B&O Museum presents artifacts not normally seen

Train rides and music for holiday weekend


September 01, 2005|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,SUN STAFF

Come on, come on, do the locomotion this weekend and celebrate American railroading at the B&O Railroad Museum.

"Labor Day Weekend at the B&O" takes place Saturday and Sunday with train rides, live entertainment, interpretive programs, exhibit tours and more on this 40-acre historic site.

"There's plenty for folks of all ages and interests," says Amy Getz, B&O Railroad Museum spokeswoman. "We'll have free train rides throughout the weekend ... on the `1200,' the big red locomotive. And we'll have pump-car rides for the kids. And a little kiddie train that rides around the backyard. And there's a stationary wooden train playset that kids can climb on."

Music will be provided by Ray Owens and his "Great American Railroad Show," which includes music, songs and stories, and the Royal Blues, the B&O Railroad's Dixieland band.

Author Dwight Jones will talk about his train book Baltimore & Ohio Cabooses: Photos & Diagrams and sign copies. Before Jones' talk and book-signing, the museum will present a program on cabooses.

Visitors can tour the museum, see the exhibits, the railroad equipment from the 19th and 20th centuries, the locomotive and rolling stock collections, the original shop buildings and the surviving tracks.

Buildings not usually open to the public will welcome visitors this weekend.

"Our North Car Shop will be open," says Getz of the repair shop that was built in 1869 and recently rehabilitated. The North Car Shop "will have some of the many rare and significant pieces of railroading history that people haven't been able to see before because the building hasn't been open to the public."

Visitors will see the inner workings of a diesel train engine, how air brakes work and other interesting train parts.

"There's a lot ... that you wouldn't otherwise see," says Getz. "It's a very industrial building. It was used by the B&O as a passenger-car shop, and it still looks like that. It's still funky; it looks old. It's not clean and pretty like the Roundhouse."

And when visitors venture into the museum's gallery, they'll see the permanent Railroad China & Silver exhibit of pieces that were used in dining cars during the heyday of railroading, Getz explains. A new feature allows guests to browse more rare pieces from the exhibit on a computer.

"We don't have enough space to display all the pieces of china that we have, so the computer lets folks look through some of our other pieces that aren't on display right now, and zoom in and look at details and look at different angles," Getz says.

Also on permanent display is the exhibit Clocks, Pocket Watches and Railroad Time, which shows off an array of unique timepieces and explains how the railroad industry was instrumental in the creation of standard time.

"Labor Day Weekend at the B&O" takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, 901 W. Pratt St. Museum admission is $14; $10 ages 60 and older; $8 ages 2-12. Call 410-752-2490 or visit www.borail.org.

For more family events, see Page 33.

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