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Nostalgia & History > Off to the races...the B&O way

Date: 01/04/19 03:21
Off to the races...the B&O way
Author: Roadjob

In 1958 B&O ceased passenger operations east of Camden Station in Baltimore. This made the beautiful Mount Royal Station on the north side of the Howard Street tunnel obsolete. Fortunately this structure was preserved and now serves as an art school. By the time I started photographing on the Baltimore Belt Line  of which Mount Royal was on, it was all freight....except for one interesting train. B&O ran a special at least six days a week from Camden Station to Delaware Park race track during the 60s. It went up in the morning, returning early evening. The Saturday consist was always heavy and required 2 E units. Weekday trains were much shorter with a single E. These were my B&O passenger trains! They were guaranteed photo ops because they stayed tight to their schedules. Not having any knowledge in the earliest stages of my rail photography life of a B&O outside of Baltimore, I thought these were the coolest trains on my railroad. The shots here, which never saw light beyond a negative, are only two of probably 2 or 3 dozen I shot of this train, that survive, but you'll get the idea.

top...Ironically, this was the very first shot I took of the eastbound race train in 1963.Why I still have it is a mystery. THis is the heavier Saturday version of the run, with 2 E units. This was taken with an old 620 film camera, that I bought for a princely $10 with allowance money. It was terrible, and one day I'll post just how bad it could be. I found some of those shots, but that will be a thread unto itself. The train was taken from the North Ave. bridge. NA tower controlled the Pennsy/B&O crossing. Pennsy used these tracks to reach its Mount Vernon yard. That yard is now the maintenance facility for Maryland's idea of a commuter light rail service. Pennsy track is long gone, as is NA.

bottom...This is a westbound weekday train shot from Sisson Street in 1966. The small yard at the right is the Huntingdon Ave. Yard that I have written about in other posts. That yard is where I got my first cab rides. That job would come down from Bayview after the race train went through, so I'm waiting for my "ride" at this point.

Bill Rettberg
Bel Air, MD

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/19 03:24 by Roadjob.

Date: 01/04/19 04:40
Re: Off to the races...the B&O way
Author: GPutz

Thanks for posting these interesting pictures.  B&O also ran trains to Deleware Park from Philadelphia.  My uncle Jack, a frequent rider, promised to take me along one day, but found out that I could not get into the race track because of my age.  Gerry

Date: 01/04/19 05:57
Re: Off to the races...the B&O way
Author: refarkas

"Terrible" is the wrong term. To those who only look at image quality now, they may be "acceptible" at best, but considering photo one was your first image with a new camera, there probably were no automatic features onthe camera you bought, and your scene is truely interesting and well-composed, I'd call this  and photo two great photos. Well done!

Date: 01/04/19 07:09
Re: Off to the races...the B&O way
Author: King_Coal

They look like interesting trains with a wide variety of equipment. Nothing wrong with these photos.

Date: 01/04/19 14:53
Re: Off to the races...the B&O way
Author: ClubCar

Both great photos from the past and I thank you so much for sharing them with all of us.  I always love B&O photos, especially passenger trains.  Please post more.
John in White Marsh, Maryland

Date: 01/04/19 15:21
Re: Off to the races...the B&O way
Author: mundo

You can always post more of these trains.  Any showing the passenger cars ?

Date: 01/04/19 17:06
Re: Off to the races...the B&O way
Author: perklocal

Both images are great !  This was a unique operation that I am sure didn't get much attention or documentation. I for one am glad that you were there with your new 620  that day !

Date: 01/04/19 17:49
Re: Off to the races...the B&O way
Author: wabash2800

Thanks for sharing. I also like the interesting trackwork in the first photo. I can visualize being there and seeing the train materialize around the curve and cross the diamond with a tump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump... Some of the most interesting photos I took as a very young man were taken with the family instamatic. Unfortunately, most are gone.

Victor A. Baird


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/08/19 14:31 by wabash2800.

Date: 01/04/19 21:38
Re: Off to the races...the B&O way
Author: ATSFSuperChief

They are both good shots, especially with a $10 camera. First one is best for my mind that was raised in Maryland during these times.

Don Allender

Date: 01/05/19 03:32
Re: Off to the races...the B&O way
Author: Roadjob

I had many views of the passenger cars, but they were destroyed. Unfortunately these are the only two images still in existance.

Bill Rettberg
Bel Air, MD

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