Impossible Challenge 2 Baltimore to Washington and Harpers Ferry from 1828 to 19
Impossible Challenge 2 Baltimore to Washington and Harpers Ferry from 1828 to 19
Impossible Challenge 2 Baltimore to Washington and Harpers Ferry from 1828 to 19
Impossible Challenge 2 Baltimore to Washington and Harpers Ferry from 1828 to 19
Impossible Challenge 2 Baltimore to Washington and Harpers Ferry from 1828 to 19
Impossible Challenge 2 Baltimore to Washington and Harpers Ferry from 1828 to 19

Impossible Challenge 2 Baltimore to Washington and Harpers Ferry from 1828 to 19

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Impossible Challenge 2 Baltimore to Washington and Harpers Ferry from 1828 to 19
 
Impossible Challenge 2 Baltimore to Washington and Harpers Ferry from 1828 to 1994
By Herbert H. Harwood Jr.
Hard Cover
Copyright 1979
Second Revised Edition 1994
428 pages
Like its large contemporaries such as the Pennsylvania and New York Central, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was a company virtually impossible to capture in a single book - or even several books. It was, after all, this country's pioneering railroad project and lived for 160 years after; eventually it grew into one of the "big three" eastern systems, building and absorbing a multitude of other lines in the process. So, while there have been two different attempts at a general corporate history, these inevitably cover only the barest essentials. Beyond them is an ever-expanding flood of specialized books delving into the rich details of this immensely fascinating railroad - everything from its cabooses to its key role in the Civil War to its innovative labor relations during the 1920s.
And even within these narrow boundaries, the subject seems to expand in width and depth so that more needs to be said. That is the case here.
The concept of creating a series of books covering the history, operations, and physical characteristics of each specific B&O division was first proposed by Charles S. Roberts of Barnard, Roberts and Company in the late 1970s and, in the event, we agreed to research and write the first book entitled Impossible Challenge, which Barnard, Roberts published in 1979.
The logical start of the series, of course, was B&O's "home" Baltimore Division, specifically the lines in the triangle between Baltimore, Washington, and Harpers Ferry. (Technically the Baltimore Division ended at Weverton, a hamlet east of Harpers Ferry, but it seemed more logical to extend the coverage as far as the Potomac crossing.)
The balance of the projected series was delayed for various reasons, but in recent years it has been essentially completed with East End by Jeffrey R. Hollis and Charles S. Roberts (Barnard, Roberts & Co., 1992), West End by Charles Roberts (Barnard, Roberts & Co., 1991), and Sand Patch, also by Charles Roberts (Barnard, Roberts & Co. 1993), and this author's Royal Blue Line (Greenberg Publishing Co., 1990).
Also during this time considerable research has been done and many other B&O histories have been published - the most outstanding of which is James D. Dilts's The Great Road, a meticulously researched and detailed history of the B&O's first 25 years. New information has come to light and some old errors have been found.
And, of course, time has passed on - and, in fact, the B&O has passed on. Thus it seemed appropriate to reissue Impossible Challenge in order to bring the story up to date, add some earlier material, correct the errors (without adding new ones, we hope), and generally revise the work. The result is essentially a new book, but which retains almost all of the old. We hope it is better, but one thing is certain - it is not the last word and never can be.

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