Posted by: bgtwindad | March 16, 2010

Press Release: CHHiPS Welcomes WM761

Dateline 16 May 2010
For Immediate Release

Rachel Frost, Director of Public Relations, CHHiPS

The Chestnut Hill Historical Preservation society is proud to welcome WM 761 to its stable of historic railroad equipment.  We are looking forward to seeing her serve the communities of Chestnut Hill and Frost River – and visitors from points around the globe – for many years to come.

In the near term, excursions will be limited to short afternoon tours through the nearby Watash Creek Tunnel, and the occasional railfanning event with freight and passenger equipment in tow.  Once our extended track plans have been funded and completed, we will be providing all-day excursions (onboard lunch included!), dinner trips, and the occasional overnight “special”.  The CH&FR Railroad, which has generously donated its services in operating and maintaining WM 761, also plans to provide weekly passenger service from Frost River to Charleston, West Virginia for connection to the Amtrak Capitol Limited.

WM 761 has a storied past, and also has ties to the local area as well.  We have recently uncovered the following photos showing WM 761 on loan from Western Maryland to the CH&FR some time in the early 20th century.  We are still combing the archives to pin down the exact dates of these operations.

We have restored 761 to the condition and colors shown in these photographs depicting the time she served the CH&FR, and plan to maintain her with these colors and reporting marks.  For official reporting purposes, she will be dual numbered as CHFR 761.

We will also be providing a brief video clip highlighting some of the WM 761 shakedown test runs, courtesy of the Frost River Locomotive Works engineering and maintenance crews.

The CHHiPS would like to thank Jacko-Pat Enterprises for providing WM 761 at “a steal”, the Western Maryland Railway Historical Society and Union Pacific Steam Shop for historical and technical consultation, Frost River Locomotive Works for donating their time, effort, and materials to the restoration effort, and the CH&FR Railroad for donating operating, dispatching, and other services.

WM 761 waits on the spur just west of Watash Creek Tunnel.

WM 761 exits the East portal of Watash Creek Tunnel, Overland coaches in tow.

Video taken of the restored WM 761 by FRLW Engineering crew during shakedown tests.

Please note: the track in the Watash Creek area is in very poor condition due to ongoing construction on the tunnel. Also, the engineer assigned to WM 761, though well trained by UP Steam Shop crews, is still getting used to the controls on this particular engine (he begs forgiveness for such an embarrassing ‘bump’ during coupling). Finally, the video was captured on a FRLW crew member’s personal camera, so sound was unavailable.


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