#32 Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Old Main Line


First US railroad in public service

The development of the railroad engineering concepts and equipment that opened the American West began with the "Old Main Line" in 1828. As the first U.S. railroad in public service, constructed between 1828 and 1830, it began operating between Mount Claire, Baltimore, and Harper's Ferry, West Virginia.

Among many firsts are its use of coal-burning locomotives, T-rail sections, conical wheels, high-pressure steam engines, and iron wheels on passenger cars. Early experiments included those with feedwater heating and superheaters, Charles Grafton Page's electrically operated locomotive, etc.

By 1857 the B&O system had been opened from Baltimore to St. Louis. By 1874 its rails extended into Chicago and by 1886 up the east coast to New York and then Philadelphia. In 1951 the B&O had grown to 6,000 miles of line, 2,000 locomotives, and 100,000 cars.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Old Main Line

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Landmark Location

Mt. Clare Station
901 West Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21223

Visiting Info

regular hours

Ceremony Notes

April 1978


John Hankie

Plaque Location

In Storage

Comments from Visitors/Members

Plaques were never installed, supposedly awaiting the reworking of the museum according to museum management. Repeated contact has not caused any movement in getting the plaques installed.


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