In 1969 Chief Rabban Richard Priddy, who was the superintendent of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, had a dream. His dream was to build a working railroad at the Ali Ghan Shrine Club picnic grounds. He shared his dream with other Shriners and they started looking and inquiring about where to get the equipment and materials necessary to build a small passenger train railroad. After making these inquiries, then materials started to come in as donations from many companies and corporations. In 1969 companies were more inclined to donate materials and man hours than companies of today that have many more
restrictions placed on them. Rail, crossties, gravel, railroad spikes, concrete, and steel sheets were either donated at no costs or sold to the Shrine Club at or well below cost. After a few inquiries a 10 ton locomotive was found and was donated by the sand mines in Berkeley Springs along with several mine car frames. After 6 months to a year of gathering the necessary materials and the donated man hours to build this railroad in the May 1970, the Ali Ghan Railroad had its first trip around the Ali Ghan picnic grounds.
Ali Ghan Shrine of Cumberland, Maryland is the ONLY Shrine Temple in North America that has a real working railroad. The Plymouth Locomotive is a rare locomotive. Out of the 18 made in the 1930's only 3 still are operating in the world. The Ali Ghan Railroad has delivered 41 years of memories to thousands of passengers. Today, when many adults that comes to a picnic at the Shrine Club and their group also rents the train, they are VERY QUICK to share memories of their rides on the railroad, when they were small with the members of the railroad unit. These adults tell us they are bringing their children to ride the train.
Today in 2012, the 41 years of operations has taken its toll on the equipment. With the rules and restrictions placed on companies today, most are very reluctant to donated material and man hours. Like they would in 1969 and 1970, the Ali Ghan Railroad is forced with some much needed heavy repairs. In order to keep the memories and excitement going for many more generations, the Railroad Unit MUST hire qualified workers to make the necessary repairs and upgrades to our railroad. To accomplish this goal, the Railroad Unit is going to sell numbered and autographed reprints of a painting. Thank you for your 41 years of support and we hope to have at least 41 more years.