Seeking to compete with the growing transportation monopoly of the B&O Railroad, the state of Maryland chartered the Western Maryland Railway in 1853. Hoping to claim a portion of the lucrative Cumberland to Baltimore route, the Western Maryland ran north and west from Baltimore along the Pennsylvania border. The Western Maryland lacked capitol, however, and by 1899, still had not connected to Cumberland. In 1902, the Western Maryland fell into the hands of the Gould railroad family, and the railroad finally reached Cumberland in 1906. In 1913, with out-of-state capital pouring into infrastructure, the Western Maryland constructed the grand Cumberland station as a symbol of the railroad's power and importance. An imposing nine bays wide, the railroad station is surrounded by a heavy modillioned brick cornice located just under the roof line. Passengers of the Western Maryland Railway arrived in Cumberland overlooking a railroad station dramatically placed in a river valley where the Potomac River meets Wills Creek. Ironically, the Western Maryland Railway eventually fell into the hands of the B&O Railroad in the 20th century, and was closed in the 1970s. Today, the Western Maryland Station remains active and utilized as the headquarters of the Canal Place Preservation Authority and the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. This scenic railroad makes daily steam-powered 16-mile runs from Cumberland to Frostburg, Maryland.
The Western Maryland Railway station is located on Canal Street. The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad offers daily train rides and specialty theme rides from May to December. Call 1-800-872-4650 for further information. The station building is part of the Canal Place Heritage Area, the state's first Certified Heritage Area. In addition to the railway station, visitors can also vist the new C&O Canal National Historic Park's exhibit and visitor's center, open ; the main Allegany Coiunty Visitor Information Center, open ; "The Cumberland" a full-scale canal boat replica that offers guided tours May to October; and the Canal Place Festival Grounds which host a variety of events and festival including the C&O CanalFest in May and Maryland RailFest in October. Call 301-724-3655 or 1-800-989-9394 or visit the Canal Place website for further information