B & O Locomotive - The LaFayette

Today I'd like to do a little railroading. It has been a few posts since I last wrote about this, one of my favorite topics. So off to the B & O Railroad Museum we go for a look inside at a couple of those treasures. In 1837 a "modern" locomotive was built by Norris Locomotive Works in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. This was the same year that the B & O Railroad, having already crossed the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry West Virginia, was struggling to stay in business. To avoid bankruptcy the company knew they had to cut operating costs so they took a chance on this new, more efficient locomotive. The locomotive was touted to run faster and be less expensive to operate because of it's 4-2-0 wheel alignment and first ever, horizontal boiler. Gee, this was high-tech stuff of the day. :-)

So B & O purchased it's first one, named " The LaFayette". Obviously, this was just what the company needed to help catapult them into the history of the railroad industry.

Pictured below is a replica of the original LaFayette. Now when you hear the word replica many think that much if not all of the historic significance has gotten away, but in this case, this replica was built in 1927. Sure that's 90 years later than the original (1837) but this has still survived some 84 years.

LaFayette
LaFayette

Next we'll skip ahead to 1873 when the Pennsylvania Railroad extended it's service to Washington DC, essentially invading the B & O's territory. This allowed them to provide both freight and passenger service from New York to Washington and many points in between. As one might imagine, the B & O was not happy about this situation. But it wasn't until 1890 that the B & O came up with their answer, the inauguration of the "Royal Blue Line".

After much negotiation the B & O struck deals with the Reading Railroad (PA), yes that "Take a Ride on the Reading" for you Monopoly game players, and the Central Railroad of New Jersey. :-) The deals allowed B & O right of way to New York so they then boasted the fastest and safest trains in America.

Below is an original 1890 rail car, built by the Pullman Palace Car Company. As the markings on the car indicate, this ran service up and down the Northeast corridor to cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and points along the way. This was luxury travel at the time.

Royal Blue Line
Royal Blue Line

Visitors are restricted from boarding this railcar so I was unable to get the inside compartment shot I wanted. Instead, I went to one end of the car and shot the image below.

Royal Blue Line - Doorway View
Royal Blue Line - Doorway View

This doorway begins about 6 feet off the ground and of course there was nothing around that I could elevate myself on, so this floor level view was the best to be had.

Hope you enjoyed the short walk through time, we'll see you on the other side. :-)

4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM