Maryland tourist railcar bears Ligonier Valley name
It's been 60 years since passengers rode on a coach car operated by the Ligonier Valley Rail Road, which ceased operations Aug. 31, 1952.
Because of the efforts of volunteers at a tourist train in Maryland, the Ligonier Valley coach car is in use again.
In October, the Walkersville Southern Railroad and the Chesapeake Railroad Association placed a Ligonier Valley decal on one of the coach cars on display at the Walkersville museum, located near Frederick.
They did so after a request from Ligonier's Bill McCullough.
“It was on my bucket list, so pleased I was able to make it happen,” McCullough said about the Ligonier coach car. “Now, the people from the Valley can go to Maryland and see a Ligonier Valley coach car and actually ride on it.”
McCullough said he approached the organizations several months ago about putting the Ligonier lettering on one of the coaches that are part of the tourist train excursions.
It is the group's same type of coach car used by the Ligonier railroad.
McCullough has been a volunteer at the Maryland museum since 1995. He said he joined the organization because he had railroad experience and wanted to get involved with a group that actually worked with the trains and track system.
“I am a big rail fan,” he said. “I started as a volunteer at Walkersville now I am an engineer.”
McCullough said he splits his volunteer time between the Walkersville tourist train and the Ligonier Valley Rail Road Association in Darlington, where is he president of the board of directors.
“It was nice of them to do it for me,” McCullough said.
Tim Moriarty, president of the Chesapeake Railway Association, helped place the decal on the coach.
“It's a nice way of keeping the railroad's name alive,” said Moriarty. “I expect that the Ligonier Valley name will be recognized by some of the Walkersville Southern Railroad's riders and perhaps they'll be inspired to visit the Ligonier Valley Rail Road Association's museum.”
With the Ligonier logo on the train, McCullough said he was able to tie his two hobbies — the museums in Walkersville and Darlington — together.
“I have been involved 15 years and enjoy riding in the Ligonier Valley coach,” he said. “I am happy that I made it happen, Now people need to know about it.”
The reference to the Ligonier railroad could generate interest in the Darlington Station museum and the local railroad's history.
“This helps to expand the reach of information about the Ligonier Valley railroad,” said Bill Potthoff, Ligonier Valley Rail Road Association board secretary.
During the tourist season, the museum is open May through October and offers excursions along an 8-mile track that the Pennsylvania Railroad originally built in 1872.
Visitors will see a turn-of-the-century railroad station and tool house.
The vintage 1920s passenger cars or open flatcar rail excursion also runs past a 100-year-old lime kiln.
“It is a scenic ride, a fun experience on a tourist train,” McCullough said.
Beginning next week, the Ligonier coach will be part of the Santa Train operating at the museum Nov. 24 and 25, Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9 and 15.
The train ride includes a visit with Santa.
Cookies and hot chocolate are served at the train depot after the ride.
Train departures are at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. each day.
Cost is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors and $12 for children ages 1 to 12. Children younger than 1 years old are free.
McCullough said he is planning to charter a 64-person day trip to the museum in May. Participants will take a 1 1⁄2 hour ride on the Ligonier train led by a steam engine and have tour of the rail yard.
McCullough said he is looking forward to engineering the engine for that excursion.
For directions and more information about the Chesapeake Railway Association, go to www.chessierail.org.
Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.