Helmstetters Curve/B171






Helmstetters Curve was a hairpen curve up Cash Valley. The winding tracks hugged the mountain side weaving in and out to gain elevation up to the summit at Deal, The curve was a popular place to photograph trains on the Western Maryland, perhaps the most popular on the entire railroad. After the eastbound track was removed, CTC was installed from Cumberland to Deal. A signal was placed in the western section of the curve, between the cemetary at the cut. Today only WMSR trains pass the curve, even though the route over the Alleghenies was shorter and easier the B&O's.



The above photo is said to be dated 1906. It is a construction photo of the right-of-way here at the Helmstetter Farm. The same barn in the photo still stands today. As you can see in the photo a trestle was built first before the fill. Track was laid and as the cuts were made fill was dumped over the side of the trestle to create the fill. The same construction process was done prior at the 3rd Potomac Crossing on the West Sub. A similar photo is on that page as well. Thanks to Sam Wilson for this photo.




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My dad has caught an eastbound WM freight drifting down the grade and about to enter Helmstetter's Curve. The red-white-black locomotives look good when they are clean. (Mason Cooper photo)

Looking west into the cut leading from Helmstetters curve to Brush Tunnel. The second photo is looking east into the curve. A portion of the eastbound signal base can still be seen to the right of the tracks in the second photo. (Sam Wilson photo)

The WMSR GP30 r/n 2175 is down grade drifting around Helmstetters Curve in December 1998. The locomotive is painted in Redskins colors for special trips that were made to Frostburg to watch the Redskins during training camp at Frostburg State University.

WMSR Photo Freight crosses a fill as it rounds Helmstetters Curve during the winter of 2004.

A Western Maryland train passes the block signals as it rounds Helmstetters Curve. (5-11-75 by unknown photographer)

WMSR 2-8-0 No.734 climbs the 1.75% grade as it rounds Helmstetters Curve. This train was much longer than usual and had two GP30's used as pushers. The train was run during the WMHRS 2004 Convention in Cumberland Md. (Oct. 30, 2004)

734 passes then come the pushers. (Oct. 30, 2004)



A trip around Helmstetter's Curve in snow showers on December 18, 2011 Santa Express. Train had 12 cars this day and required two GP30 pushers.




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