The Baltimore & Ohio Train Museum, previously known as the Baltimore & Ohio Transportation Museum when it first opened its doors on July 4, 1953, is a museum in Baltimore, Maryland, dedicated to displaying vintage railroad equipment. Described as “one of the most significant collections of railroad relics in the world,” it houses the largest collection of 19th-century locomotives in the United States, as well as the world’s largest collection of steam locomotives.
The museum is housed in the former Mount Clare Station and adjacent roundhouse of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which is part of the B&O’s enormous Mount Clare Shops site, which was established in 1829 and is the oldest railroad manufacturing complex in the United States.
Click here for some more information on Ellicott City, Maryland. Since May 22, 1830, Mount Clare has been referred to as the “birthplace” of American railroading, as it was the site of the country’s first regular railroad passenger service that began on that date. It was also to this location that the first telegraph message, “What hath God wrought?” was transmitted on May 24, 1844, from Washington, D.C., via Samuel F. B. Morse’s electric telegraph, on which the phrase “What hath God wrought?” was included.
The museum houses collections of objects from the 19th and 20th centuries that are relevant to the railroads of the United States. In addition to the 250 pieces of railroad rolling stock and 15,000 artifacts in the collection, there are four significant nineteenth-century buildings, including the historic roundhouse, and a mile of track, which is considered to be the most historically significant railroad track in the United States. From April through December, train rides are available on the mile-long track on Wednesdays through Sundays, as well as on weekends during the month of January. Annual attendance at the museum reached 160,000 people in 2002.
An outdoor G-scale layout, an indoor HO scale model, as well as a wooden model train for youngsters to climb on, are all available at the museum. Over the course of the holiday season and into the New Year, local model railroad organizations built up enormous layouts on the roundhouse floor and in various locations around the museum grounds. Toys, books, DVDs, and other railroad-related things are available for purchase in the museum store.
In 1961, the museum and station were designated as a National Historic Landmark by the United States Congress. Nickelodeon’s Parents’ Picks Prizes presented three awards to the Museum in 2008: Best Museum for Little Kids, Best Indoor Playspace for Little Kids, and Best Indoor Playspace for Big Kids. In addition, the Museum received a nomination for Best Museum for Big Kids. Michael Gross is a television and film actor who serves as the museum’s “celebrity spokesman.” For more information be sure to check out The Patapsco Valley.
Every year, the museum also conducts a Day out with Thomas event, which includes a train journey that includes a non-powered Thomas the Tank Engine replica made by the Strasburg Rail Road and a Thomas the Tank Engine exhibit.
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