Over the years Chessie has acquired several rail cars, all of which are now located on the Walkersville Southern Railroad in Walkersville, Maryland, a short distance northeast of Frederick, on a southern portion of the former Pennsylvania Railroad's Frederick Secondary.
Our first acquisition was the former Wabash 2827, one of only two cabooses of its kind known to be operation. It has been restored to service in a "second life" of providing passenger service on the WS, and on at least one special charter run it was used as a platform for a marriage of a local couple. After serving for a dozen years in revenue service on the Walkersville Southern Railroad, it was sidelined for repairs and restoration that were largely completed in the summer of 2013. Two windows on the west side of the cupola still need to be replaced, and then the 2827 will be done.
Chessie later acquired the former Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac 923 , one of six of its type purchased by the RF&P. In keeping with the wishes of the RF&P employees who donated it to our group, it retains the logo of the now-gone RF&P. Its restoration was completed in September 2008 and it is now in service on the Walkersville Southern Railroad.
In 2003 the Chessie roster expanded to include the former Long Island Railroad commuter coach 7045. Following the cessation of operations on the West Virginia Northern Railroad in 1999 and the subsequent removal of track, the car was stranded on isolated track in West Virginia. The owner donated the car to Chessie, and we arranged for its trucking to Walkersville, where it was repaired and restored for passenger service. Through the generosity of a matching grant from the Potomac Chapter, NRHS, all of seats were reupholstered at the prison industry shops of Maryland Correctional Enterprises in Hagerstown, Maryland. The 7045's comfortable seats allow riders to enjoy leisurely, old-fashioned trips from days of old. In mid-October 2012, at the request of the Ligonier Valley Railroad Association, we put decals above the car's windows reading LIGONIER VALLEY to bring attention to the Ligonier Valley Railroad, a shortline that operated in Pennsylvania from 1877 to 1952. The LGV's No. 52 was a coach similar in appearance to No. 7045 and the application of LGV decals on the car allows the defunct line's name to be seen again on active rolling stock, as shown here on the renovated 7045. In years past, sister cars ran on the Northeast Corridor through the greater DC area, as seen in this photo of MP54 cars rolling past Bowie, Maryland, in the late 1970s.
Chessie's largest acquisition, the Meadow Lark, a Pullman parlor car, arrived via truck in Walkersville in 2006. In June 2012 the National Railway Historical Society provided us with a $1500 grant to help fund the removal of asbestos from pipes on the underside of the car. This work was completed by a contractor in January 2013.
Our latest acquisition is 20-ton Davenport locomotive that was in danger of being scrapped in Kentucky. Financed by member donations, it was moved via truck to the Walkersville Southern Railroad enginehouse in Walkersville, MD, and now awaits restoration to operating status. The locomotive was built in 1942 as US Army 7707 and used at Baltimore's long-closed Fort Holabird, then sold for commercial use after the war. It has now returned to its home state to run on rails again. This picture shows the ex-7707 when it arrived at the WS in the fall of 2007. It is currently being restored by WS chief mechanic Jim Baird inside the WS enginehouse as part of a long-term project.
The Meadow Lark, ex-LIRR 7045 and the 20-ton Davenport have been turned over to the WSRR for restoration and operation, leaving the CRA with just its two cabooses.