Last October I took a quick trip to Baltimore for an event. I’ve visited Baltimore a dozen or so times but never had the downtime to take a trip to the B&O Railroad Museum. Finally this time I did and I’m really glad and I did – and hope you will be too! I recently got around to processing all my images from then (I’m always many months behind) and was reminded of some really awesome things I saw there – easily worth another trip there in the future! 🙂
Of course, one of the first things I do whenever I visit a museum or building or location is make a complete circumnavigation of the site to get a look at it from all angles. And I’m thankful I did with the B&O Museum because on one side of the complex, the south side, the slightly neglected side (that isn’t front-facing or near a main entrance road) is some wonderful mural work:
and it only gets better from here!
By now I’ve entered the parking lot of the museum, and before even going inside you can get a glimpse of what’s on offer – like the couple dozen trains permanently parked in the lot!
And we haven’t even gone inside the museum yet!!
The first part of the museum is cliche: gift shop, historical artifacts (small stuff – now show me the trains!) but upon entering the museum proper the view is its own reward:
At this point it’s basically a non-stop gawk at a dozen or so historic trains including some that you can get a little bit closer to than others – or see some of the guts of the engine/cab, etc:
There’s also a hand crank-cart:
And also one of these ‘sidecar’ cars I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a thing like this before:
Also tools of the trade:
Now at this point you probably think to yourself, “Whew, that sure was a whole lotta train!”
And then you realize there are more trains outside and in other train car buildings!
TL;DR: MORE TRAINS!
For instance there is this beautiful, gorgeous, classic 490 “Hudson”:
and a car designed for being pulled along on railroad tracks:
And then, seemingly out of nowhere, is this gem of a display, of a scale model B&O “5300” Class P7 train made in brass – entirely handmade, even the rivets!
There are also a few cars outside that you can get up close to or inside – and really get a sense for the interiors of these old trains, how they were laid out, interior designed, etc:
And of course it wouldn’t be a train museum without a model train diorama – a really big diorama (I probably spent 15 minutes just gaping at all the sub-zones in the model, contemplating the ebb & flow of life inside the diorama after hours (you know, when the model comes alive):
And good on them for making the diorama controllers visible for study as well:
A-ma-zing. Simply amazing. This whole place.
But wait, there’s more! (HOW IS POSSIBLE?!)
Walking back through the main rotunda-museum I did not notice this B&O D2 repair car the first time:
And even then there’s still more! You’ve seen the model train diorama, but what about the…I don’t know how to describe these, the model train artifacts? Like, really nice scale model units, but not for dioramas, almost simply facsimiles of the real deal – they have their own breakout zone in the museum:
This place is bewildering.
And finally one last mention, I commend them for even acknowledging the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 – a year (and series of events) which goes greatly overlooked in the origins of modern American history:
This place is simply astounding. One of my all-time favorite museums I’ve ever visited in the world – among the hundreds and hundreds of museums, this one stands out!
Go there if you’re ever in Baltimore and have a few free hours 🙂
Complete set of high-res images (and some videos) can be seen here on my Flickr.