An Introduction to the Maryland Southern Railway

© 2023 DOUG CAREY - Guest Author

My name is Doug Carey and I grew up in the Washington DC area.  I always was a fan of the Wild Mary,  a.k.a. the Western Maryland, as well as all of the other area railroads. Experiences that influenced my interest in railroading included the era of Potomac Yard and Conrail's Benning Yard (which was two blocks from my church) with the B&O/Chessie/CSX mainline running beside it.

I also had family in the NW/Virginian Railway stronghold cities of Roanoke, VA and Hagerstown, MD and Cleveland, OH--all RR heavens to me!

All of these exposures, combined with my Maryland state pride, can be seen in my freelance Maryland Southern (MDSO) model railroad. Initially it was supposed to be a "what if Western Maryland survived." In this world the Western Maryland property never got hit by Hurricane Agnes in 1972 and the Chessie System was never born.

But with the freedoms of freelance beckoning, the Maryland Southern became much bigger!

So...the freelance Maryland Southern does not just include the whole Western Maryland property.  Also making up the MDSO system map are the Pennsylvania Railroad/Conrail Baltimore Bayview Yards and mainline to Potomac Yard and the RF&P from that point to Acca Yard.

Still not done, I penciled in the NW from Hagerstown, MD to Roanoke, VA. And further west the P&LE and Pittsburgh Southern.  And that became my modern up-to-date freelance Maryland Southern!

Beyond defining the territory of the railroad, deciding what the equipment should look like is another fun aspect of freelance model railroading!  

My grandfather worked for the Norfolk and Western and the Western Maryland had black locos as well, so it was a no brainer for me to follow suit with the Maryland Southern paint scheme.  The prototype railroads found that solid-black locomotives were easy and cheap to paint quickly--and the same is true for painting model locomotives!

The Maryland state flag, in one form or another, was something I tried to include in many variations of the MDSO paint schemes I developed as I wanted to hi-light the backbone of where the railroad operates. 

The EMD SD70ACe is the locomotive model that I decided would be the "big-dog" of the Maryland Southern roster.  Inspired by the large American Flag that the Union Pacific placed on its locomotives, I decided to do something really bold with the Maryland Flag on the MDSO SD70ACe's!

Of course model railroading is not a solo hobby.  I have made many friends along the way.  Ed Lewis is one of these friends who has really inspired me to take the Maryland Southern concept to the next level and I really value his insight into the hobby.  You will notice some trackage rights on Ed's freelance Cumberland Utica and Toledo in red on the MDSO map above!  When I reached out to Ed with the idea of doing something bold with the Maryland Flag he thought that the nose was where the flag needed to go.

With that in mind we reached out to another great supporter of the freelance model railroad community, Matthew Welke of Circus City Decals.  Together we worked through the details and decals for the Maryland Southern SD70ACe were created!  

The striking flag on the nose really speaks to the sense of Maryland pride that the railroad is intended to convey!

As of right now I actually have modeled the aforementioned SD70ACe as well as ES44AC, SD80MAC,and AC4400CW locomotive models.  On the horizon I have plans to model Maryland Southern four axle locomotives as well as additional six axle models.

Since I model the Maryland Southern in the modern era, the equipment I own represents anything you might see today on the mainlines of the prototype Class I railroads.  This includes autoracks, modern reefers (with my own spin on the famous CSX/Tropicana "Juice Train"), a KCS Belle-inspired grain train, and of course the 86’ Auto Parts box cars!

The Western Maryland Railway stretched across Maryland and and it was beloved by many well after its demise. It also elicited state pride and that’s what I wanted to emulate with my own Home Road.  In the real world the Maryland State Flag has many interpretations and applications that are inspiring.  With so many great freelance railroads out there, I wanted mine to stand out in a way that will leave no question as to where it calls home!

Web-Master Notes:

The energy and enthusiasm that Doug Carey puts into his freelance Maryland Southern as well as the exciting way he shares content on social media really put this neat railroad on our radar.  We are really excited to have been able to work with Doug to develop our limited edition Tangent Scale Models Maryland Southern 86' auto parts box car!  There were several paint scheme variations on the table and we chose to go with the solid black car featuring a very large circular interpretation of the Maryland State Flag with the name of the railroad wrapped around the perimeter.  

This beautiful car was produced in two road numbers.  Only 56 copies of each number were made so click on the links below to order yours while supplies last!

To learn more about Doug Carey's Maryland Southern, hit the button below to visit the Maryland Southern Facebook page!