B&O Railroad Museum

Learn about the history of American railroading through activities and rides at the birthplace of the nation’s first commuter train line.

The B&O Railroad Museum sits on the site where America’s first commuter railroad started out. The complex now houses one of the oldest railroad collections in the world. The 40-acre (16-hectare) site displays about 150 steam, diesel and electric locomotives, rolling stock and relics from the early development of the railroading industry. There are activities for the whole family.

The B&O Railroad Museum takes you back to 1828 when the first tracks for a common carrier were laid. It would bring people from Baltimore to the Ohio River, hence the name B&O. Those tracks are still there today. B&O Railroad Depot was also the place that received the first telegraph message in 1844. Samuel Morse sent the sentence “What hath God wrought?” along an experimental line from Washington, D.C.

Get aboard for a 20-minute train ride on the first commuter line in the country. Check out the locomotives and view the old signals and china used for catering. Explore the historic manufacturing complex at Mount Clare Shops, now a National Historic Landmark. The Roundhouse is where Tom Thumb, America’s first steam engine, was constructed.

There is a range of activities for children including a carousel, carnival ride and mini-train ride through the fictional land of Choo Choo Blueville for a small additional fee, and educational activities in the Kids Zone. During weekends they can hear a classic railroad tale and participate in games based on the story.

B&O Railroad Museum is a 10-minute drive west of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The museum is open daily and children up to 12 receive a discount. Hop on the Charm City Circulator shuttle bus to get there for free. There is free on-site parking too. You can’t bring your own food, but you can buy drinks and snacks there. Train rides are not available on Mondays and Tuesdays and during the colder months. For a few dollars extra you can also get a ticket to enter Mount Clare Museum House and Ellicott City Station, the oldest remaining passenger train station in America.

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