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 newspaperarchive.com, 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."