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B&O Railroad Museum 8/4/2018

by Chris Guenzler

We drove from the National Capitol Trolley Museum north on Interstate 95 to Baltimore and after figuring out the one-way streets here, we arrived at the B&O Railroad Museum.

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum

The B&O Railroad Museum is a museum exhibiting historic railroad equipment in Baltimore, Maryland, originally named the Baltimore & Ohio Transportation Museum when it opened on July 4, 1953. It has been called one of the most significant collections of railroad treasures in the world and has the largest collection of 19th-century locomotives in the United States. The museum is located in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's old Mount Clare Station and adjacent roundhouse, part of the B&O's sprawling Mount Clare Shops site begun in 1829, the oldest railroad manufacturing complex in the United States.

Mount Clare is considered to be a birthplace of American railroading, as the site of the first regular railroad passenger service in the United States, beginning on May 22, 1830. It was also to this site that the first telegraph message, "What hath God wrought?" was sent on May 24, 1844, from Washington, D.C., using Samuel F. B. Morse's invention.

The museum houses collections of 19th- and 20th-century artifacts related to America's railroads. The collection includes 250 pieces of railroad rolling stock, 15,000 artifacts, 5,000 cubic feet of archival material, four significant 19th-century buildings, including the historic roundhouse and a mile of track, considered the most historic mile of railroad track in the United States. Train rides are offered on the mile of track on Wednesday through Sunday from April through December and weekends in January. In 2002, the museum had 160,000 visitors annually.

The museum also features an outdoor G-scale layout, an indoor HO scale model, and a wooden model train for children to climb on. From Thanksgiving tthrough the New Year, local model railroad groups set up large layouts on the roundhouse floor and in select locations on the grounds of the museum. A museum store offers toys, books, DVDs and other railroad-related items.

The museum and station were designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1961. In 2008, the Museum won three awards in Nickelodeon's Parents' Picks Awards in the categories of: Best Museum for Little Kids, Best Indoor Playspace for Little Kids, and Best Indoor Playspace for Big Kids. Television and film actor Michael Gross is the museum's "celebrity spokesman".


The inaugural horse-drawn B&O train travelled the 13 miles of the newly completed track from Mount Clare to Ellicott Mills (now Ellicott City, Maryland), on May 22, 1830. The existing Mount Clare station brick structure was constructed in 1851. The adjacent roundhouse designed by Ephraim Francis Baldwin was built in 1884 to service the B&O's passenger cars.

For much of its history, the B&O had been collecting locomotives and other artifacts from its history for public relations purposes. This collection was stored in various places, until the railroad decided to centralize it in a permanent home and the car shop of the Mt. Clare Shops was chosen.

The museum ended up outliving its parent B&O Railroad, and was kept intact by both the Chessie System and CSX Corporation. In 1990, CSX deeded the property and collection to the newly formed, not-for-profit museum organization governed by an independent board of directors and provided it with a $5 million endowment. In 1999, the museum became affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution.

In the early morning of February 17, 2003, heavy snow from the Presidents' Day Storm collapsed half of the roof of the museum's roundhouse. Although the structure's central support columns remained standing, the supporting iron struts and ties of the destroyed roofing sections failed under the snow load. The museum suffered heavy damage not only to the roundhouse itself but also to the collection within the roundhouse. Some of the items were damaged beyond repair. Reporting on the devastation the following day, The Baltimore Sun said, "...hours after the collapse, columns of mangled steel stuck out from the roundhouse ... Locomotives and passenger cars in the museum's collection, some dating from the 1830s, could be seen covered with snow and debris." The roundhouse, with a newly repaired roof, reopened to the public on November 13, 2004, and the damaged locomotives and cars were surrounded by a plexiglass barrier. As of September 2015, all damaged exhibits had been restored to their original appearance.

After the roof collapse, subsequent fund raising and restoration allowed the museum to upgrade many of its facilities. In 2005 the museum opened a new service facility west of the roundhouse for restoration of historical equipment and maintenance of active equipment.

Our Visit

We started with the trains in the parking lot.

Baltimore and Ohio GP40 3684 built by EMD in 1966.

Baltimore and Ohio SW900 633 built by EMD in 1955.

Baltimore and Ohio RDC-2 1961 built by Budd in 1956.

American Freedom Train 4-8-4 1 built by Baldwin in 1923, originally Reading 2101.

Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad 70 ton switcher 50 built by General Electric in 1950.

Museum scene.

Patapsco and Black River Railroad VO-1000 built by Baldwin in 1944 originally Canton Railroad 332. The Canton Railroad was chartered in 1906 and tracks were laid between 1905 and 1914, with rail operations starting in 1907. It operated in eastern Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

Western Maryland Railway RS-3 195 built by Alco in 1953.

BOMX {Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum} H-12-44 9733 built by Fairbanks-Morse in 1955 as Milwaukee Road 2321.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad SD35 7402 and train.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad SD35 7402 built by EMD in 1964.

Baltimore and Ohio bay window caboose C2943 built by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1960.

Baltimore and Ohio Camp Car X4055, originally 12-1 sleeper "Thendara" built by Pullman in 1926. From here we went in, introduced ourselves and they let us in. We went straight to the B&O Roundhouse and started looking around.

Baltimore & Ohio Clearance Car CE15 built by the Baltimore and Ohio in 1904. These cars were used to gauge internal tunnel clearances. The metal fingers were extended, the car was pushed through a tunnel and the resulting displacement showed the minimum clearance of the tunnel. The feelers were also sometimes connected to measuring instruments inside the car.

A replica of "Pioneer", one of the first horse-drawn passenger cars to operate in the country, built at the Mt. Clare workshops in 1892. It was displayed at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, the 1927 Fair of the Iron Horse, the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair, 1939-40 New York World's Fair and 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair. The original was built by Richard Imlay and carried the Baltimore and Ohio company directors on their trip from Mt. Clare to Ellicott's Mills on May 22, 1830. The run from Mt. Clare was thirteen miles and took about one-and-a-half hours to complete.

Peter Cooper Baltimore and Ohio Tom Thumb and Director Car replica built in 1927 for the Fair of the Iron Horse. The original was built in 1830 by inventor and businessman Peter Cooper as a demonstrator locomotive. On August 28, 1830, it carried the Baltimore and Ohio directors in a passenger car to Ellicott's Mills, to their amazement, travelling at the then impressive speed of 10-14 miles per hour. It was later dubbed "Tom Thumb" because of its small size and weight of less than a ton. "Tom Thumb" was the first successful American steam locomotive, although it only hauled passengers until March 1831 and never went into regular service. It was salvaged for parts in 1834.

Replica of Baltimore and Ohio "The York" built in by Baltimore & Ohio in 1927 for use in the Fair of the Iron Horse. The original was built in 1831.

Replica of Baltimore and Ohio "Atlantic". The original "Atlantic" 2 was an 0-4-0 built in 1832 by Phineas Davis and Israel Gartner of York, Pennsylvania, after winning the competition to design a suitable locomotive for the line. It was scrapped in 1835. This "Atlantic" is actually the "Andrew Jackson" 7, built at the Mt. Clare shops in 1836 by Ross Winans and George Gillingham, and adapted in 1892 to resemble "Atlantic" 2 for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, IL. It appeared at the Fair of the Iron Horse in 1927.

Replica of Baltimore and Ohio 4-2-0 13 "Lafayette 13" built at the Mt. Clare workshops in 1927 for the Fair of the Iron Horse where it was displayed as the "William Galloway". William Galloway had driven the first, horse-drawn train from Mt. Clare to Elllicott's Mills in 1830. He later became an engineer on the B&O and apparently worked in that capacity for over fifty years. The Fair of the Iron Horse marked the 100th anniversary of the chartering of the B&O by the states of Virginia and Maryland.

Baltimore and Ohio 0-4-0 "John Hancock" built in 1836 by George Gillingham and Ross Winans .

Baltimore and Ohio iron pot hopper 23001 built in the 1880's.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 0-8-0 57 "Memnon" built under sub-contract to Baldwin by the Newcastle Manufacturing Company in 1848. It was rebuilt in 1853 and then served in the Civil War hauling troops and supplies for the Union. Since then, it has been known as the "Old War Horse".

Baltimore & Ohio coach 21 built by the Wason Manufacturing Company in 1868.

Baltimore & Ohio box car 17001 built in 1863 by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Baltimore & Ohio 4-6-0 Camelback 5 "Ross Winans" built in 1869 by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad as 305 and was renumbered 187 in 1884. It was retired in 1892 and displayed at the 1893 World's Columbian Exhibition in Chicago as 129 and then renumbered as 217 in 1927 for the Fair of the Iron Horse. It also appeared at the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair and the 1939-40 New York World's Fair.

Cumberland Valley Railroad 2-2-2 13 "Pioneer" built by Union Works in 1851. During the Civil War, the CVRR provided an important supply line carrying Union materiel and troops to southern Pennsylvania, western Maryland and northern Virginia. In 1862, Confederate troops raided Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, burning the engine house in which the "Pioneer" and several other locomotives were stored. Some of the locomotives were destroyed but the "Pioneer" escaped major damage. It continued to operate over the railroad until it was finally retired in 1901.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 4-4-0 "William Mason" built by Mason Machine Works in 1856.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 4-6-0 117 "Thatcher Perkins" built by the Baltimore and Ohio in 1863 to meet increased demand arising from the Civil War. The railroad gave it the name "Thatcher Perkins" for the 1927 Fair of the Iron Horse to honour its designer.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 2-6-0 Mogul 600 "J.C. Davis" built by the Baltimore and Ohio in 1875 and named for the then Master of Machinery, John C. Davis.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 2-8-0 Consolidation 545 "A.J. Cromwell" built by the Baltimore and Ohio in 1898 and designed by Andrew J. Cromwell, the B&O's Supervisor of Motive Power.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Boxcab Electric CE-1 10 built by General Electric in 1909.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad wooden caboose C-1775 built by the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad in 1907 and sold to the Baltimore and Ohio in 1931.

Greenbrier, Cheat & Elk Railroad Three Cylinder Shay 1 built for the G.W. Huntley Lumber Company of Neola, West Virginia, in 1905 by Lima Locomotive Works.

Central Railroad of New Jersey 4-4-2 Atlantic Camelback 592 built by Alco in 1902.

Clinchfield 4-6-0 1, also known as "Old Number One", was built in 1882 by the Columbus, Chicago & Indiana Central Railroad. Now here is something for all of you.

A 360 view around the B&O Mount Clare Roundhouse. Next we looked back behind the roundhouse.

Western Maryland F7A 236 built by EMD in 1952.

Heavy load on this Western Maryland 50 foot well flat car 6011 built in 1953 by Greenville.

Western Maryland caboose 1803 built in 1936 by Western Maryland Railroad.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad RDC-1 9913 built in 1953 by Budd as B&O 6513.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad snowplow X17 built in 1919 by Russell.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 16-4 sleeper "Oriole" built by Budd in 1954.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad GP30 6944 built by EMD in 1962.

Pere Marquette Railway SW-1 11 built by EMD in 1942.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad caboose C-2222 built by the Baltimore and Ohio in 1929. Now we will enter the old B&O car shop.

Chesapeake & Ohio Railway 4-6-4 Hudson (Streamlined) 490 built by Alco in 1926.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 4-6-2 Pacific 5300, "President Washington" built by Baldwin in 1927. The locomotives initially hauled the Royal Blue trains between Washington, DC, and Jersey City, New Jersey, but they were soon relegated to the western division by the B&O's early dieselisation in the 1930's.

Central of New Jersey 1000 Ingersoll Rand built in 1925. It was the first commercially successful diesel-electric to operate in the America and was a joint effort of Alco, General Electric and Ingersoll Rand. Next we looked out of the rear open door.

Chesapeake & Ohio Railway 2-8-4, Kanawha 2705 built in 1943 by Alco.

Western Maryland Railway BL2 81 built by EMD in 1948. Now we looked inside the B&O car shop.

The Maryland Merci Car. In 1947, the United States began a relief effort to war-torn France and Italy. States donated box cars of goods, food and clothes to an "American Friendship Train". The French responded with a forty-nine box car "Merci Train" (Thank You Train) two years later, one for each state at the time, and one to be shared between the District of Columbia, Alaska and Hawaii. The cars, called "40 et 8" (40 and 8) cars because the French military rated them to carry forty soldiers or eight horses, contained artwork, antiques and books.

Chesapeake and Ohio 4-6-6-6 Allegheny 1604 built by Lima in 1941.

St. Elizabeth Hospital 0-4-0T 4 "St. Elizabeth" built in 1950 by the Federal Security Agency then transferred to the United States Army in 1969.

Potomac Electric Power Co. 0-4-0 fireless steam engine 43 built by Heisler in 1938. It worked its entire life for PEPCO, first at the Buzzard Point Power Station in Washington DC, and then at the Potomac River Power Station in Alexandria, Virginia. It was retired in 1978 because it lacked the power to handle the 70-100 ton coal hoppers coming into use at that time.

Chesapeake & Ohio 4-6-0 377 built by Burnham, Williams & Company, an early incarnation of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, for the Cincinnati, Richmond & Muncie Railroad in 1902 as 108. It was due to be scrapped, but the City of Logan, West Virginia, asked if it could be "aged" for the anniversary celebration of the first Chesapeake and Ohio locomotive to arrive at the city in 1904. The C&O obliged by installing an oil headlight, flanged stack, cylinder head stars, a wooden pilot and an old style paint scheme. After the anniversary, C&O coupled it with ex-Hocking Valley wooden combine 409 for display and to work as a good will ambassador for the railroad. It was occasionally steamed up before being permanently relocated to the museum in 1971. It is the oldest surviving steam locomotive to have operated on the C&O.

Baltimore & Ohio 2-8-2 4500 built in just twenty days by Baldwin in 1918. It was the first locomotive produced by the United States Railroad Administration. To exit we had to walk back through the roundhouse so I stopped for one last picture inside because it looked so good.

Baltimore & Ohio 4-6-0 camelback 305. We then went to the gift shop and purchased several items. As we exited the building, we thanked our hosts for an excellent visit to their very fine museum.

Signal display outside in front.

The B&O Mount Clare Museum from the parking lot. From here we drove to the west end of the property to see if anything was out to photograph, which there was.

Baltimore and Ohio GP7 6405 built by EMD in 1953.

Baltimore and Ohio GP7 6405 and B&O observation car "Royal Blue" (tavern-lounge-observation car built by Budd in 1948 as New York Central 50) used on the excursion train. We woul make our way from here over to the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, our final stop of the day here in Baltimore, where we would meet up with Bob, if all went according to plan.