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B&O Railroad Museum receives grant to restore Pullman tavern-observation car

By | September 21, 2021

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Exterior of two-tone passenger rail car
Exterior of two-tone passenger rail car
B&O Pullman lounge-observation ‘Washington’. Dean Hans Williams

BALTIMORE – The B&O Railroad Museum has obtained a $500,000 grant to cosmetically restore both the exterior and interior of the former Baltimore & Ohio Washington Pullman observation-tavern car No. 3316 built in 1949. The funds, to be matched 1:1 with other contributons come from the Federal Saving America’s Treasures program. That is a National Park Service grant program in collaboration with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts , and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Washington was a streamlined observation car with 17-seat observation area and a 24-seat tavern. Additionally, it has a beautiful cherry blossom mural near the cocktail lounge. The Washington and its sister Chicago were designed for the Columbian, which was a post-war Washington-Chicago overnight streamliner. The Columbian was an all-coach flagship that followed the route of the all-Pullman Capitol Limited. In 1961, the Washington became a part of the Capitol Limited. In 1971, the Washington was retired from service and was donated to the B&O Railroad Museum.

“It will be an important piece to our interpretative story (post WWII – pre-Civil Rights) as we prepare for the 200th anniversary of American railroading in 2027,” says Kris Hoellen, executive director for B&O Railroad Museum. “Arguably, it will be one of the most unique venue spaces in the area once restored.”

6 thoughts on “B&O Railroad Museum receives grant to restore Pullman tavern-observation car

  1. “Arguably, it will be one of the most unique venue spaces in the area once restored.” implies it will be rented out for events once restored.

    B&O RR Museum is currently cosmetically restoring B&O P-7 4-6-2 5300 President Washington (Baldwin 1927)

  2. A million dollars (remember the match) only gets a cosmetic restoration? Wow! How much for an operational restoration? Five million? Ten? Sounds like a New York MTA project.

    1. It depends on how extensive the deterioration has become in the last half-century. Considering I don’t recall seeing this piece during any of my recent visits I’m guessing it’s rather bad. Rust never rests.

      1. Taking a look at the many museum photos of the exterior and interior of the car, it is not “bums and teenage vandals and drug addicts” bad, just tired from 50 years of no care. I’d guess the money is for removing the side sheets to get at the core-ten framing, notorious in lightweight Pullman construction for rusting to oblivion, the opposite of what core-ten was touted to achieve.

        1. Without having done an inspection myself and guessing the car has been stored outside for at least half of the last half-century I’d guess you are completely correct. In all likelihood everything from the lower window frames to the sidesills will need to be replaced. Good news: Pullmans are easy to work on. Bad news: you are always working on them.

  3. B&O Museum also has heavyweight Lounge-Obs 3302, rebuilt in 1941 for the Washington-Chicago Columbian, the all-coach companion to the all-Pullman Capitol Limited. After retirement by B&O, the Baltimore Chapter NRHS named the 3302 “Edward G. Hooper,” after the NRHS Chairman of the Board.

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