Baltimore and Ohio Reflections of the Capitol Dome Salamon  Oros Ori DJ Signed

Baltimore and Ohio Reflections of the Capitol Dome Salamon Oros Ori DJ Signed

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Baltimore and Ohio Reflections of the Capitol Dome Salamon Oros Ori DJ Signed
 
Baltimore and Ohio Reflections of the Capitol Dome by Stephen Salamon David Oroszi and David Ori Dust Jacket 1993 128 Pages
SIGNED
With the distinction of being the nation's oldest carrier, the character and flavor of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad is rich, unique and enduring. From the earliest days, as the Tom Thumb raced a team of horses along the fledgling company's track, to it's last days, as Chessie GP40-2s raced 18-wheelers between Philadelphia and Chicago, the B&O has met many challenges. The Allegheny Mountains loomed in the path of engineering crews as they pushed a young railroad to the nation's western frontier. B&O was a strategic asset, and military target during the Civil War, and helped the nation in two world wars. The B&O weathered the Great Depression, the advent of air travel, and the Interstate Highway system.
Corporately, the B&O survived control by the Chesapeake & Ohio, restructuring under Chessie System, and merger with Seaboard System, finally, to be absorbed into CSX Corporation in 1987. Today, in the 1990s, as the physical vestiges of B&O increasingly disappear, it is the history that endures. The pages ahead attempt to depict the operations, the "character," of the B&O in its modern, and final era. This was an age of vast change for the railroad industry. Of course, railroads had already embraced the diesel, and steam was rapidly disappearing, but the physical plant and operations of the early 1950s did not differ significantly from those of the 1920s. Dieselization was only the first of many changes that would make the next thirty years more tumultuous.
These changes had greater and more immediate effect on the B&O than on many other railroads. The B&O operated a large fleet of passenger trains, and suffered heavy losses as passengers deserted trains for airlines and automobiles. The Interstate Highway system provided convenient routes for competing truckers to reach major cities of the East Coast. New industries were being built far from the old rail-oriented commercial areas of the cities. B&O also suffered from the high terminal costs in many areas. Because B&O was a latecomer to Philadelphia and New York, its terminal operations were awkward and time-consuming. Even in its home city of Baltimore, many of B&O's terminal operations were convoluted and inefficient, due in part to B&O having to adapt to the city, with projects like the Baltimore Belt, as many of the better routes were already occupied by urban development.
By the early 1960s, B&O faced a financial crisis. Despite canceling many passenger trains, B&O still suffered great losses from the passenger business. Freight revenues were down, but operating expenses were not falling to a corresponding degree. Maintenance was deferred, and B&O was unable to afford needed capital investments. Nevertheless, B&O did respond where it could. Piggyback traffic, introduced in 1954, was growing, and B&O began operating Trailer Jets, dedicated high-speed piggyback service. The Cumberland Yard expansion project was completed, enabling more efficient classification of freight. CTC was installed, eliminating towers and duplicate trackage. Yet these improvements were not enough.
In 1963, the Chesapeake & Ohio acquired control of B&O. The C&O, although roughly equal in size and revenue, was financially a far stronger company. After the takeover, C&O made funds available to B&O that were used for yard improvement, additional CTC, clearance projects, and acquisition of new equipment. Passenger operations on both roads were put under a combined Passenger Services Department, and joint timetables were published through 1971. On the freight side, however, the B&O remained a largely independent operation. In 1972, the Chessie paint scheme was introduced, and the name "Chessie System" was applied to the C&O/B&O combination, which by now included Western Maryland. In 1975, most WM operations were integrated into those of B&O. In the midwest, at points where B&O and C&O track served the same areas, consolidation of routes and terminal facilities began in earnest.
In 1980, Chessie System merged with Seaboard System, under the umbrella of CSX Corporation. At first the systems remained separate, but by the mid-1980s, there was little need to maintain separate corporate organizations, and less need to maintain the old corporate shell of B&O. Thus, after a merger process that lasted almost 25 years, the B&O disappeared as a railroad corporation in 1987.
Reflections of the Capitol Dome spans over three decades, and is organized along the lines of B&O's divisions and subdivisions east of Cumberland, Maryland, as they existed from the mid 1950s into the early 1970s. Descriptions of operations and facilities also date mostly from that era. Some history is included, to help explain certain aspects that remained apparent in B&O's "modern" era. The photographs were chosen with an emphasis on depicting the many aspects of B&O during those years. We can lament that the elegant blue and gray paint scheme of the 1950s, and the "sunburst" of the early 1960s, came to be replaced by the yellow and vermillion of Chessie. Yet that too is part of the B&O story, the final chapter of a notable company whose total history spans over 150 years.
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