The annual search is on for photos and other types of memorabilia relating to the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad and its narrow gauge predecessors.
Members of the Old Line Museum in Delta, Pa., and other Ma & Pa buffs, collectively calling themselves the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad Gang, are soliciting donations of artifacts from the general public and collectors through April 27; however, any materials found after that date will still be gratefully accepted, according to Jerome Murphy, of Baldwin, who is once again leading the collection effort.
A similar drive last year resulted in several new additions to the museum's collection, Murphy said.
The railroad gang will be looking for anything and everything connected to the railroad and its narrow gauge predecessors starting in the 1860s and 1870s and running to about 1980. The railroad connected Baltimore and York, Pa., running across Harford County, eastern Baltimore County and the northern part of Baltimore City. The last trains ran on the Maryland Division between Baltimore and Whiteford in 1958.
"Nothing is too small, unwanted or unimportant," Murphy explained, adding that if someone is unsure of what they have found, they are encouraged to bring it to the Old Line Museum and let a member of the railroad gang help decide.
"Last year's drive was very successful and we want to thank all who took part in it," he said.
The museum, 602 Main St. in Delta, will be open from 1:30 to 4 p.m. to receive material on both April 26 and 27. If these dates are not workable, call 410-592-7491 so other arrangements can be made. Small packages and paper items can also be mailed to Ma & Pa Memorabilia, P.O. Box 9706, Baldwin, Md. 21013-0706.
"Tales of the Rails," a feature that members hope will become a permanent part of Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad Month each June, will begin with this year's search.
Murphy said many visitors come to the museum each year with stories about the railroad and are anxious to share them, so they have decided to record visitors recollections on April 26 and 27, for future visitors to enjoy.
Murphy explained there is a lot of material waiting to be found and, once lost, it is gone forever.
"We don't want that to happen," he said.
Like last year, the search is for all types of photos, both new and old, of former employees, stations, locomotives, passenger and freight cars, maps, annual reports, Ma & Pa tickets and passes, switch key locks and other keys, lanterns, newspaper articles and anything else that is remotely connected to the railroad.
Last year, Murphy said, the railroad gang learned that a number of people had material that they didn't want to part with. To accommodate them, Murphy said, it will be possible to bring the material to the museum, have it photographed immediately and returned.
"This will allow visitors to the museum to see the material and also make it available for future generations to enjoy," he said.