Sunday, March 29, 2015

Clocks and Trains and Children

A visit to the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore reminded me that my love for clocks and trains are entwined. 

The massive locomotives which played the rails and moved America from coast to coast depended upon reliable time keeping to make their runs safely. In the days before computers and sensors, it was the pocket watch of the conductor which controlled the progress of the trains across the nation. 

Seeing the behemoths of the past first hand reminded me of what a marvel these engines truly were. They were constructed in an era without computers to precise mechanical standards. It was a marvel to think about the machining associated with building these complex engines. I was reminded about how big an 80 inch drive wheel is--and it is all steel!

Riding the rails. I enjoyed reviewing the evolution of rail travel from the small boilers on a carriage to the super fast steam locomotives and then to the diesel electric engines of the modern rail era. 

Standard time--the time zones that we live with: Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific were established during 1883 to support rail traffic. Although not enacted into law until 1918, the standardization of time increased safety on the rails. 

I took a video of the roundhouse and some of the engines and rolling stock on display. Of course, Jax needed a diversion, so he got to enjoy the carousel. What a great way to spend a too cold day in Baltimore? I also become very childlike when I visit this great museum, but the carousel was too small for me.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD 

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