The Museum’s state-of-the-art Restoration Facility opened in 2005. It was built in response to the tragic collapse of the 1884 Roundhouse roof in February, 2003. The collapse of Roundhouse roof dropped tons of snow, slate, iron, and wood onto some of the premier pieces in the collection. The wooden cabs of the locomotives were smashed, windows broken out, and the metal boilers and tenders bent and twisted in unnatural ways. Initial repair estimates for the damaged pieces were millions of dollars. Cost estimates coupled with the ongoing need to maintain and restore our operating fleet of diesel, steam engines, and historic rolling stock, led the Museum to invest in the future of the collection and provide much needed and improved facilities.
Today the Restoration Facility houses the Museum’s rail operations and our award-winning restoration department. The 27,000 square foot shop is equipped with state-of-the-art and historic railroad and restoration equipment specifically chosen to address the needs of the B&O's holdings. It contains 4 repair and maintenance tracks, a wood working shop, a metal shop, a locomotive inspection pit, and fully enclosed paint booth capable of handling equipment up to 100’ in length.
A brief list of the type of restoration work conducted at the shop includes:
- Research and documentation: Primarily conducted by the museum's archival and curatorial staff, this includes developing detailed historical background, including photographs and design documents, of equipment to be restored.
- Assessment of locomotives: The museum's restoration shop staff and curatorial staff provide a detailed assessment, including photo documentation that defines preservation priorities and course of action.
- Dismantling and conservation of original materials: Led by experienced restorationists and informed by research, the locomotives and rolling stock are disassembled as necessary, documented, and conserved to protect original historic materials.
- Inspection and restoration of components: After dismantling, core elements of the equipment are documented and restored
- Reassembly of restored equipment: Using conserved original materials when possible the equipment is reassembled as historically accurate as possible.
- Painting: Paint analysis is conducted to determine color schemes and livery throughout the equipment’s active service.
- Refinishing and detail work: Based on research as well as the results of a historic paints analysis, the locomotives will be restored to their historic paint schemes.
Seasonal tours of the shops are offered. Please check calendar of events for our next tour.