West Chester Railroad Donates Alco Switcher

West Chester Railroad Alco S2 3 has been donated to the Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority in Martinsburg, W.Va.  Photo by M.T.Burkhart.

West Chester Railroad Donates Alco Switcher

By M.T.Burkhart

WEST CHESTER, Pa. – The West Chester Railroad has donated its Alco S2 to the Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority in Martinsburg, W.Va. where it will be cosmetically restored to Baltimore & Ohio colors.

Built in 1949, the 1,000-h.p. switcher served as Baltimore & Ohio 9115. It migrated to industrial service then was briefly used by Wilmington & Western and Delaware Valley railroads before coming to West Chester in the early 1990s.

“Number 3 was one of the first locomotives to operate on the WCRR, pulling work trains during the rebuilding of the line by our volunteers and assisting in passenger service during the first few seasons,” the railroad said. “As the WCRR has grown, operating heavier trains and more powerful locomotives, 3 has become less versatile, and mechanical issues have taken it out of service since 2005.”

West Chester operates tourist service on about 8 miles of the unused SEPTA branch between its namesake borough and Glen Mills. Its motive power includes several MLW locomotives, as well as a GP9 and GP38.

The Martinsburg roundhouse and shop was initially built by the Baltimore & Ohio in the late 1840s. Burned during the Civil War, the dual roundhouses were rebuilt in 1866. The facility survived through the Chessie System era and was eventually closed by CSX in 1988. The 13-acre complex was sold to the Roundhouse Authority in 1999 and is open for tours on Saturdays between April and October.

The non-profit Roundhouse Authority is looking for donations to offset the Alco’s truck trip from Pennsylvania to West Virginia. Visit themartinsburgroundhouse.com for more information.

This article was posted on: March 30, 2021