A Day on the Walkersville Southern
Brian Sheron

Lots of sunshine and wonderfully moderate temperatures combined to make the Division's outing on the Walkersville Southern Railroad Sunday, October 17th, a huge success.

At about 3 pm, the Division was treated to a guided tour of the car yard. There we got to see a variety of rolling stock in various stages of restoration. Most of the cars were privately owned, and were kept at the Walkersville Southern RR yard in return for allowing the Walkersville Southern to use them.

Highlights of the yard tour included climbing on and walking through a heavyweight parlor car with sleeping roomettes, and a parlor area, all in unrestored condition as it existed in perhaps the 1930's. We also walked through a vintage cupola caboose in outstanding condition.

There were several ex-Long Island Rail Road p-54 passenger cars in the yard. One was down to the frame, while another was completely restored and turned into a dining car.  The diesel house had two small switching diesels undergoing repair/restoration.  A little after 4 pm, the train returned from its last excursion, and we all boarded. The train consisted of a small switching diesel, a flat car converted to an outdoor observation car with bench seating and a roof, two restored ex-Long Island p-54 passenger cars, and a caboose.

While most of the Division preferred the open flat car, several of the members and guests rode in the p-54s. And by doing so, they got a frst hand accounting of the infamous p-54 "ping-pong" cars by a former Long Island Railroad conductor, Dennis Meany. While Dennis is an NMRA member who lives in Gettysburg, he is often seen at Potomac Division open houses, and is no stranger to our Division.

On that Sunday, not only did Dennis show up, but he also wore his official Long Island Railroad conductor's uniform, complete with hat! During theride, he provided tales about the p-54 cars, such as why riders would pull the shades down all the time, because the windows were made of plain glass, and kids would throw rocks at the train as it traveled between the Long Island suburbs and NYC. He also recalled how the steam pipes used to heat in the cars would leak, hissing steam into the cars. Because the steam was warm, it would rise to the top (roof) of the cars. However, because the car roofs were not insulated, the steam would then condense, causing it to "rain" inside the cars. He recalled how women would get on the trains with perfectly styled hairdos, only to depart at the end of the ride with their hairdos in shambles.

The trip consisted of a slow, leisurely ride south down the old Pennsylvania tracks towards Frederick. As we would come to a road crossing, a volunteer would already be there and would stop traffic so the train could cross. One picturesque spot was where we cross over the trestle at the Monocacy river. Canoers would wave to the train as it went over. And of course, we all waved back! The end of the line is where Route 26 branches off of Route 15 and heads east to Ceresville. At that point, the tracks are paved over.

The train came to a stop, then backed up and we all headed back to Walkersville. The total trip took about 1 hour and 15 minutes, and everyone seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed the trip.
At first page Next page

Jalbum 8.2