On Saturday and Sunday, June 17-18, 2017, Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad will host Potomac Eagle Rail Fest. The festival will run 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days with several railroad-related activities for all ages at Wappocomo Station, 1 ½ miles north of Romney, West Virginia on WV28.
In addition to the regularly-scheduled 3-hour Trough Trips at 1 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, there will be 45-minute express trips with Lehigh Valley 126 steam engine. These trips will be offered at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. both days. Tickets are $20 for adults and seniors, $10 for children, and will be available for purchase during the festival.
Lehigh Valley Coal Company #126, a.k.a. “Sadie,” is an 0-6-0T saddle tank engine, built by Vulcan Iron Works for the Lehigh Valley Coal Company and put into service May 1931. It burns coal 1500-3000 degrees to heat the 1250 gallons of water stored in the saddle tank into steam. The steam flows down to the piston cylinders and turns the actuating rods which turn the wheels. The Gramling Locomotive Works travel to scenic railroads and museums across the country with their steam engines.
Several free activities and exhibits will be offered throughout the weekend as well. There will be speeders on display. A speeder is a maintenance of way motorized vehicle formerly used on railroads by track inspectors and work crews to move quickly to and from work sites. Although it is slow compared to a train or car, it is called speeder because it is faster than a human-powered vehicle such as a handcar. Hocking Valley Scenic Railway will have a handcar on display as well.
Operation Lifesaver will have a booth about railroad safety with activity books and engineer hats for kids. Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and trespassing on or near railroad tracks. Operation Lifesaver’s network of authorized volunteer speakers and trained instructors offer free rail safety education programs in all fifty states. They speak to school groups, driver education classes, community audiences, professional drivers, law enforcement officers, and emergency responders. Their programs are co-sponsored by federal, state and local government agencies, highway safety organizations and America’s railroads. Operation Lifesaver promotes the three E’s—education, enforcement and engineering—to keep people safe around the tracks and railway crossings within our communities.
The West Virginia Railroad Museum will be at Rail Fest to promote the essence and spirit of West Virginia’s railroad heritage. The purpose of the West Virginia Railroad Museum, Inc. is to be a cultural resource dedicated to educating visitors and the community about West Virginia’s railroad history.
Their mission is accomplished through the collection, preservation and interpretation of significant locomotives, rolling stock, artifacts, photographs and memorabilia directly related to railroads and railroading in West Virginia. In addition to static exhibits, select pieces of equipment in the collection are restored and operated throughout the year to demonstrate steam, gasoline, and diesel technology and provide visitors with a first-hand experience of our railroad history through the sights, sounds, and sensations of a train ride. WVRM is located in the historic Darden Mill on the former Western Maryland Railway yard in Elkins, West Virginia.
Accompanying the WVRM is Ed Griesel, who will present hobo history to guests. He is one of many WVRM members who possess an array of talents. Despite his never having “lived the life of the hobo”, he is a bonafide member of the hobo “society” and is keeping the history of the hobo alive as are few others. “Old Ed,” the moniker given him by a very special hobo friend, speaks to groups of all ages but his favorite audiences are young people. He keeps his audiences, whether young or old, engaged by asking questions.
The Community Model Railroad Club of Frostburg, Maryland will have a 4’ x 8’ layout on display, Christmas train set raffle, and various items for sale. They will hand out free catalogs and their Christmas Open House schedule.
On Saturday, June 17, the Queen City Antique Automobile Club of America will host a car show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dash plaques and trophies will be given out. The car show is in memory of Harry “Buddy” Hartman, who was an avid car club member and railroad fan.
On Sunday, June 18, the West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center will host a bald eagle presentation from Noon to 2 p.m. The WVRRC rehabilitate and release injured and orphaned birds of prey and to provide environmental education programs to the public for the benefit of all living things. The WVRRC’s permanent residents assist their volunteer presenters in fun and informative programs about the value of raptors in the environment and the important work being done at the Center. Their presentation will include a juvenile bald eagle.
For more information or reservations, visit potomaceagle.info, follow Potomac Eagle on Facebook, or call 304-424-0736.