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Cumberland Shops (CSX Railfan Mag. NOV.99)
From its humble beginnings in the height of B&O's steam era to today's era of modern technology, the names and faces have changed, but the "Shops in Cumberland" haven't missed a beat!
Story by Denny Fisher & Joey Gonciarz
Photos by Denny Fisher


Cumberland shops is home to CSXs' SD70ACs. A SD70 and GP40-2 sit outside of the main building  

The shops in cumberland have changed quite a bit from its' steam era beginnings, but have also remained the same in some ways. The pride that makes Cumberland stand out is evident with every visit to the shops. At one time, the shops consisted of a major "Heavy Repair" facility, to repair and service B&Os' steam locomotives and first generation diesels, but is now downgraded to a "Quality Maintenace Shop", status with CSX Running repairs

of every kind are carried out on a daily basis as Cumberland remains a vital point on the CSX system. Located 177 miles west of Baltimore, Md., the shops are vital point on CSX's Chicago to Baltimore mainline. With the downgrade and (or) closure of many other system repair facilities, Cumberland stands tall as it has for over 80 years serving the B&O up until the mid 1970's, the Chessie System untill1986 and finally CSX. New priorities for CSX have brought about much in the way of changes through-out the system and the recent acquistion of former

Conrail lines have brought a major increase in line traffic through Cumberland. CSX has nowupgraded the facility recently to deal with the increase in traffic by laying new yard tracks, purchase of new machines, tools, ect. and has hired many new employees as well. Again, changes are well under way for Cumberland's shops. One fact remains regarding this historic place: The names and faces have changed, but the "CSX shops in Cumberland haven't missed a beat".

  During Christmas Opne house on Dec 1 ,1998 CSX had #700 (Spirit Of Cumberland) on display!


Here we see the new wheel truing machine, now wheels can be machined without removing them from the locomotive!  

CSX Cumberland locomotive facility was originally built by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in and around 1919. Built to service B&Os large Steam roster, the main shop building was built just a little to the south of the first roundhouse. The first round house was built in 1913 and had 31 stalls compared to the 10 stalls of todays configuration, 2 of which are for storage ad office and a computer room. B&O built 2 round houses and used both for some time. In the mid 1950's, B&O closed the locomotive

shop for a short period of time to modernize and upgrade. This was done to retool, buy and custom make machines and equipment to repair and service B&O's growing fleet of first generation diesel locomotives. After completion, Cumberland shops was now B&Os premier heavy repair facility for diesel locomotives.


Although retooled and re-equiped for diesels, many steam era items remained on the property for quite a few years. The B&O also bought 2 100 ton cranes, and 1 30 ton crane to accommodate the new technology. the 100 foot turn table, was also rebuilt to a 115 foot table). During the Chessie era, Cumberland served as 1 of 2 heavy repair facilities on the vast system. The other heavy repair facility was of C&O heritage, that was Huntington, WV. Heavy repair was performed on all of

  A traction motor has just had it's wheels turned, now ready to be placed back with its traction motor!

Chessie's large fleet of EMDs at Cumberland, Md. Anything repairable was brought to Cumberland, no job was toobig or too small, with much work like, prime mover rebuilds, power assemblies, traction motors, generators, alternators, turbos, wheels turned and trued and all phases of  repairs and replacements. Cumberland also painted locomotives as the were changed over from B&O, C&O and Western Maryland.

A rare view, from the engineers seat of 700 during open house, we see a GE CW40-8 in the distance waiting service!  

Although we have no official information regarding the number of employees during the B&O era we can tell you that the Chessie System employed over 700 people at the Cumberland Shops in its busiest time, and some 950 locomotives were assigned in or out of Cumberland. CSX brought about many changes for Cumberland shops. The most significant change to date for the historical shops was the eventual downgrading of the shops to a

Running Repair Facility in the mid 1980s. This meaning, Cumberland would only perform light to medium repairs (including power assemblies, turbos, generators, alternators, traction motors, trucks, brakes,anything cosmetic etc.).FRA 45 and 92 day (Q) inspections as well as turnaround service (fueling, sanding, inspecting and general service) of road locomotives. Cumberland would no longer be essentially rebuilding any locomotives as it had for over 70 gracious years.


Cumberland is home to CSX's fleet of SD70AC's . These locomotives have essentially been based out of Cumberland since new in 1997. EMD's have been the speciality of the shops, though , FRA inspections and light repair of GE locomotives are made on GE's, they are shipped south to Waycross, GA. for heavy repair. Today, CSX Transportation employ's 273 people at Cumberland shops and 600 men and women in Cumberland. CSX rebuilt the

ready track and equipment in early 1990 for service (fueling, sanding, etc.) and inspections for line of the road locomotives. CSX built and covered structure for inspection where locomotives are fueled, sanded then pulled to the turntable to turn into the huge shop, round house or back to line of road. Cumberland is a vital part of the CSX system. With many new trains in, out and through Cumberland, courtesy of the recent Conrail acquisition, the future looks bright for the facility.

  New and used Power Assemblies sit ready to be installed, and returned for rebuilding. The clean ones are ready for service!
Cumberland Shops Today
CSX Cumberland shops consist of 3 bays:
  • The "Center Bay" consist of 3 through tracks, with capacity for 18 locomotives. 1 fifty(50) ton "Full Truck Drop Table" with single wheel capablility. 1 fifty (50) ton "Full Drop Table", non releasing "center castings only". 1 ten (10) ton "Traction Motor Drop Table" for single wheels, 3 five (5) ton "Cantilever Cranes" 2 one houndred (100) ton Cranes with fifteen (15 ton Auxiliary Hoist.
  • The "North Bay" has 1 thirty(30) ton crane, and 1 locomotive Wheel Truer.
  • The "South Bay" has 1 Fifteen(15) ton crane, 2 short tracks, has capacity for two (2) locomotive, and traction motor storage.

Production average for Cumberland is 300 "Q" shops, and 300 fallout locomotives per month. CSX Cumberland Round House consist of 2 "locomotive pre inspection pits (stall 7 and 8) static inspection completed on designated locomotives. 2 locomotive wash pits (9 and 10), car body, cab, engine, and trucks are washed and 1 single wheel drop table, and 3 quick service pits.

this sign says it all.

brand new AC60CWs sharing the ready track with a baby sister CW40-8 on Jan. 1 , 1999


The New $7.2 million, "Service Center" This state of the art center, was opened for service in 1996 with 3 inbound tracks with unilateral turn out & electric/pneumatic remote derails, 2 service tracks inside a 60'x300' building, with 12 fueling masts, 5 sanding stations, 4 servicecabinets equipped with oil & water, 1 retention tank drain system. and 2 outbound tracks with unilateral turn out & electric/ pneumatic remote derails. CSX has spent millions of dollars on Cumberland to upgrade the facility. In 1996, $130,000 to relocated the preinspection site & equip with a vibration monitoring equipment. In 1997, CSX extended and deeped, the the roundhouse no.7 pit at a cost of $90,000, and spent $80,000 for improvedments to the main shop parking lot. In 1998, $1.2 million Relocate wheel truer machine and completely rebuild machine with computer controls.


CSX built the new service center, with a cost of $7.2 million. Misc, projects jumped the Total capital improvements over 3 year period to a sum exceeding $10 million.

Some of them were:

  • $226,000 was used to recess and improve pit East End T-3 in the Main shop.
  • $212,000 was used to expand the fuel tank car unloading facility, 1999 saw more improvements to Cubmerland,
  • $160,000 to Improve the T-3 and T-4 Drop table,
  • $88,500 went to improve round House 8 and 9 pit areas,
  • $256,000 went to rebuild the main Turn table,
  • $90,000 for New roof on main shop copula,
  • $140,000 New roofand floor level of main shop,
  • $40,000 improvement to out side pad East End T-3 main shop.

Employees working in the Cumberland shop consist of Managers, machinist, electricians, pipefitters, carmen, boiler makers, laborers, and clerks. With the Conrail acquistion the CSX Cumberland shops will hire 70 new employees. Locomotives' assigned to Cubmerland before the CR merger was 825 locomotives, after June 1,1999, 1063 locomotives are assigned to Cumberland.



Simply place mouse pointer over image to see photo caption, then click image to enlarge!

All Photos by Denny Fisher!

CSX SD50 8504 takes a ride on the Cumberland turntable.   A rare view from one of the 2 100 ton cranes. look at the other side of the shops, one can see the crane.   another rare shot, taken from the roof of the cumberland shops. looking down at the turntable.
a CSX tanker, performing fueling duties.   shop machinist is checking the air compressor on a SBD GP40-2.   on a cold winter day in 1999, Cumberland is packed, EMD, and GE power waiting for service!
Cumberland had the honors of removing wheels from SD70s last year, here we see a BB set of trucks? YEP, this SD70 as well as all others had to sit on idler wheelsets till wheel replacement!   a GP40-2, with it's truck removed.   in the roundhouse, we see a traction motor being removed from a Chessie GP40-2. The traction motor will be removed and the locomotive pulled out from above it. A crane will lift the T-motor and another will be put in its place!
the valve assemblie of a SD70AC.   shop employee is replacing the winshield wipers on a Chessie unit.   GP40 is getting it's damaged fuel tank flushed, before any welding is done, the tank will be steam cleaned!


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