Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crosspost from This Historian for Hire

This is a crosspost from my personal blog but as it has to do with Pittsburgh and the B&O, I'm including part of it here.
December there are no B&O Railroad Historical Society Archives sessions, so I get some time off there.

This time off from being archivist and caterer has been good for me. I have a bit of a break to catch up with some scanning projects of archives documents, work on the web page, and dabble in some research. Currently I have an itch about the B&O's trackage rights out of, er rather around, Pittsburgh on the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad. This was a coup negotiated by Daniel Willard in 1934 that gave the B&O a really sweet route around Pittsburgh to Chicago. Low grades and good track on this line enabled the B&O to run their trains faster than they were able to on their own hilly and curvy track in Pittsburgh.

It seems this was a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The B&O and P&LE's parent company, the New York Central, both were fighting against the Pennsylvania Railroad for traffic in the area. The PRR had the advantage of getting to Pittsburgh first and was very well off financially. (This would not last) So the NYC in a move to give the proverbial finger to a competitor, allowed the B&O access to the P&LE route. This made the B&O more competitive for freight from Chicago to Baltimore and Potomac Yard (near DC and a waypoint for traffic from the Northeast to the South). What I need now is source material. I've checked B&O magazine articles, 1934 and 1944. I also have a 1962 B&O railroad report on using the B&O track again since the lease was up for renewal at that time and the P&LE (NYC) was asking for a lot more $$$. I need to go through the VP of Operations files at the archives and look at the Wall St. Journal and Pittsburgh papers. I've found some stuff in the local papers on, but not enough. Then there is the chance to look at it from the other side and see if the NYC and P&LE historical societies have items in their collections that may help. Ideally this will become an article for the Sentinel and a chapter in "The Fiery Furnace."

Monday, June 18, 2007

A new tack...

Okay I've figured out how to attack the research on this project. It's a bit bass-ackwards but it will probably work. I'm going to have to go at this from both the Railroad History side AND the Industrial History Side. The pitfall here is to not get distracted by interesting stuff on the Labor movement while researching the steel, glass, coal and coke industries around Pittsburgh.

Friday, May 18, 2007


A Jolly Good website on the steel industry.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The problem of Pittsburgh

For some reason the people around Pittsburgh don't seem to have much written about the railroads in their city. I've been looking and there is hardly anything to be found. It's most distressing.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

D'oh! Friggin school work...

Classes have started again and train show season is getting ready to start. My time to write will be decreasing until next fall. Sigh.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Gathering...

Well, it's begun. I've started gathering sources for the B&O in Pittsburgh book project.

The first new acquisition is "Railroads of the Ohio Valley" Vol. 1. I also found a switching agreement that was for sale on the internet and picked that up for the BORRHS. It may be something useful to add to the sources.