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Edition #212  December 15, 2013

Same As It Never Was

Photographer: Kevin N. Tomasic

                                                                      Photo by Kevin N. Tomasic

Same As It Never Was

It’s Late September 2012 and we’re in Ridgeley, West Virginia. Ridgeley was famous for being the junction where the Connellsville and Elkins lines of the Western Maryland Railway joined to funnel fast freight and coal east to Baltimore. Before 1975 and the Chessie System takeover, the yard hummed with activity, but time and changing traffic patterns rendered it obsolete.

On this day though, it’s humming again with a beautiful fireball painted 2-8-0 and a couple of WM black and gold SD’s gleaming in the sun. The whole scene has an air of being just a bit too perfect and it is…….why you may ask. Well, here’s the truth of the matter.

The shop in the background is an old car shop and the reason that the locomotives call it home is that it was a building that CSX forgot to tear down—the original Maryland Junction loco shop is buried in the dust a mile or so east. The steam engine never ran on the old WM, it was brought here by the Western Maryland Scenic Railway to pull passengers—it’s a good looking stand in for a WM H8, but it made its living up in Michigan hauling iron ore. The two diesels are original WM locos repatriated by the Georges Creek Railway to hopefully pull some coal trains. The SD40 7471 is still pretty close to her WM specs (though a Nathan M-5 horn would look good on her cab), but the SD35 7436 is pretty well changed from her WM days. She now sports a non turbo charged engine and some strange lumps and bumps on her cab and long hood courtesy of a CSX rebuild program. You might also notice the wide vision caboose lettered for WM—they never had a cabin so modern, except when an N&W run through passed by here.

 It’s just one of those scenes where you saw wow that looks great, it must’ve been something have been there back when……but it never looked like this back “then”. Same as it never was, same as it never was.

Kevin N. Tomasic


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