Western Maryland Railway Station in Cumberland, a historical site built in 1913. This station also houses a visitor center for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, adding to the cultural richness of the starting point. The journey then follows the former Western Maryland Railway line northwest through the Cumberland Narrows, a stunning water gap, and proceeds up the Allegheny Front, passing noteworthy landmarks such as Helmstetter’s Curve, Brush Tunnel, and Woodcock Hollow. The train’s destination is the former Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad depot in Frostburg, where passengers have about 90 minutes to explore the town【9†source】.
The train route is paralleled by the Allegheny Highlands Trail of Maryland, part of the Great Allegheny Passage bicycle trail. This unique feature allows cyclists to board the train with their bikes, disembark in Frostburg, and enjoy a downhill cycle back to Cumberland【10†source】.
Passengers of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad can enjoy a variety of luxurious experiences during their journey. The train offers comfortable streamlined passenger cars for a scenic round-trip journey. Among the special excursions available are the “Moonlight On The Mountain” trips, where passengers can enjoy live music and drinks while admiring the mountain vistas. The “Mountain Dinner Trains” provide a unique dining experience with an onboard chef preparing scrumptious meals amidst the scenic backdrop. Additionally, the “Murder Mystery Dinner Trains” offer an entertaining experience where passengers can enjoy dinner while engaging in a fun mystery-solving adventure【17†source】【18†source】【19†source】【20†source】【21†source】.
Overall, the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad offers a unique combination of historical travel, stunning natural scenery, and luxurious experiences, making it a must-visit destination for train enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.