Mo & Terry Smedley


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Appalachian Autumn (2008) Tour

Part 4:  Cumberland, MD

On Wednesday (October 15), our bus took us on the short ride South from Cumberland, Maryland to Romney, West Virginia.  In Romney, we boarded the 'Potomac Eagle' excursion train for a three-hour trip along the South branch of the Potomac River.

Looking West down the pedestrian plaza on Baltimore Avenue in Cumberland.    The historic downtown area is very clean and has numerous restaurants and shops.  A giant guitar on the pedestrian plaza, just outside a music store. The 'Potomac Eagle' train sits at the depot in Romney awaiting our departure.    This 52 mile branch line is owned and operated by the State of West Virginia.  Freight service is provided five days a week, and during the tourist season there are multiple daily departures of the excursion train. Right at the Romney station is a driving range, just in case you want to knock a bucket of balls while waiting for the train.  This photograph was taken from the very same spot as the previous picture, so you can see how close it is to the station.
While waiting for our excursion train to leave, we got to see a freight working its way North to Green Spring where it will interchange with the CSX railroad. We traveled and had lunch in the first class "club car".  These luxury cars were custom built for the Chesapeake & Ohio (Chessie) in 1950, but saw very limited service for their original owner as the Chessie (and all other major US railroads) began to eliminate passenger service in the 1960s.  Notice their unusual design compared to traditional dining cars (with many different shapes, sizes, and orientations of the tables and chairs). On our tour, we have two retired librarians.  Paul retired from the University of Wyoming; Mary from the University of Wisconsin.  This was the "librarian's table". For a portion of the trip, passengers can ride in an open-air gondola.  The weather was just perfect for being outside today.
Along the South Fork of the Potomac River, taken from the open-air gondola. The gondola sits right behind the locomotive, an ex B&O GP9. Just North of Petersburg, the train reverses direction to head back to Romney.  An ex Chessie F3 locomotive pulls us back home. From the train we could see these stone walls, which were originally built in the Colonial era.