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WMSR General Manager Comments on Operational Audit

August 30th, 2019 by WCBC Radio

An operational audit released earlier this month of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad concluded that if some significant issues aren’t addressed in the near future- the tourist train could be on a fast track to closing.  Despite the less than glowing report  compiled by Pennsylvania based Stone Consulting Inc.- which pointed to poor track condition, obscured views, the delayed return of steam locomotive, limited engine backup options, financial limitations and problems with the overall rider experience- general manager John Garner remains upbeat.  In part one of the three part series with Garner, he talks with WCBC  News about his take on the audit- as well as why things may not be as bleak as the report suggests. Even though the reports points out a myriad of problems with both management and the overall operation- Garner says he believes the right team is in place. He says the biggest issue that has hampered management from day one has been inheriting the massive 1309 steam engine renovation project…

After missing several projected start-up dates to unveil the steam engine- Garner says he understands if the public has become skeptical about the project….

On top of the massive repairs and costs of getting 1309 ready to roll- a long term concern- Garner says- is a declining number of train mechanics skilled in steam maintenance…

All of that said, Garner says he is optimistic 1309 will play a key role in the future success of the scenic railroad- although he says he doesn’t plan on offering up anymore projected start-up dates.

2 Responses to “WMSR General Manager Comments on Operational Audit”

  1. August 30, 2019 at 4:48 pm, mac said:

    I feel sympathy for those individuals at the railroad fighting an ever uphill battle to rebuild 1309.
    How many more infusions of cash are going to be necessary to get to some final result. The last estimate I saw required another infusion of $100K and no guarantees are being offered.
    Are the cities, county and state going to put an upper limit on this? When will enough be enough?
    My thinking is to unload the albatross 1309 and get the original Mountain Thunder back on the rails. Or are we going to have to go through this all over again with that locomotive?


  2. September 01, 2019 at 7:59 am, Ed Dodrill said:

    We know Mountain Thunder runs. Dump 1309 and cut your loses. Get Mountain Thunder back on the rails!


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