C&O 1309 Restoration Work Finally Nears Completion

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Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 is undergoing restoration the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad (WMSR), and has been for some time. Numerous setbacks have befallen the restoration work.

Kevin Keefe has posted an update over on the Classic Trains website:

"As anyone who follows steam restorations knows, bringing a big engine back to life is a marathon, never a sprint. Union Pacific and its Big Boy notwithstanding, nearly every organization that has gotten into the game quickly discovered it would be a long and sometimes agonizing haul.

I have firsthand knowledge. When I began scraping my knuckles on a Berkshire in college, it was 1971. That engine, Pere Marquette 1225, wouldn’t turn a wheel under its own power for another 15 years. "

Full Story:
Even restoring a diesel is time consuming and expensive. A steam locomotive is an order of magnitude more of both.
Add in volunteers whose enthusiasm in many cases outweighs their experience, and you end up multiplying that amount, as well.
That is true of course, and restoring a an articulated locomotive is like restoring a locomotive and a half, since you have two steam engines (the pistons and running gear portion) under one boiler.

That said, this restoration has been far longer and more complicated than expected, with twist and turns and setbacks that aren't normal. They've fought a tough battle and it's nice to see they're getting close to done.

Fast forward to now. The 1309 has been on a long journey since escaping static display at the B&O Museum and coming to Ridgeley a few years ago. Acquired to provide more power than WMSR’s regular engine, ex-Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2-8-0 No. 734, the 1309 has endured all manner of setbacks, from the usual unexpected mechanical challenges to the theft of some key parts to the vagaries of fund-raising. But recent infusions of cash, some of it sparked by a campaign sponsored by Trains magazine as well as a $50,000 gift from the Emery Rail Heritage Trust, have helped. Trains recently reported the 1309 project has cost $2.8 million to date.

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