Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
B&O system map, circa 1961
|Dates of operation||1828–1987|
New York City Transit Authority
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Length||5,658 miles (9,106 kilometres)|
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (reporting mark BO), based in Baltimore, Maryland, was one of the two or three oldest, largest, most important railroads in the history of the mid-Atlantic region. Its great rival was the Pennsylvania Railroad. The B&O was the first Class I railroad in the U.S. as well as one of the first in the nation. During its peak years, the railroad carried coal, steel, and other freight, as well as passengers, as far North as New York City, and as far west as Chicago. Most surviving trackage is operated by CSX Transportation. The B&O provided critical logistic support to the Union during the Civil War, when it was the target of repeated Confederate raids.
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B&O invented many new managerial methods that became standard practice in railroading and modern business. B&O became the first company to operate a locomotive built in America, with the "Tom Thumb" in 1829. It built the first passenger and freight station (Mount Clare in 1829) and was the first railroad that earned passenger revenues (December 1829), and published a timetable (May 23, 1830). On December 24, 1852, it became the first rail line to reach the Ohio River from the eastern seaboard.
First telegraph line
In 1843, Congress appropriated $30,000 for construction of an experimental 38-mile (61 km) telegraph line between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore along the B&O's right-of-way. The B&O approved the project with the agreement that the railroad would have free use of the line upon its completion. An impressive demonstration occurred on May 1, 1844, when news of the Whig Party's nomination of Henry Clay for U.S. President was telegraphed from the party's convention in Baltimore to the Capitol Building in Washington. On May 24, 1844, the line was officially opened as Samuel F. B. Morse sent his famous words "What hath God wrought" from the B&O's Mount Clare station to the Capitol Building along the wire.:59–60
When construction began on the B&O, railroad engineering was in its infancy. Unsure exactly which materials would suffice, the B&O erred on the side of sturdiness and built many of its early structures of granite. Even the track bed to which iron strap rail was affixed consisted of the stone.
Though the granite soon proved too unforgiving and expensive for track, most of the B&O's monumental bridges have survived to this day, and many are still in active railroad use by CSX. Baltimore's Carrollton Viaduct, named in honor of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, was the B&O's first bridge, and is the world's oldest railroad bridge still carrying trains (world's oldest railway bridge is Causey Arch, UK). The Thomas Viaduct in Elkridge, Maryland was the longest bridge in the United States upon its completion in 1835, and remains in use as well. The B&O made extensive use of the Bollman iron truss bridge design in the mid-19th century. Its durability and ease of assembly aided faster railroad construction.
As the B&O built the main line west to Parrs Ridge, it had limited information about the operation of steam locomotives. Consequently, the company was uncertain if the engine's metal wheels would grip the metal rails sufficiently to pull a train up to the top of the ridge. The railroad decided to construct two inclined planes on each side of the ridge along which teams of horses, and perhaps steam-powered winches, would assist pulling the trains uphill. The planes, about a mile long on each side of the ridge, quickly proved an operational bottleneck, and before the decade of the 1830s ended the B&O built a 5.5-mile (8.9 km) long alternate route that became known as the Mount Airy Loop. The planes were quickly abandoned and forgotten, though some artifacts survive to the present.
In popular culture
- The B&O is one of four railroad properties players can own in the Parker Brothers game Monopoly.
- Fanny Brice (Barbra Streisand) rides a train labeled "B&O R.R." in the musical Funny Girl.
- B&O locomotives
- B&O Martinsburg Shops
- B&O Railroad Museum
- Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station, Philadelphia
- Aeolus Railroad Car
- Old Main Line Subdivision
- Baltimore Terminal Subdivision
- Pope's Creek Subdivision
- Camden Station
- Mount Royal Station
- Mount Clare Shops
- Charles T. Hinde
- Capital Crescent Trail
- Drury, George H. (1994). The Historical Guide to North American Railroads: Histories, Figures, and Features of more than 160 Railroads Abandoned or Merged since 1930. Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. pp. 35–40. ISBN 0-89024-072-8.
- An 1827 report shows the motivations of early boosters:
Woody, William (1827). "Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Proceedings of sundry citizens of Baltimore, convened for the Purpose of Devising the most efficient Means of Improving the Intercourse between that City and the Western States". The North American Review (Boston: Frederick T. Gray) 25 (56): 62–73.
- John F. Stover, History of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (Purdue University Press, 1987)
- The original painting is now at the headquarters of CSX Transportation in Jacksonville, Florida. A replica is at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
- see 1827 report that shows motivations of early boosters.
- John F. Stover, History of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad p. 17, 75
- Stover, John F. (1987). History of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.
- Moody, John (1919). "Crossing the Appalachian Range". The Railroad Builders, A Chronicle of the Welding of the States. Chronicles of America Series, Vol. 38. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Retrieved April 6, 2006.
- Lynch, John A. "Justice Douglas, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, and Maryland Legal History". University of Baltimore Law Forum 35 (Spring 2005): 104, 112–125.
- Dilts, James D. (1996). The Great Road: The Building of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad1828–1853. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-2629-0.
- Festus Summers, The Baltimore and Ohio in the Civil War (1939).
- John E. Clark, Jr. (2004). Railroads in the Civil War: The Impact of Management on Victory and Defeat. LSU Press. pp. 36–38.
- "John W. Garrett, President, B & O Railroad." U.S. National Park Service, Monocacy National Battlefield, Frederick, MD. Accessed 2005-11-14.
- Soderberg, Susan C. (1998). The Met: A History of the Metropolitan Branch of the B&O Railroad, Its Stations and Towns. Germantown, MD: Germantown Historical Society. p. 10.
- Scharf, J. Thomas, History of Maryland From the Earliest Period to the Present Day, vol. 3 pages 733–42, Heritage Press: Hatboro, Pa., 1967 (reissue of 1879 edition)
- Pawson, John R. (1979). Delaware Valley Rails: The Railroads and Rail Transit Lines of the Philadelphia Area. Willow Grove, Pennsylvania: John R. Pawson. p. 24. ISBN 0-9602080-0-3.
- Ferneyhough, Frank (1975). The History of Railways in Britain. Reading: Osprey. ISBN 0-85045-060-8.
- Volin, Rudy (July 6, 2006). "Perryville and Havre de Grace, Md.". Trains. Retrieved March 10, 2009.
- Lang, Jr., P.G. (November 1921). "Reconstruction of Bridge 19/95, Indiana Division, Crossing the Great Miami River, Lawrenceburg, Indiana". Baltimore and Ohio Magazine (Baltimore and Ohio Railroad).
- Dilts, James D. The Great Road: The Building of the Baltimore and Ohio, the Nation's First Railroad, 1828-1853 (Stanford University Press, 1996)
- Harwood, Jr., Herbert H. (1994). Impossible Challenge II: Baltimore to Washington and Harpers Ferry from 1828 to 1994. Baltimore: Barnard, Roberts. ISBN 0-934118-22-1.
- Hungerford, Edward. The Story of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, 1827-1927 (1928)
- Previts, Gary John, and William D. Samson. "Exploring the Contents of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Annual Reports: 1827-1856." The Accounting Historians Journal (2000): 1-42. in JSTOR
- Reizenstein, Milton. The Economic History of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad 1827-1853 (1897). online
- Sagle, Lawrence, and Alvin Staufer. B&O Power (Alvin F. Staufer, 1964)
- Stover, John F. History of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (Purdue University Press, 1987)
- Summers, Festus. The Baltimore and Ohio in the Civil War (1939)
- Photographic Views of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road, and Its Branches, From The Lakes to The Sea. Baltimore: Cushings & Bailey. 1872.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.|
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum
- The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Network
- Maryland Railroads as of 1850
- Virginia (and West Virginia) Railroads as of 1850
- Mileposts from CSX Transportation Timetables
- "Services American Railroad Whistles, Train Whistles, The B. & O. Rail Road The P.R.R. and more (12 examles)". Whistle Museum. Archived from the original on 2015-05-04.
- The 1977-1978 Chessie Steam Special for the B&O's 150th Anniversary
- Historic American Engineering Record documentation:
- HAER No. MD-51, "Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Tobacco Warehouse, 1000-1001 Fell Street, Baltimore, Independent City, MD", 27 photos, 5 data pages, 2 photo caption pages
- HAER No. WV-22, "Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Keyser Machine Shop, State Route 46 Northwest of Spring Street, Keyser, Mineral County, WV", 11 photos, 4 data pages, 2 photo caption pages
- HAER No. WV-91, "Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Z Tower, State Route 46, Keyser, Mineral County, WV", 19 photos, 2 photo caption pages