Reconstructing the past at the B & O Railroad Museum’s restoration shop

25 Photos

Photos and text by Barbara Haddock Taylor

A dedicated team of master craftsmen and volunteers practice a blend of art and engineering in their work at the B & O Railroad Museum’s restoration shop. “Bringing something back from the dead,” and seeing visitors appreciate their effort is a satisfying reward for their work, says master metal conservator George Harwood.

The shop was built in 2005 after the museum’s roof collapsed during a 2003 snowstorm. The team restores trains and other pieces from the museum’s collection, and keeps the locomotives running for the popular train rides.

The cavernous space, which has room for several giant locomotives, also houses carpentry, metal and paint shops and an expansive collection of antique tools that are still in use.

Travis Harry, director of museum operations, said that an important aspect of the shop is that it keeps alive the trades and skills that are needed to keep steam locomotives running. “Once lost, it is hard to get those skills back and to be able to pass them on to the next generation,” he said.

Visitors to the museum will have the opportunity to tour the restoration shop on Sunday November 5 at 2pm. The tour will be a stop on the train ride that afternoon.