The Cumberland & Pennsylvania Railroad operated almost exclusively in one county, Allegany, in one State, Maryland, except for short forays on PRR track in Pennsylvania, and on B&O trackage in West Virginia. The C&P was a railroad of the age of steam, and never operated a diesel. A single gasoline-electric car was used quite late in the railroad's operating life for mail and passenger service. Of the various steam prime movers employed over the years, none was ever equipped with a trailing truck. The C&P built and maintained its own equipment. The railroad was chartered in 1850. For most of its life, it was owned by the Consolidation Coal Company, and was later integrated into the Western Maryland Railway in 1953.
The C&P interchanged with the B&O at Cumberland and Piedmont, with the Western Maryland at Westernport and with the Pennsylvania Railroad at State Line, just north of Ellerslie, Md.
The major facilities were in Mt. Savage, the heart of the railroad. The office building, built in 1902 of enameled brick, still stands. The brick round house, circa 1907, had a sixty foot deck 'Armstrong' turntable. The stone machine shop and car shop from 1866 survive.
The C&P provided the mail and the railway express service to Frostburg and the mining communities of the Georges Creek. Twelve passenger stations were located along the line, with another at Cumberland. The only surviving example is the station at Frostburg, which has survived as a specialty restaurant for the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. The station in Piedmont, shared with the B&O, partially survived as the first floor of a formally two story structure.
The C&P provided the region with a transportation infrastructure; it enabled people in the outlying communities to go to market, and to attend school in the cities. Passenger service was provided, and made connection with the B&O at Cumberland and Piedmont. Combination tickets were popular. These provided round trip transportation and a ticket to the popular Academy of Music in Cumberland. Special trains on Sundays provided transportation to Church and social events. Baseball games and Fourth of July Celebrations also were served by special trains. Narrows Park in LaVale was a popular weekend picnic destination.
In 1872, according to the schedules published in the Frostburg Mining Journal, there were two round trips a day from Cumberland to Eckhart, and two from Cumberland to Piedmont.
The Main Line of the C&P extended 31.8 miles from Cumberland to Piedmont, via Frostburg. There was one tunnel, under the town of Frostburg, still extant in 1999.
shops interior photo
Mt. Savage yards diagram, by Dave Eckman
Mt. Savage Locomotive Catalog, 1883