Baltimore & Ohio Steam In Color, By David Mainey

Header Photo: Drew Jacksich

The book Baltimore & Ohio Steam In Color is written by author David T. Mainey and published in 2001 by the leading company in the field of railroad titles, Morning Sun Books. On a personal note I should have many more Morning Sun books in my collection given the excellent photography featured in every one along with the fact that the publisher tends to release titles related to the classic era of the industry. This book is no different with, as it is nearly 130 pages in length and nearly every one includes color images of the B&O's steam era, particularly during the 1940s and 1950s. While the photographs are excellent you can also learn a great deal about all of the B&O's classes of steam locomotives from its small switchers to large articulateds like the 2-8-8-4s (Class EM-1s) and 2-6-6-4s , the KB-1 (the book is not really broken down into chapters but merely highlights each class). If you enjoy studying the Baltimore & Ohio you should certainly like Baltimore And Ohio Steam In Color.

If you are looking for a book highlighting the general history of the B&O this one is not it (a good book on that subject, however, is Baltimore & Ohio Railroad by by Kirk Reynolds and Dave Oroszi). In any event, Mr. Mainey's book begins with a few introductions and opening statements. The first discusses how the book came together and the author's time working for the B&O during the 1950s and 1960s. He also mentions how he finally decided to put together an entire book covering B&O steam. Perhaps the most interesting section here is the the introduction to B&O steam locomotives. It is here where you will first learn about the different classes of such and their particular wheel arrangements. It is a full two pages in length and quite detailed.

The first class Baltimore And Ohio Steam In Color covers is, naturally, the smallest; switchers of Class C, D and L. In total, the B&O owned three different wheel arrangements here including 0-4-0Ts, 0-6-0s, and 0-8-0s. Throughout the book Mr. Mainey does not offer a lot of text, instead letting the images do the "speaking" and providing detailed captions of each. However, he does discuss where the B&O's switchers could typically be found in service, usually for industrial and yard duty. The second steamers featured were the B&O's 2-8-0 Consolidations, Class E. Overall, the railroad had five different classes of these locomotives some of which interestingly were created from former 0-8-0s. In these opening "chapters" you quickly see the superb photography featured throughout the book.

Some of the noted photographers whose work is presented includes Bill Ellis, Lawson Hill, Emery Gulash, Robert Collins, J.J. Young, Don Ball, and Mr. Mainey's own collection. The B&O's 2-8-2 Mikados, Class Q, is one of the more prominently featured locomotives in the book due to their extensive use by the railroad in general freight applications during the early 20th century (and really right through the end of steam operations). Overall, the company fleeted nine different classes or subclasses of 2-8-2s. Next up are the large 2-10-2 Class S-1s, better known by train crews and railfans as "Big Sixes". These heavy steamers could typically be found in service in the Midwest along the Akron, Chicago, and Toledo divisions (per Dave's writing). There is some excellent images of these steamers presented especially in helper service through Pennsylvania.

The rest of the freight steam locomotives highlighted were the largest the Baltimore & Ohio ever owned including Class EL 2-8-8-0s, Class KK 2-6-6-2s, Class EM-1 2-8-8-4s, and Class KB-1 2-6-6-4s. These massive machines could be found almost universally east of Ohio along the B&O's steepest grades in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Naturally, the photos of these locomotives presented are perhaps the most impressive of all in Baltimore And Ohio Steam In Color. Some of the images capture the scene so well such as EM-1s pounding upgrade with a freight in Pennsylvania that you can almost feel like you are there. Two of the final sections of the book highlight the B&O's one true passenger steamers, Class P 4-6-2 Pacifics of which the railroad owned more than a dozen different variations, and the Class T 4-8-2 Mountains.

Through the photos it is interesting to see just how many types of Pacifics the B&O operated from smaller models once owned by subsidiary Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh to larger designs like the P-5s. Also featured were the beautifully streamlined Class P-7ds used to power the Cincinnatian streamliner. These locomotives also were adorned in a stunning royal blue livery with silver trim. Unfortunately, the locomotives saw a relatively short lifespan and were scrapped after less than a decade of service. Finally, Mr. Mainey briefly covers the experimental Class N 4-4-4-4 Duplex. This locomotive was meant to be the latest steam locomotive to power the B&O's passenger trains but ultimately proved unsuccessfully, especially after diesel were shown to be far more efficient.

While Baltimore And Ohio Steam In Color isn't really what you might consider a true coffee table book it certainly could be used as one regardless. As I have mentioned throughout the article here the photography featured is second-to-none. Also, on a related note if you have not heard of Morning Sun Books or are aware of their products please check them out, especially if you are a railfan. In the past 25 years they have released titles covering almost every classic railroad and a myriad of other topics. While their books are a bit pricey they are nearly all hardcover filled with color photos. To visit their website please click here.