My trip to the Train Museum 12/26/04

BnO_Hendo Dec 27, 2004

  1. BnO_Hendo

    BnO_Hendo TrainBoard Member

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    I finally made it down to the B&O Train Museum. I figured it'd be pretty slow the day after Christmas. Thankfully, no! There was a nice crowd. As expected, the admission has gone up to $14 for adults. Now I went in expecting a bigger, better, albeit incomplete museum. After all, their signs warn you that the museum won't really be up to speed until May, 2005. Going in through the new entranceway, I wound up in the display room, where various models of locomotives are displayed. Being a model railroader, that is always cool to see. I exited that room and went past the gift shop- I'll hit that last. I found myself headed for the roundhouse- already! What happened to all the different displays they used to have? One room of displays and that's it? Where's the grasshopper engine with the moving legs? The scale displays of the Tom Thumb vs the Horse Carriage? Geez...

    As I had read, damaged exhibits were behind a wall of glass, awaiting restoration. A leasurely trip around the roundhouse, and I was outside headed for the new HO layout in a C&O club car. Now the old one unfortunately had to be done away with thanks to a curmudgeingly wheelchair activist who takes delight in getting things shut down because they are not ADA compliant. This new layout... lacked the style of the old one. It was built with modern techniques, and would look good in someone's basement. But for a train museum layout, it was disappointing. Also they had two locos- a CSX "Dark Future" Unit and a B&O F-Unit pulling 4-5 car trains. COME ON! This is a B&O layout- dump the CSX engine and put in a B&O T-3 or something! And let's have a train of some length. Going outside again, I couldn't help but notice all the barriers that were up now restricting access to the lower part of the yard. Prior to the roof collapse, this was all open to visitors.

    Overall, I was disappointed. I was so excited about seeing the Museum open again. I just hope that it gets some of it's old flavor back.

    Some of my photos are posted at RailImages. I couldn't upload all of them because I suddenly started getting error messages and kicked out. Click this link:
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  2. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Glad to hear you made it and I look forward to reviewing your images.
     
  3. BnO_Hendo

    BnO_Hendo TrainBoard Member

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    Now I've been told by someone close to the Museum that it definitely is a work in progress. So one cannot judge by what's there now, which is good. Apparently once the new restoration facility is done, they will move more stuff indoors where they currently are doing the restoration work.
     
  4. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes, I have been following that on their website so I knew their is still allot of work to be done and some expansion work for the new facility.

    Still, it's good to know they are once again open but still sad to remember what was lost.
     
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I was wondering if this would be true. and I certainly agree with you about what should be on their layout!

    Let us know what you find after your next trip.

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  6. BnO_Hendo

    BnO_Hendo TrainBoard Member

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    Ok, here's some more info about the museum from someone in-the-know-whom-I-know. They needed to get it open so they could start making some revenue to help with paying salaries. Makes sense. They decided that, in this day and age where many have no idea what the B&O was, that they have to broaden the theme to be more "family oriented". Now I know that term often makes purists cringe. But it's the everyday tourist that props up places like the museum, Strasburg, etc. The ones who want to see the "choo choos". So with that in mind, they have added "Living History" programs starting in the Spring. The "red" paint scheme on their SW that provides train rides instead of Royal Blue? Red is cuter. Yup. Just hope they don't paint their saddle tank loco like Thomas the Tank Engine! As for the layout- well, seems it's having some teething troubles. Like with cars derailing. Ergo 5 car trains- to cut down on derailments. Also diesels track better than steamers. There are plans to enlarge the loco displays once the new restoration facility is up and running. I would imagine that they are trying their best to get their tank steamer ready for the Spring, since that was a big plus for the museum when it finally got a regular steam loco running.
     
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes it does. Gets the people coming back in again. And those dollars flowing. Perhaps by Spring, people will be planning outings to include the museum once again.

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  8. BnO_Hendo

    BnO_Hendo TrainBoard Member

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    Well, the fact that folks are already visiting is a good sign. I would certainly like to know what their future plans are: regarding exhibits and such. We've had a lot of debate on this topic over on the B&O Historical Society forum (not for the squeamish!). Many feel the only way the museum would survive is to become a family oriented tourist attraction, rather than a railfan-oriented one. Let's face it- who subsidizes railroads like Strasburg and such? "Daisy pickers" as they're called. For museums, it's people who want to see the choo-choos. I just hope as time goes on, more of a balance can be made tween the two.
     
  9. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm sure that there can be a balance. Have well trained docents. Literature to pass out. Display plaques, signs or labels done in carefully selected terminology.

    Having been involved in similar ventures, it's surprising how quickly you can open people's eyes. How fast a spark of interest can be fanned into a flame.

    It can be done.

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  10. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    Anyone else get to the museum yet?

    New Photos?
     

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