The Baltimore and Ohio was a pioneer in the use of diesel-electric locomotives as road power on passenger trains. Yet steam locomotives lasted well into the 1950's, longer than on most American Class One railroads. The transition era when the railroads were turning more and more to the diesel was by far the most interesting time for the railroad photographer, for once the fires on the last steam locomotives had died it would never again be possible to see the mixing of the two eras.
When roads such as the Erie and the Lackawanna had turned the steamers out to pasture in the early 1950s, the photographers turned to the B&O for the final years of steam power in action. By the time the final steam locomotive had been pulled from service, hundreds of pictures had been taken of the transition era by many of the outstanding photographers in the railroad field. We have made a selection of photographs from several of the cameramen from hundreds of excellent negatives selected for use. These selected photographs offer a look back on the Baltimore and Ohio when steam and diesel worked hand in hand on the oldest railroad in the United States.
Pioneer diesels, speeding President Class Pacifics, pounding freight locomotives and the smaller branch line locomotives, they are all here. The Central Railroad of New Jersey played host to the crack passenger terminal. While Jersey City was a far cry from Pennsylvania station and Grand Central Terminal in New York, it was, none the less, a most interesting place to encounter the B&O. Here one could find the streamlined diesels ready to haul the Diplomat standing side by side with old camelback steamers of the Jersey Central, a sight surely not possible at the midtown terminals of the Pennsylvania and the New York Central. Here we look back in time, to the era when steam and diesel power were part of the Baltimore and Ohio Heritage.
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