The Western Maryland's forte was moving heavy freight trains briskly through challenging territory. Railfans called it the Wild Mary and the road called itself the Fast Freight Line; both nicknames were appropriate. Using some of the nation's most modern steam power, the WM wrestled coal out of the Appalachian Mountains to its own tidewater terminal on the Chesapeake Bay. It also offered shippers the shortest route from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic seaboard. The road was known for keeping its motive power well maintained and freshly painted.
To help move coal out of the West Virginia and Maryland mountains, the Wild Mary bought the H-9 class of heavy consolidations from Baldwin in 1921. Born in the late 1800's, the 2-8-0 Consolidation wheel arrangement ultimately became one of the most popular freight engines of the steam era, reaching its peak use about the time the H-9s were constructed.
Built just before the dawning of "super-power" steam that combined power and speed, the H-9s were designed for brute strength. Weighing in at over 150 tons, they developed 71,500 pounds of tractive effort, more than enough power to pull a 100-car, 7,800-ton train. The Western Maryland ultimately obtained 50 of these coal-hauling powerhouses, and several served until the end of steam in 1954.
The 2014 edition of this muscular steamer sports the distinctive "fireball" logo of the Western Maryland. Freight enthusiasts can also choose from four other roadnames. As with all 2014 Premier Line steam locomotives, the H-9 comes equipped with the awesome sounds and features of Proto-Sound 3.0 and the versatility of Proto-Scale 3-2.