City of Cumberland’s Diesel Locomotive

The City of Cumberland, MD, owned a diesel locomotive for a while in 1989 and the early 1990’s. It was a GP-9 unit, ex-C&O, and came to town painted yellow. It spent time in Ridgeley WV, just across the Potomac, at the yards of the fledgling Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. It pulled a train of early enthusiasts to Frostburg on that line in 1989.

The City of Cumberland diesel was painted black, and lettered in near-WM speedlettering style with a road number 40. It was a GP9 high-nose unit, ex-C&O 5940. The real WM number 40 was also a GP9 built in April of 1957. It went to Chessie, and was renumbered 6415. WM unit No. 40 had, for a short while, a red Scotchlight Speedlettering logo on the nose.

The GP9 roadswitcher units were 1,750 horsepower diesels, and the WM units were equipped with dynamic brakes. The WM rostered a total of 21 of these units, of a total of 4,092 built by EMD. Actually, the WM had 25 additional, ex-C&O GP9s in 1976 after the Chessie merger. C&O 5940 was one of these. It had served on the Western Maryland. It was renumbered to 275 in 1987 by CSXT.

The City received the diesel as a donation from CSXT, with the understanding that it would be used on the WMSR, and not be sold. But the City put the engine up for sale, and the local NRHS Chapter tendered a bid. However, the engine was not sold at bid, but was used as a bargaining chip to resolve issues with the WMSR operator. When the Allegany Central moved out to Staunton, VA, the engine went with them. It operates in that area, in lease service.