Rails & Trails Pages

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad 2017

On July 15, 2017, friend Gary Muehlius of Seattle and I rode the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad in Romney, West Virginia.  This is about a 19 mile ride one way and back along the South Branch of the Potomac River. 

This track is owned by the State of West Virginia and leased to the South Branch Valley Railroad which moves unit grain trains, primarily corn, to the feed mill in Moorefield for processing into food for the many local chicken processing companies.

The Potomac Eagle runs a push-pull operation with an engine on each end.  Here is the engine on the north end, a beautiful F-7 (F-unit or covered wagon) built in 1952 for the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad but now painted in the Baltimore & Ohio paint scheme, the railroad the built and ran on these tracks.
Gary poses beside the big girl before we take our ride.
At the other end, pulling our train for the first half of the trip is GP9 #6240.  It is lettered for the B&O but actually is an ex-C&O (Chesapeake and Ohio) railroad engine.  It is owned by the South Branch Valley Railroad and leased to the Potomac Eagle but the lease is running out and a replacement will have to be found for next year.
The Potomac Eagle Railroad advertises eagles, claiming to see eagles on over 90% of the trains.  A gondola and an open air car provide the best viewing locations.  We will ride in the blue open air car for part of the trip and then in the ????
A former B&O wagon top caboose serves as the ticket office.  It is one of only 7 of this style built for the B&O.
Soon after we leave the station we come to a beautiful long curve low trestle approaching the bridge over the south branch of the Potomac River.
You will see better pictures of this later but here is another bridge we soon come across.
Compared to our previous 3 rides the previous 3 days in the Alleghany Mountains, this ride is relatively flat.
One of the scenic locations along the line is this old stone house, built in 1789!!  (Note second picture)
After a few miles we come to "The Trough."  This is a narrow valley about 6 miles long and is only accessible by railroad or river (which is very shallow).
This is the area where the eagle nests are located and eagles are frequently seen flying.  The train stops and lets people go onto the gondola.  At the far end of the run, these passengers will leave and a new set of people get on for the return trip.
Beautiful scenery along the way!!
There were LOTS of tubers, canoers, and kayakers making their way down river.  (Lots of portaging over rocks).
We cross the Sycamore Bridge over the Potomac River's south branch shortly before the far end of the run.
Thanks to Gary for this shot, a favorite publicity location for the Potomac Eagle.
We then take the opportunity to board the F-unit for the remainder of the trip!!
Our engineer is one of the owners of this line.
This is undoubtedly the longest straight section of track we rode in the 4 days of our West Virginia/Maryland trip.
And a cattle guard, reminiscent of western railroading, prevents animals from crossing.
Back at the photogenic long low curved trestle and bridge.
Here is their car shop.  Another First Class car is being refurbished as the roof leaks!
Some of their extra cars including this great caboose.
All too soon, we are back to the depot (note the name:  Wappocomo Station).
Thanks to the Potomac Eagle crew and staff for a great train ride!!!

1 comment: