The B&O Railroad, By Kirk Reynolds And Dave Oroszi
Over the past several several years publisher MBI Publishing of Osceola,
Wisconsin has released several books highlighting the history of
individual classic railroads as part of their "Railroad, Color, History"
series. Not only do the titles offer rich histories of these companies
but also includes excellent, historic photographs many of which are in color. Baltimore And Ohio Railroad, by Kirk Reynolds
and Dave Oroszi is another in the series. As with most, however, you
will find noted rail historians have helped in some way to bring the books
to life and this title is no different with names like Mike Schafer and
the late Jim Boyd contributing in some manner. Overall, Baltimore And Ohio Railroad
offers eight different chapters highlighting the railroad from its
earliest beginnings to its high speed freight and passenger services. If
you enjoy studying the history of the company, like I do, then I would certainly recommend picking up a copy of this book.
|A pair of Baltimore & Ohio E8As led by #1461 have a short "Capitol Limited" under the wires at Washington, D.C. on April 29, 1969.|
B&O Railroad begins with an Acknowledgements and Foreword. The former is written by author Mr. Oroszi describing how the book came together and giving especial notice to the historians who helped bring the book
together. Along with the two individuals mentioned above it includes
noted B&O historian Herb H. Harwood, Jr., Dave Ori, Dave Ingles,
Stephen Salamon, Mark Perri, and numerous other photographs. The latter
is a full page piece put together by Mr. Perri aforementioned and
essentially gives you a brief background and history of the Baltimore
& Ohio. While you may already know part or much of the company's
history the reading here is interesting as it is taken from a
The opening chapter of the book, as you might expect, discusses the birth of the Baltimore & Ohio and how the company
was started by a group of Baltimore businessmen wishing to see their
city's port remain a vital establishment. Other discussions within the
chapter speak of the B&O's early and crude technologies such as
dealing with strap rail, understanding the importance of what would
become this country's standard railroad gauge (4 feet, 8 1/2 inches)
after taking a trip to England, and some of the first steam locomotives.
From an historical perspective the first chapter also describes the
difficulties of the B&O building westward, reaching Washington, D.C.
and its struggles during the Civil War. In many ways it is a
fascinating first chapter as you will learn how the B&O pioneered
several concepts that later became industry standards.
|B&O GP9 #6677 and a pair of F7Bs hustle a manifest freight through the outskirts of Washington, D.C. on December 17, 1968.|
The second chapter continues discussing the Baltimore & Ohio's
journey westward especially focusing on how the company's two primary
main lines were formed; for instance, noting how it reached Pittsburgh
and Chicago, and then later purchasing or building new railroad directly
west of then Grafton, Virginia to Parkersburg, Cincinnati (Ohio) and
other points towards St. Louis. One of the fascinating aspects of this
chapter describes how the B&O looked to reach deep into Virginia,
south of Harrisonburg but management was too focused on other endeavors.
The rest of this chapter highlights the B&O's famed "Royal Blue Line", its electrified operations around Baltimore, and its financial struggles of the late 19th century.
B&O Railroad's third chapter describes the B&O during the
first half of the 20th century, its takeover by the Pennsylvania
Railroad, and its most influential and important president, Daniel
Willard. This section, however, is rather short and soon moves into
chapter four that highlights the B&O post-World War II and no longer with Willard as its leader. In "The Modern B&O" the authors speak of the company as it falls again into financial
difficulty and is eventually taken over by its stronger neighbor, the
Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. Here the company's history moves quickly
through the book as it the chapter ends by describing how it came to be in today's CSX Transportation system.
However, this is not the end of Baltimore And Ohio Railroad. In chapter five Dave Oroszi and Kirk Reynolds
talk about the B&O's interesting passenger fleet, especially during
the streamliner era where trains were adorned in a beautiful deep blue
and grey with gold trim. In chapter six the B&O's fast freights are
highlighted such as Timesavers and Trailer Jets between Baltimore and
Chicago/St. Louis. Finally, the book concludes by giving mention to the
B&O's steam, diesel, and electric locomotives and ends with an
epilogue describing the importance the company's legacy continues to
play within the industry today.
|B&O/Chessie System GP7 #5615 and a Western Maryland caboose appear to be part of a local freight as the very short train is seen here at Blue Island, Illinois on June 24, 1977.|
Overall, the history within the book is, of course, quite fascinating.
However, just as interesting is the excellent photography of the
B&O. I have one of the more dated writings of the book although I'm sure nothing, or very little, has changed with it over the years. Featured throughout the title are rare, black and white photos
of the B&O during its early years and throughout the Civil War.
Additionally, its early streamliners are featured as well as color
photos of its massive steam locomotives. Finally, the company is featured during its final years in Chessie System paint. If you're interested in perhaps purchasing B&O Railroad please visit the link below which will take you to ordering information through Amazon.com, the trusted online shopping network.