Thursday, August 11, 2016

Trip to Baltimore, Part 2

Frank writes...

Continuing from Part 1, we're still in the roundhouse at the B&O Railroad Museum. There's a lot there to see!

In a museum with an unparalleled collection of 19th-century equipment, they keep the "truly ancient" stuff - i.e. pre-Civil War, or replicas thereof - near the public entrance to the roundhouse. Here we have a rather stagecoach-y car known as the Maryland. It's a 1927 replica of an 1830 car constructed for the initial leg of the Baltimore & Ohio between Mount Clare, where the museum is now, and Ellicott City. This was built for the "Fair of the Iron Horse."
And on the point is another 1927 replica built for the Fair, this time of a 4-2-0 known as the Lafayette. The original engine was among the earliest to use a pony truck.
This intriguing little item is one of the oldest existing passenger cars in North America, one of only three from the 1830s still around. It was built c1838 for the director of a mining association in Nova Scotia and was bought by the B&O as an historic relic in 1883.
Say, this one looks familiar! Sure enough, it's the York, our old friend from the Museum of Science & Industry. This is another replica "grasshopper" engine dating to 1927, but until last year it was on display at MSI in Chicago. Then they purged their railroad collection and this critter came to Mount Clare, which is the perfect home for it I must admit. It's now back home among other similar replicas built for the "Fair of the Iron Horse."
And to round out the collection of "grasshopper" locomotive replicas, here's a 1927 replica of the famous Tom Thumb that won the 1830 trial against a horse. For those wondering, the horse is a replica as well.
And then significantly less old, but rather interesting nonetheless, is this clearance car from the B&O. This would be used to make sure equipment didn't hit anything going through tunnels or the like. Its appearance is pretty striking.
The B&O has a heck of a lot of "there are very few of these surviving" type items. Yet another is this narrow vestibule coach, which was built in 1890 by Pullman for the Lackawanna. Narrow vestibule cars were a brief fad in the 1890s between open platform and enclosed platform passenger equipment and relatively few are still around. I think that Mid-Continent has one in unrestored condition. This car was acquired by the B&O around 1927 and restored as a faux B&O Royal Blue car.
If you liked the Davis Camel from the previous post, you'll probably like this one too. CNJ 592 checks off two "ultra-rare" boxes: it's one of only five camelback locomotives and one of only six 4-4-2 "Atlantic" type locomotives preserved in the U.S. It was built in 1901 by Alco, later than the two surviving 1870s Davis Camels but slightly earlier than the examples in Strasburg and St. Louis. This engine was used until 1949 and was donated to the museum in 1954.
And with that we adjourn to the nearby North Car Shop, which is older than the roundhouse, dating to about 1870. This is where the 20th-century steam engines (which I suspect are too long to fit in the roundhouse) are kept. Here we have C&O 490, one of very few streamlined steam engines preserved in this country, on display. It's a 1926 "Pacific" that was rebuilt in 1946 for the streamlined train the C&O was planning that never got off the ground.
There are a few examples of more modern B&O power in the North Car Shop, of which the most impressive is probably 5300, the President Washington. This is another "Pacific" and was built in 1927, unveiled at the "Fair of the Iron Horse," making it the same age as some of the "grasshopper" replicas pictured above! This engine was retired in 1957 and originally slated for scrapping but was saved at the last minute for preservation. The North Car Shop is arranged more like a normal car barn, meaning it's harder to photograph stuff, but to the left of the 5300 is the museum's 2-6-6-6 "Allegheny" and behind the 5300 on the same track is B&O 4500, a 1918 "Mikado."
There are some nice displays set up at the front of the North Car Shop, including this test rack for 24RL locomotive brake equipment that has been made into a nice exhibit. There's another rack next to it with an AB brake setup.
Say, that looks pretty familiar! When the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago purged their railroad collection they also sold this, half of the running gear from a C&EI "Atlantic." The B&O museum acquired this along with the York and has put it on display. They're working on setting up a button visitors can push to activate the light-and-motion sequence but in the meantime a tour guide hit a breaker and activated the sequence to demonstrate.
There were a couple of prime movers on display, a Detroit Diesel something-or-other and this Winton 201. Gregg Wolfersheim writes, "That's an 8 cylinder version of the 201. Most of them were rated at 1000 H.P. The early shovel nose locos on the Burlington would have had those until the E-5 model which was the first use of the 567 in a road unit on the 'Q'." That's our tour guide, by the way, who was impressively well versed in the equipment he was showing us. In the background is the first GE/IR/Alco boxcab, CNJ 1000. You know... modern stuff.
In my previous post I had mentioned the 2003 collapse of the roundhouse roof. Quite a bit of the equipment that was damaged has been repaired, but this baggage car - built around 1875 right here at Mount Clare for the B&O - is a reminder of the tremendous toll that the collapse took on the museum's collection. It's tough to see but the car's roof is completely gone and the sides are heavily damaged. There but for the grace of God...
But we'll end on a lighter note. I think that the most modern piece of equipment I've pictured thus far is this inspection car from the Ma & Pa, which was rebuilt from a 1937 Buick sedan bought from a funeral home in 1942. Note that rather than just replace the wheels with steel railroad wheels, the railroad added a small truck (with cowcatcher) onto the front of the thing. According to the B&O website the car was also given a compressor, air brakes, and sanders as part of its rebuild. Pretty fancy compared with what those guys on the Milwaukee Road were riding around in!


Tony Gura said...

Thank you for the enjoyable posts.

It looks like they did an outstanding job recovering from the collapse; my sole visit was a few years later when they still had several pieces needing repair. Does the B&O Museum still have the collection of locomotives and railroad cars out in the parking lot?

Tony Gura

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the MSI purge, does anyone know what happened to the "Mississippi" locomotive? Or, for that matter, the horse car replica and the John Stevens replica?
I put up a post regarding these pieces on the RyPN Interchange a couple months ago, but never got a reply.

Cliff McKay

Anonymous said...

I too read your post over at the other site; and have been wondering the same thing.

I have been wanting the same information. The Mississippi is one of the oldest steam locomotives in America. I hope it did not get picked up by a private collector. Usually, though when a museum gets an important artifact like that they tend to crow a bit.

Ted Miles, IRM Member

Randall Hicks said...

As far as I know the information has not been made public. But I'm still so infuriated I probably can't give a coherent answer anyway. I'm never going back there, I'll tell you that.