The city of Baltimore, Maryland is a city of many firsts. It is where the National Anthem of the United States of America was written by a man named Francis Scott Key while in captivity on a ship looking towards the flag that was still waving above Fort McHenry. It is the home of the first Catholic Church in the United States of America. It is where the National Road, the first major road to go west, began. It is also the birthplace of the American railroad and the home of the first Railroad Bridge and, south of the city, the first aqueduct. The amazing thing is that all of these places exist today and can be visited. As the birthplace of the American railroad, the city remains a railroad mecca in the nation, and many of the old railroad sites and stations remain although some of these places are no longer serving the railroad, but the sites have been preserved and can be visited.
On the west side of the city is Leakin Park, and in this park you will find Orianda House, a Crimea estate that was the summer home of Thomas de Kay Winans. What is special about Thomas de Kay Winans? He just happened to be a wealthy railroad entrepreneur, and he was also the son of Ross Winans, an industrialist for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. With the park being a piece of railroad history, it would be fitting to be the home of a miniature railroad: the Chesapeake and Allegheny Live Steamers.
Every second Sunday of the month from April to November, the Chesapeake and Allegheny Live Steamers, known as CALS for short, operate miniature trains around Leakin Park. The trains leave the shop, and they pull up to the station where everyone boards. The train makes a large loop around the field before it returns back to the station. There is 3400 feet of seven and a half inch track that one-eighth scale trains run on. They run steam locomotives as well as diesel locomotives replicating the locomotives you would see on the main lines. Whether you are young or old, you will enjoy your ride on the train.
The Chesapeake and Allegheny Live Steamers is located in Leakin Park along Windsor Mill Road in Baltimore, Maryland. It is just minutes from Interstate 70. The trains run from 11:00am to 3:30pm. The train rides are free, and you can ride as many times as you like. However, donations are greatly appreciated to help with the costs of running the trains and to keep the trains running for many generations to come. You can learn more about the trains and the railroad club at http://calslivesteam.org/, or you can check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CALSteamers/. You can also get detailed directions from Interstate 70 at http://www.railfanguides.us/livediesel/cals/index.htm.
Are you free on the second Sunday of the month? Spend that Sunday on the Chesapeake and Allegheny Live Steamers. It will be time well spent.