Adventurers in the Appalachia
My First trip on the Southwest Chief going to
the 2018 NRHS Convention in Cumberland, Maryland
Potomac Eagle to Petersburg,
August 10, 2018
Text and Photos by Author
author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed
without the author's consent.
Comments are appreciated at...firstname.lastname@example.org
awoke me this morning so I would have time for breakfast in the
dining room which was busy again with conventioneers
anticipating another train excursion. Today the motor coaches
will be boarding between 8 and 8:30am for the ride to Rommey,
WV. But what is a convention without a roadblock? As Elizabeth
was riding down in the elevator with nine other people, the car
got stuck between floors. True story. The Cumberland Fire
Department had to be called and they successfully rescued
everyone. After the fire department left with many thanks, the
buses arrived and everyone was able to board for the short 40
minute ride to Wappocomo Station in Rommey, WV.
Parking lot with view of the mountains of WV.
The Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad
The Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad is a heritage railroad
based in Romney, West Virginia.
The railroad operates excursion trains over a former
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad line that runs from Green Spring
to Petersburg. The West Virginia State Rail Authority owns the
line and freight service is provided by the South Branch
The Potomoc Eagle Scenic Railroad's excursion trains run from
Romney to Moorefield with occasional longer trips to
Petersburg. All excursions use diesel locomotives.
A highlight of the trip is passage along the South Branch
Potomac River through "The Trough", an area noted for bald
The PESR runs on the track of the South Branch Valley
Railroad, which was established by the state of West Virginia
in 1978 to operate a line abandoned by the B&O. Freight
service on this line operates on weekdays and occasionally on
weekends, so the line is free for excursions on most weekends.
In 1989 efforts began to attract an excursion operator, and
service began in 1991.
The PESR operates a mixture of cars behind four early model
F7A 722 (ex-Bessemer and Lake Erie), was the only locomotive
painted in PESR colors but recently repainted into a B&O
livery similar to 6604.
F3Au 8016 (ex-Clinchfield, ex-CSXT) in Chesapeake and Ohio
Railroad livery (on lease from the C&O Historical Society,
Clifton Forge, VA). Currently stored in Spencer, NC awaiting a
repaint into her original Clinchfield colors.
GP9 6604 (ex-B&O), one of the distinctive "torpedo boat"
units built for passenger service and restored to its original
GP9 6240 (ex C&O) in Chessie System livery.
Also of interest is the station, just south of Romney. It is
B&O caboose C2507, one of the seven prototype "wagon top"
cabooses built by the railroad in 1940.
Once we all arrived and the train was opened, the First Class
passengers went to the left and coach passengers went to the
right. I went to the coach car and took a seat for my
belongings and would then find a seat in the open air
observation car when it is allowed which is the best for
viewing when the train goes through the "The Trough" to see
the eagles, flying and in their nests.
Potomac Eagle awaiting for us to board.
Open air observation car.
The train departed on time at 9:30am. and went by the Romney
We passed more of the Potomac Eagle fleet of passenger cars.
Crossing the South Branch of the Potomac River.
Before the US 50 crossing more of the Potomac Eagle Fleet of cars.
Seems like I am crossing US 50 often when I am back East.
Nature reclaiming its territory in the ruins.
An old stone house near US 50.
Along the South Branch of the Potomac River.
During the Civil War, Romney changed hands between the North and
South at least
56 times. Incorporated in 1762 and one of the oldest
settlements in West Virginia.
They stopped the train here and announced that the open air
gondola car was now open. The passengers flocked to this unique
car but they would all have to ride in it all the way through "The
Trough", an area noted for bald eagle sightings.
Fellow conventioneers enjoying the WV countryside.
The South Branch of the Potomac River.
Happy boaters on the river giving us a wave.
Sycamore Bridge, site of our first runby today.
Any trip on any day though
"The Trough" is a great day in your life. Spotted were three
bald eagles and had one take off from a tree on our side of the
river so you saw the bird's great wing span as it flew out of
that tree. The railroad has a regular three-hour Trough trip
southbound through the Trough to Sycamore Bridge with no layover
and is approximately 35 miles round-trip.
We crossed the Sycamore Bridge then stopped to let the passengers
out of that open gondola car then backed across the bridge for the
first photo runby of the day.
Photographers looking for their choice spot.
First runby going over the bridge.
At the end of the first pass and ready to return.
Waiting to get that perfect shot.
NRHS Photo runby 2. We reboared and headed south.
Living good in the woods.
Industrial building near Petersburg.
Shortly past Petersburg the train stopped and reversed direction
and started our return trip back to the station. I think this is
the third time this week going through this burg.
A nice home in Moorefield.
In a field for our photo runby.
After the runbys, we all reboarded the train and enjoyed the
return trip through the Trough while I went exploring the other
Bob was working as a doorman for the club car so I walked in for a
chat and to look around. It was like going back to the golden days
of railroad travel, a streamline look of the 1940's. After my
visit I returned to my seat and enjoyed West Virginia's panorama.
Approaching the station we
came upon an assembly of sidecars or scooters. What a excellent
way to travel through the canyon enjoying nature. We returned to
Romney at 4:40pm and with time for everyone to shop the gift
shop, we left at 5:30pm and returned to the Ramada. I had
dinner, started to pack and then about 8pm I walked across the
tracks to the Amtrak station to meet the Chicago bound Capitol
Limited which we will be taking tomorrow night.
The Capitol Limited at Cumberland station.
Tomorrow it will be our turn to board and go for a train ride.
After watching #29 leave, I walked back to the hotel and finished
packing for checking out tomorrow and our last day in West
Virginia and the Appalachia country.
Thanks for reading.
Text and Photos by Author
author retains all rights. No reproductions are
allowed without the author's consent.