Sykesville Museum on Track CARROLL COUNTY

June 04, 1993

Sykesville's plan to establish a model railroad museum is out of the roundhouse and on track, thanks to the offer of a vintage Pullman car from the B&O Railroad Museum to house the exhibits.

The Baltimore museum's bequest solves the town's problem of where to put the $10,000 collection of models and display equipment that was donated last fall by Lionel Trains Inc. at the request of Sykesville railroad enthusiasts.

And it preserves a venerable rail car that has been faced with deterioration and the indignities of old age and neglect.

The green and gold deluxe passenger car, No. 1278 on the Baltimore & Ohio line, was elegantly appointed with 12 first-class compartments when it went into service in 1912. Later, the fading beauty was converted to transport troops during World War II. In recent years, it has languished on the tracks of the CSX yard in Curtis Bay, shuttled from one spur to another.

Vandals have broken some windows and written graffiti on one side. The interior paneling will also need some repairs. Volunteers from the town will be able to do much of the renovations, architect William Keeney has offered his services and the town council is hoping to secure a community development grant to finance the project.

"We have had really positive reactions, a lot of citizens are behind this," said Bruce Greenberg, a local businessman coordinating the project. The 80-foot, 90,000-pound Pullman can easily travel by rail from Baltimore to the town for display, on lease for $1 a year.

Despite the donations of equipment and volunteer work, the project could use between $100,000 and $200,000 to make it complete, town fathers say. The money would be used for disabled-access ramps to the attraction, public restrooms next door, a workshop for the exhibit pieces, and a small shop to sell model railroading items. Shop sales and admissions should generate the $15,000 annually needed to maintain the museum.

Sykesville's fascination with its railroad history is already in evidence. There are plans to use two cabooses, that now stand off a rail line still in daily use, for retail shops. The rebuilt train station already houses a popular restaurant. Model railroading is a community pastime. The model museum will reinforce that historic pride, as well as generate some welcome tourist traffic. Full steam ahead!

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