Travel reviews by
Western Maryland Scenic Railroad
Based on 200 traveler reviews
Murder Mystery Train
Aug 25, 2014 by: Statmans from Maryland
Challenged by my wife to find something different and fun for her Birthday, I stumbled across the Western Railroad Murder Mystery train in Cumberland Maryland. I chose the option that included dinner, and shared dietary restrictions. The woman who I spoke to read me the ingredients of the available options, and based on a milk allergy, we went with the Pasta Primavera. Upon arriving in Cumberland we parked in the lot and went up the steps to the Western Maryland station building. Shortly after 5:30 the train arrived and we boarded. There were 3 cars guests, one kitchen/staging car plus the engine,. One car was up without tables for those that opted for the murder mystery but no dinner, 2 were set up with tables of 4 people. Your last name on a placard indicated your seat assignment. Shortly before we pulled out of the station, a 'detective" strode through the cars explaining about the mystery murder we were going to see. He told us if we filled out the questions on the paper at our seats, solved the murder and explained how we knew who the murder was, there would be a prize-a wine glass-empty of course. The rail cars were set up in such a fashion that the actors could go from car to car reenacting their scene without people in the other cars seeing or hearing the act. As the train pulled out of the station servers began bringing salad and beverages, and the mystery began. For those that prefer alcoholic beverages rather than the choice of water, lemonade, or sweet tea, there was a cash bar set up. Salad dressing choices were Italian and ranch. Given the allergy and assurances of no cheese, we both went with Italian. The salads were crisp and the dressing savory. Of the 5 actors, the older ones tended to interact with the audience. The younger, apparently less experienced ladies tried by lacked the ability, or skill to do so. However, this didn't take away from the performance for us, though I heard others comparing this performance to others they had been to. When our Pasta Primavera arrived, it appeared to be held together with cheese. I asked the sever if she could confirm it was a totally dairy free dish. She went into the kitchen car to check. When she returned she said she was trying to call the caterer to verify, but since the train was between Cumberland and Frostburg there was no phone signal. She said she'd keep trying and would let me know. My wife and the other diners had finished dinner as she kept coming back and apologizing about the inability to reach the caterer. She was very genuine, offering me other choices, but I felt the dinner was just an add on to the experience, and thanked her anyway, asking her to clear my plate.. We arrived at the Frostburg station to witness 'the murder" Before the actors were set up, we had the opportunity to walk around. We went up to the roundtable to watch the engineer rotate the engine so it could be put on the back of the train for the return to Cumberland. We enjoyed watching and interacting with the conductor and crew, then went into the station to watch the murder scene. Heading back down to Cumberland between scenes, the server apologized again, and told me I'd have no issue with the dessert, as she had prepared it herself. She said since she knew there was a passenger with a milk allergy, she made a carrot cake with coconut milk instead of regular milk, and did not top it with the cream cheese frosting. I was impressed! She also gave me a double portion 'to make up for the dinner". The play ended and we were asked to chose our murderer. We discussed and I chose one suspect, my wife another. They collected our cards, and then announced who the murderer was and why. My wife chose correctly and had filled out the answers to the questions, so we departed with the engraved wine glass. As we were walked towards the exit, the server approached me and gave me 2 more dairy free pieces of her carrot cake. We look forward to going back in the fall for the foliage scenic train.
A great way to spend a low key day.
Aug 18, 2014 by: Tamara S from Richmond, Kentucky
I took my elderly mom and dad on this 32 mile, 3 1\2 hour trip and they loved it (one hour there, 11\2 hour layover at Frostburg, and one hour back). The scenery was beautiful and the carts were maintained well. There are restrooms and snacks available on board. There is a good commentator on the train and while I really enjoyed it, I would have loved more. However, some folks were really loud and you couldn't hear everything so the volume on the speakers needs to be turned up. Overall, I enjoyed the scenery, commentary, and time in Frostburg.
Aug 18, 2014 by: KATHY1055 from Baltimore, Maryland
It was a nice ride and the food was very good. but I think they should have a car for children because they were a little loud and we didn't get to hear any of the information they were saying over the speaker.
Murder Mystery...Not worth it. Case closed.
Aug 11, 2014 by: Tom D from Catonsville, Maryland
Let me break a few things down. My wife and I visited Frostburg/Cumberland for a quick weekend getaway that was within driving distance of Baltimore. After looking for something off the beaten path, we decided to try the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. They offered a train ride from Cumberland to Frostburg that included dinner and a murder mystery show. I'll break down the elements so you can decide what is most important for you. 1. The train ride- The ride itself was very nice. Rolling mountains stream past the windows. Farms filled with cows and lush fields graced the landscape in early August. You also travel through a short tunnel and at some points are embraced on both sides by rock where the tracks were blasted through the mountainside. Pretty nice. There is definitely a "scenic" side to the train. See if you can get a seat on that side, as you enjoy views on both the way toward Frostburg and on the way back to Cumberland. When reserving tickets on the website, this means you will want to select seats on the left side of the seating diagram. For the record, my wife and I were on the "non-scenic" side, and it was still nice. If you are into trains, check it out. Watching them turn this gigantic diesel engine around on the turntable was a sight to behold. I Might go back someday to see the steam engine, which is obviously cooler but looks like it only runs during the day. 2. Dinnner: Nothing special. We both ordered the salmon. It was a bit overcooked but not intolerable. Green beans were also overcooked, but at least they were fresh rather than canned. I think the overcooked element might have been that all food was prepared prior boarding the train and just kept warm until it was time to serve. Quality comparable to a wedding reception. 3. Service: The wait staff was working very hard, so I applaud them for their effort. Not the easiest place to serve a meal. They were all extremely friendly. At the Frostburg (where they turn the engine around and you have abrief dismount) one employee let my pregnant wife back onto the train to use the restroom so she would not have to wait in the long line in the train depot. 4. Murder Mystery Show: Really bad. I went into this anticipating hammy local theater, and promised myself that even if it wasn't great I was going for the experience and I would have a good time. With that, I would have been happy. This was just bad. There were 5 performers. Three of them seemed to have learned their lines and were putting forth some effort. The other two did not seem to have learned their lines and just weren't very good. Not sure it was a lack of effort or just bad acting. Which one would be worse? The performers were all talking over each other, there was no distinct plot, and I found myself enjoying the train ride most during the moments they were not performing. DISCLAIMER: If you look at the Murder Mystery website, you'll notice they have several troops that rotate through for performances. So, I can only speak to the performance I saw. I was called Mission: Murder! Do some research, find out the group that performs this show, and avoid it. Maybe you'll have better luck. So, the train ride itself was great. Probably definitely worth the price of an afternoon ride. Dinner and the show were not very good. Not, in my opinion, worth the price of admission. Anyway, that's my review.
Forest and Mould
Aug 08, 2014 by: travelingFelix from Leesburg, Virginia
Scenic is a misnomer - you mostly see trees. The "regular " cars are unrestored mouldy units with ripped dirty covers that will transport you back to 70's New York subways without the artistic graffiti. Frost burg is a dump and you will have to scout for a decent place to eat. My wife gave me a taste of my future afterlife in hell by complaining about everything.
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