901 West Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21223
Detailed Information


Name: York

Railroad of Record: Baltimore & Ohio Railroad

Type of Locomotive: 0-4-0, Phineas Davis locomotive

Date Original Built: 1831

Date Replica Built: 1926-1927

Status: Operational

Weight of Drivers: 5800 lbs (replica)

Total Weight: 13,540 lbs (replica)

Tractive Effort: 1,078 lbs

Cylinder, One Vertical: 5.25" Bore x 12” Stroke (replica)

Paint Scheme: Black (original)

Following the success of the demonstration locomotive "Tom Thumb," the B&O Railroad decided to hold a contest for additional locomotive designs. Between January and June of 1831 five locomotives were entered into the contest. The Grand Prize of $4,000 would ultimately go contest winner Phineas Davis, a watch maker and entrepreneur.

The "York" was designed to burn anthracite coal, and with a few adjustments, was ready for service on the B&O Railroad. Its initial use saw passenger service between Baltimore and Ellicott City, Maryland. It was capable of hauling 15 tons at 15 mph, improving on the 4mph offered by Peter Cooper's "Tom Thumb." Grasshopper engines like the "York," though primitive and experimental, would see continued use as yard switchers well into the 1890s.

The "York" was scrapped sometime in the 1880s-1890s. In 1927, the B&O Railroad commemorated its 100th Anniversary in a celebration known as the "Fair of the Iron Horse." The B&O built three operating reproductions of early steam locomotives, including the "York," at Baltimore's Mt. Clare Shops. Following its demonstration at the celebration in Baltimore it was sent to Chicago for the "Century of Progress Fair" in 1933-1934. At the conclusion of the fair, the "York" was donated by the B&O Railroad to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.

In 1966, the "York" was loaned to the city of York, Pennsylvania, where it remained until 1978. That same year, the locomotive was loaned to the B&O Railroad Museum for the 150th Anniversary of the B&O Railroad. Museum officials wished to keep the "York" in its place of origin but were unsuccessful. The "York" returned to Chicago for a railroad-themed exhibit where it resided until 2015.

In fall 2015, the Museum of Science and Industry deaccessioned its railroad equipment and put several pieces up for auction. In early October, the museum successfully bid on the "York" and several other items. The 1927 Reproduction of the "1831 York" now resides in the Roundhouse.


Connect with us: Follow us on Twitter  Become a Fan on Facebook  Watch videos on YouTube

© 6/24/2021 Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum™. All Rights Reserved.