Walkersville Southern Railroad
|Locale||Frederick County, Maryland|
|Dates of operation||1995–|
|Predecessor||Penn Central Transportation Company|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Length||6.72 miles (11 km)|
The Walkersville Southern Railroad (reporting mark WS) is a 6.72 mile (11 km) heritage railway in Walkersville, Maryland. running from MP 60.0 south of Woodsboro, MD to MP 66.72 just north of Route 26 near Frederick, Maryland (Using PRR Milepost data where mileage ran north to south, and Frederick, MD was at MP 69.0).
The Walkersville Southern Railroad runs track and structures originally built by the Frederick and Pennsylvania Line railroad. This railroad ran from Frederick, Md to the Pennsylvania-Maryland State line, or Mason–Dixon line near Kingsdale,PA. Chartered in 1867, the railroad started construction in 1869 and cost $868,687.50 ($2017=17,367,000). It opened October 8, 1872 and was subsequently leased to the Pennsylvania Railroad from January 1, 1875 and in July of that year, PRR formed a new division, the Frederick division to operate the rail line. In the spring of 1896, it was liquidated in a judicial sale to the Pennsylvania Railroad for 10% of its 1896 book value. Pennsylvania reorganized the railroad in December, 1896 as the Frederick and Northern Railroad Company. In March 1897, this new company was itself merged with other Pennsylvania-controlled railways (Littlestown Railroad and the Hanover and York Railroad Company) into the Hanover and York Railroad Company, chartered under the general laws of Pennsylvania and Maryland. In 1914, this railroad and the newly built Central Railroad of Maryland were then merged into the York, Hanover and Frederick Railway Company which remained a wholly owned stock subsidiary of the PRR into the creation of the PennDel company in December 31, 1953 and then the Penn Central merger in 1968 and then bankruptcy in 1970. The Frederick and Pennsylvania Line segment was transferred to the State of Maryland in 1982 for unpaid taxes.
One of the industries that fed the railroad during its earliest time of operations was the Lime Kiln in Walkersville. This was among the industries that fueled the need of the railroad, to ship fertilizer to farmers in and around the Walkersville region. The Frederick Secondary remained in the control of the Pennsylvania Railroad even into the creation of the Penn Central Railroad. The Walkersville Southern operates on part of the Penn Central's Frederick Secondary. Penn Central, then in bankruptcy, sold the line to the state of Maryland in 1972 after Hurricane Agnes washed out the bridge over the Monocacy River. The line remained dormant until 1980 when the Maryland Midland Railway began operations over the route between Walkersville north to Taneytown. South of Walkersville the right-of-way, devoid of freight customers, was overtaken by brush and weeds.
Volunteers for the new Walkersville Southern began restoring the line in 1991. The State of Maryland awarded the company operation of the line south of Walkersville in 1993 and tourist trains began running to the Monocacy River in 1995. The bridge was rebuilt, completed in March 1996, and trains began crossing the river, 23 years after Agnes. In 1998, the line was rebuilt to its current terminus at Maryland Route 26 in Frederick. Although crossing Maryland Route 26 was in the original plan to reach potential freight customers in downtown Frederick, the rise in automobile traffic over Route 26 and the departure of potential customers from Frederick led to the eventual abandonment of any further restoration plans into the city. Current local government plans call for the old right-of-way south of Route 26 to be converted into a hiker-biker trail.
In November 2008, Maryland granted rights to operate three miles of right-of-way to the north, linking to the Maryland Midland Railway at North Glade Road. In 2013 the summer steam excursion was routed over a portion of the newly restored track. As of the January 1st, 2014 the north division has been restored.
Today, the railroad runs two to three round trips daily on Saturdays and Sundays in May, June, September, and October; and on Saturdays only in July and August. They also host some special events, including some on weekends and during the off-season. In some cases individuals with their own equipment can use the right of way with prior permission or during selected special events.
The railroad typically operates unique industrial diesel locomotives, all rarely seen in today's modern railroading. In 2012, the railroad operated steam excursions for the first time using the Gramling Locomotive Works "Flagg Coal 75" an 0-4-0T tank engine. The 75's operation marked the first time a steam locomotive had operated on this railway since the Pennsylvania Railroad last ran steam over 60 years ago. In 2013, steam returned in the form of Lehigh Valley Coal 126, also owned by the Gramling family.
|1||||Plymouth Locomotive Works||18-ton switcher||1941||Display||Formerly operated by the Wilmington & Western Railroad|
|2||||Davenport Locomotive Works||25-ton switcher||1939||Operational. MOW locomotive||Built on steam switcher frame|
|DGVR 45||||General Electric Transportation||GE 45-ton switcher||June 1943||Operational||Formerly US Army 7496 at the Army Air Forces Depot, Orlando, FL, during WW II; owned by Al Leyh|
|101||||Electro-Motive Division||EMD Model 40||1942||Primary locomotive; Operational.||One of only 11 EMD built in total; formerly US Army 7954 during WW II|
|3||||Davenport Locomotive Works||20-ton switcher||1942||Under restoration||Formerly US Army 7707 at Fort Holabird, MD, during WW II|
|9331||||General Electric Transportation||GE 44-ton switcher||1948||Operational||Owned by the Strasburg Railroad from 1960s to 2013; now owned by Jamie Haislip|
|9339||||General Electric Transportation||GE 44-ton switcher||1948||Operational||Original PRR equipment; formerly South Carolina Railroad Museum 33; owned by Jamie Haislip|
|Open excursion car||||Two cars; #10 and #11||Unknown. #11 ex-B&O, #10 ex-WVN||Both cars operational||Primarily found on summer trains|
|P54||||Four cars||Long Island Railroad||Four cars fully operational. One lettered "Ligonier Valley". Three used in passenger service. One used as a dining car.||Used year-round; formerly owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road between 1908-1972.|
|Troop Sleeper||||One car||Pullman-Standard||Operational||Used on the dinner train; ex-WM car, originally US Army in World War II|
|Solarium Observation Car||||One car||Pullman-Standard||Operational||Part of the dinner train consist; was operated on the Southern Pacific Lark train|
The Pullman solarium car, named the Meadow Lark, is owned by the Chesapeake Railway Association and under restoration by the WS. The railroad uses it on dinner trains as a dressing room for dinner theater actors and as a mount for a generator (attached to the car's underside) for providing electrical power to the train. In addition to the RF&P 923 , and Wabash 2827  Cabooses hosted for the CRA,the railroad also hosts a number of private equipment for multiple individuals. For example there is a private but active PRR N5 in the yard .
Walkersville Southern Railroad Museum
The Maryland Midland Railway hosted special excursions prior to the formation of the WS. These were the last passenger operations until 1993. 
The WSRR has two divisions,the North Division and the South Division. These divisions are from the train yard until the end of the line in their respective cardinal directions.
Notes and references
- Piedmont and Western Railroad Club. "Railroad Reporting Marks_W". Retrieved 2010-07-28.
- Walkersville Southern Railroad. Accessed 2010-10-24.
- "THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD COMPANY: Corporate, Financial and Construction History Of Lines Owned, Operated and Controlled To December 31, 1945.". by Coverdale & Colpitts digitized by the Hagley Museum. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
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- Railroad website history material.
- Celebrating 20 Years of Walkersville Southern Railroad! Video notes the project to rebuild the railroad from its derelict state in 1990 .
- "Todd's Railfan Guide to the Walkersville Southern RR". Railfan Guides of the U.S. Retrieved 14 July 2015.