Magazine article Insight on the News

All aboard - for Nostalgia

Magazine article Insight on the News

All aboard - for Nostalgia

Article excerpt

Baltimore's B&O Railroad Museum has delighted train buffs for nearly half a century.

The Mount Clare neighborhood of Baltimore, located just west of downtown, is one of those unsung locales where history quietly unfolded. The first passenger train in the United States departed from Mount Clare for Ellicott City, Md., in 1830. Samuel F.B. Morse sent his memorable telegraph message -- "What hath God wrought?" -- from Washington to Mount Clare in 1844.

Though many Americans may not recognize the name, train buffs make regular pilgrimages there to visit the legendary B&O Railroad Museum. This Valhalla of the nation's rolling stock boasts more than 130 steam, diesel and electric locomotives, passenger and dining cars, boxcars, cabooses and Pullman sleepers. There's a replica of the Lafayette, the first B&O, or Baltimore & Ohio, locomotive to have a horizontal boiler, displayed in the museum's famed roundhouse -- a 22-sided structure built in 1884 as a passenger-car repair facility, with a 123-foot-high ceiling and nearly 43,000 square feet of floor space.

"You have got to see 1604 -- it's right outside the door leading to the yard'" says E.B. Meredith, one of the museum's volunteer guides, who has impeccable technical expertise. From 1942 until 1978, Meredith was a fireman (tending the fires that powered steam engines), then an engineer, for the B&O.

No. 1604 is a C&O, or Chesapeake Ohio, workhorse weighing 320 tons that could produce 7,500 horsepower. Visitors may climb aboard the engine and examine its controls. …

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