Railroad Heritage Days is about celebrating Hagerstown's train history

  • Braddock Wright, 4, of Falling Waters, W.Va., controls a three-rail Lionel O gauge train at Railroad Heritage Days Saturday at the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum.
By Alicia Notarianni

The Wright boys — Chandler, Braddock, Abram and Oliver — were all aboard for Railroad Heritage Days.

The Falling Waters, W.Va., brothers, ages 5 and younger, sported railroad-engineer stripes as they moved from display to display Saturday at the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum.

Even their mother, Tiona Wright, had a coordinating outfit.

“They just love trains,” said their father, Carvey Wright. “I honestly wonder what it is about them, and I’m not quite sure.”

Wright said his grandfather piqued his sons’ interest in the railroad when he bestowed upon them a 1930s Lionel set. The boys also have an extensive Thomas the Tank Engine collection.

Though Carvey Wright said he doesn’t fully understand his sons’ love of trains, he is pleased that the Roundhouse Museum celebrates the history and heritage of them.

“I’m glad the museum exists so people can come out and know the history of trains here. It’s a valuable asset to the community.”

Bill Knode, a founding member of the Roundhouse Museum, said celebrating the history of trains in the Hagerstown area is what Railroad Heritage Days is all about.

From the 1930s until the 1950s, Knode said, Hagerstown was a center for five major railroads — the B&O, Norfolk & Western, Pennsylvania, Reading and Western Maryland. There was a trolley for a time as well. The railroad transformed Hagerstown from a rural community to an industrial one, creating thousands of job and supporting numerous other industries, he said.

“If you could go downtown without getting hung up waiting at the railroad tracks, you were doing alright,” Knode said.

Heritage Days featured various gauge model railroads and a Thomas the Tank Engine, a trolley for riding, as well as historic railroad equipment, military displays, fire and rescue exhibits, and food.

Event co-chairwoman Crystal Sprecher said the event would likely draw around 900 people Saturday and Sunday.

Crystal Nunemaker of Hagerstown took her children Tyler Smith, 8, whom she called a “train lover,” and Natasha Smith, 5, to the festival.

“I really like the trains. My most favorite is the pistons,” Tyler Smith said. “Pistons help move the trains. I like to see how fast the locomotives can go.”

Natasha said she liked to play on the historical locomotives and cabooses at the museum.

Chris Dove, 10, of Hagerstown, said his favorite was a model set on the second floor of the museum.

“I like it because you can control the trains,” he said.

His friend Sage Cox, also 10, of Hagerstown, said he had never been to Heritage Days and that he learned a lot about the railroad. The two bought some cotton candy and hopped on the trolley for a ride.


If you go...

What: Railroad Heritage Days
When: Today, noon to 5 p.m.
Where: Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum, 300 S. Burhans Blvd.
Cost: $5 for adults; 50 cents for ages 4 to 12; free for ages 3 and younger.

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