Established 1994

Pittsburgh Garden Railway Society

PO Box 302
Charleroi, PA 15022

July 2009 Newsletter

Annual Picnic Calendar
Children's Hospital Project I've Been "Cook'n" on the Railroad
Children's Hospital Scrapbook Tech Tips
Cumberland Tour In the News
Greenberg Show Corner Video of the Month
June Meeting  

Financial Report (password required)

Membership Roster (password required)


by Larry Marcinko

THANK YOU KEITH BAGGUS!!  Some fine moments were experienced and shared between members, guests, towns and trains. Keith has a knack for finding interesting places and selflessly shares them with those of us willing to take on new adventures.  What would our club be without members like this offering us all some experience that is worth writing home about?!

The series of moments that make up a life are mostly routine and mundane; but the little gems that come with finding yourself in a place that you might not otherwise be, make up the memory track that years from now, many will look back on and smile.  That the experience was among friends with common interests only broadens that smile!  

Sharing laughs and small talk at breakfast, sighting bald eagles perched and in flight, observing the scenic beauty of the riffling Potomac river through a rock and tree lined gorge from the perfect vantage point of the Potomac Eagle as it clickety-clacks its way across the water at Sycamore bridge. 

Maybe it was the ice cream at the Queen City Creamery, the pleasant walk through quiet Cumberland early in the morning; how about the festival and bands at Canal Place or checking out the replica canal boat at the western terminus of the C & O Canal.  Maybe some enjoyed learning the early history of settlers among the Indians by walking the trail across from historic Western Maryland Depot.

The highlight for many, I'm sure, was boarding the Western Maryland and dining in the luxurious Howard O. Hovatter 1st class dining car; watching the shiny #734, a vintage Baldwin 2-8-0 steam up to the water spout after stopping for photo ops approaching the station; the comfortable scenic and winding passage that only a train can give...Helmstetter Horseshoe Curve, Brush Tunnel, Bowe Cave, The Narrows Gorge, friendly bicyclists keeping pace with the train along the trail that parallels and criss-crosses the track returning to Cumberland from Frostburg. 

What self respecting rail fan would possibly have missed uncoupling the huffing steamer and its massive tender from the train, looking as good as they did rolling out of the factory back in 1916, brilliantly painted in the stunning stripes and historic Western Maryland red fireball insignia?  We watched as the engineer eased the huge, yet intricate mechanical creation onto the waiting turntable.  From a distance of 3 arms length, we looked on as the fireman signaled all clear and the conductor pulled a lever removing track alignment pins and started the motor that swung the big engine 180 degrees in less than a minute!

Immediately following the train ride, we toured Emmanuel Episcopal Church, unearthing more of the 'Gem Moments' in the tunnels below which were once part of the foundation of Fort Cumberland.  In the days of western advancement into Native American territory, our group got a glimpse of how early settlers of the era protected themselves, their arms and supplies against hostile attack and in later years how these same tunnels were again used as part of the underground railroad. 

We took home and interesting lesson from the narrated tour of the church and it's magnificent tiffany stained glass windows crafted by the master Louis B. Tiffany scores and scores of years ago.  The windows take the quality of the finest painting to a new level in the way that daylight is used to give different colors and effects depending on the time of day.  They were truly remarkable!  A question was raised if anyone noticed anything unusual about the great tiffany miraculously diffusing light high above and behind the main altar of the cavernous gothic church.  Bob Wilson noted that the great arch framing the window was slightly off center; a constant reminder to all who view this beautiful sight that none of us who walk this earth are perfect.

And so we left Cumberland with a lesson in humility; humility amid perfection, and an urge to come back and visit again when we can spend more time experiencing gems still awaiting discovery and extend those pleasant memory tracks!  


(Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, Press your browser's BACK button to return to this page)

View of the Potomac from Sycamore Bridge


Classic Railroading at its BEST!

All smiles for Kaylene & Janet!

Some of our gang enjoying first class

Ed Celento getting a close up of #734 just after pulling into Frostburg station


On and Around the Potomac Eagle

Yes We Saw Eagles
(how good are your eyes?)

This extreme close-up from the same photo might help!