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B&O Railroad Museum 8/4/2018

by Chris Guenzler

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

B&O 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 U.S. 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 U.S., 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 (21 km) of the newly completed track from Mount Clare to Ellicott Mills (now Ellicott City, Maryland), on May 22, 1830, the first regular railroad passenger service in the U.S. 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. The car shop of the Mt. Clare Shops was chosen, and the new museum opened on July 4, 1953.

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.

The Museum on February 17, 2003, shortly after its blizzard-caused roof collapse

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 have 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.

B&O GP-40 3684.

B&O SW 900 633.

B&O RDC4 1961.

American Freedom Train Reading 4-8-4 1.

Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad GE 70-Tonner 50.

Museum scene.

Patapsco and Black River Railroad VO-1000.

Western Maryland Railway RS-3 195.

BOMX H-12-44 9733.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad SD-35 7402 and train.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad SD-35 7402.

B&O baywidow caboose C2943.

B&O Camp Car X0445. From here we went in and introduced ourselves and they let us in. We went straight to the B&O Roundhouse and started looking around.

Baltimore & Ohio Clearance Car CE15.

An early Horse Car.

Peter Cooper Baltimore and Ohio Tom Thumb and Director Car replica built in 1926.

Baltimore and Ohio The York 1831.

Baltimore and Ohio Atlantic 1832.

Baltimore and Ohio Lafayette 13 Replica.

Baltimore and Ohio Johm Hancock.

Baltimore and Ohio early tank car 23001.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 0-8-0 57 Memnon.

Batlimore & Ohio Coach 21 built by the Wason Manufacturing Company in 1868.

Batlimore & Ohio box car 17001.

Batlimore & Ohio Camelback Ross Winans 5 built 1869.

Cumberland Valley Railroad 2-2-2 13 "Pioneer".

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 4-4-0 William Mason.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Camelback 4-6-0 305, "Ross Winans".

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 4-6-0 117 Thatcher Perkins.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 2-6-0 Mogul 600.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 2-8-0 Consolidation 545 A.J. Cromwell.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Electric CE-1 10.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad wooden caboose 1775.

Greenbrier, Cheat & Elk Railroad Three Cylinder Shay 1.

Central Railroad of New Jersey 4-4-2 Atlantic Camelback 592.

Clinchfield 4-6-0 1. Now here is something for all of you.

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

Western Maryland F-7A 236.

Heavy load on this Western Maryland 6011 car.

Western Maryland caboose 1803.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad RDC-1 9913.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad snowplow X17.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Sleeper Oriole.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad GP-30 6944.

Pere Marquette Railway SW-1 11.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad caboose 2222. Now we will end the old B&O car shop./P>

Chesapeake & Ohio Railway 4-6-4 Hudson (Streamlined) 490.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 4-6-2 Pacific 5300, President Washington.

Central of New Jersey 1000 Ingersoll Rand built in 1925. Next we looked out the rear open door.

Chesapeake & Ohio Railway 2-8-4, Kanawha 2705.

Western Maryland Railway BL-2 81. Now we looked inside the B&O car shop.

The Maryland Merci Car from France.

Chesapeake and Ohio 4-6-6-6 Allegheny 1604.

St. Elizabeth Hospital 0-4-0T 4 St. Elizabeth.

Potomac Electric Power Co. 0-4-0 fireless steam engine 43.

Chesapeake & Ohio 4-6-0 377.

Baltimore & Ohio 2-8-2 4500. 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 B&O Railroad 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 GP-7 6405.

Baltimore and Ohio GP-7 6405 and the B&O observation car used on the excursion train. We will 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.