The B&O Railroad Museum’s carefully curated selection of tours offers critical glimpses into various aspect of American railroading history, helping to immerse visitors in the story of the railroad and to develop an understanding of its impact on the nation’s past, present, and future! Our guided tours are offered as standard Public Tours, kid-focused Junior Tours, and Group Tours for parties of 20 or more. Select tours are also available in the form of our self-guided Rail Trails wayfinding experiences!

Guided Tours

The Civil War: The War Came by Train 

On this tour we will uncover the story behind the first-time trains were used in warfare: the American Civil War. No one understood just how much of an impact the railroad would play into the Unions ability to win the war until the war was over.  Today we will explore not only the connection that many pieces in our collection have to the American Civil War but also the importance that the B&O Railroad itself had to the outcome of the war. 


From Slavery to Civil Rights: The African American Railroading Legacy 

On this tour, we will delve into the storied history of African Americans on the railroad.  From its inception, enslaved labor was used to build many of the early railroads in the country, especially in the south.  Since then, the railroad has been involved in the fight for African American equality in America.  By exploring our collection of rolling stock, we will reflect on the legacy of African American railroading from the dark days of slavery and the Civil War, through segregation and into the Civil Rights Movement.  

Also available as a self-guided Rail Trails tour! Pick up a guide on your next visit.


Irish American Impact on the B&O Railroad 

At the height of Irish immigration to America in the mid-1800s, Baltimore was one of the major cities to see a large influx of Irish immigrants and a time when the B&O Railroad was expanding and looking to hire more workers. This tour will explore the legacy of Irish American railroad workers through the equipment they worked on. We will discover Irish immigrants and their descendants in all levels of employment at the B&O from laborers, to supervisors, directors, and founders.   


Iron War Horses: The B&O’s Contributions During Global Conflict 

Railroads have historically played a critical role in mobilizing government efforts during wartime to facilitate the national movement of troops, weapons, and supplies rapidly and efficiently across the nation. Today, we will use our collection to take a journey through the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s involvement and contributions in American conflicts during the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. 


Maryland on the Rails: The B&O’s Contribution to Maryland History 

From Baltimore’s development into a major shipping and immigration hub, to major advancements in transportation and communication technology, and the fight for freedom and equal rights during the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement, the B&O Railroad has witnessed many milestones in Maryland history.  This tour will examine how Maryland before 1827 became an ideal location for the B&O Railroad and as a result how the B&O Railroad has continued to contribute to the robust history of the state of Maryland.  


Presidential Passages 

Over the years United States Presidents have interacted with railroading and specifically the B&O Railroad in many ways.  From riding the rails as a passenger, to enacting legislation that impacted the railroad, being commemorated on the railroad and even using the railroad to travel to their final resting place; presidential and federal history has been intertwined with our history here at the B&O for many years. In this tour we are going to explore the connections between American railroading and our nation’s executive history.   

Also available as a self-guided Rail Trails tour! Pick up a guide on your next visit.


Railroad Signs and Signals: The Evolution of Visual Communication on the Railroad 

Proper communication is imperative on the railroad to ensure the safety of all people and equipment.  Since its inception, the importance of signs and signals has been well documented. This tour will encompass 200 years of B&O railroading history by exploring the signs and signaling devices in our collection that have been used on railways around the country from the oldest to the more recent devices. 


Rebuilding the Cathedral of American Railroading: A Tour of the 2003 Roundhouse Roof Collapse 

Often referred to as the cathedral of American railroading, the B&O Roundhouse here on our property was devastated when the roof collapsed on February 17th, 2003. This collapse heavily damaged our collection and many of the historic pieces you see here today took years of restoration to repair. On this tour, we are going to look at the storied history of this beautiful and compelling structure built by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the first from its initially design through that fateful night in February and rebuilding to its current glory. 


Roundhouse Tour 

This tour will explore the collection of historic locomotives and other railroad equipment on display in our Roundhouse. Hear the legend of the horse vs. steam engine race, explore the connection of the B&O to the Civil War and learn why the invention of automatic air brakes was so revolutionary along with many other great railroad stories all on the same tour. 


Technology Changes: Innovations in Locomotive Design 

This tour will use our historic collection to explore the technology advancements that happened in B&O facilities like the Mount Clare Shops. This and other B&O facilities were for many years the cutting edge of railroad innovation, and as the tracks spread across the American countryside, the need for more efficient locomotives drove inventors to make improvements in speed, power, and safety. 

Also available as a self-guided Rail Trails tour! Pick up a guide on your next visit.


Working on the Railroad: The B&O and the Labor Movement 

On this tour we will look at the unique history of working for the railroad in America and the evolution of worker rights from the 19th to the 20th centuries, with particular focus on the employees of the B&O Railroad. From the dangers of working on the railroad to labor unions and railroad strikes, this tour will incorporate all facets of life being employed by the B&O. 


Working Women on the Rails: Exploring the Legacy of Women Working for the B&O Railroad 

The B&O Railroad has impacted American history in more ways than just transportation. For the past almost 200 years, the experiences of workers on the B&O Railroad have helped various groups achieve civil rights and forge new roles in the American labor force. This tour will focus on pioneering women railroad workers throughout history and how their lives and achievements in the railroad industry have left a lasting impact on our world to this day. 

Interested in booking a tour for 20 or more?

Learn more about our Group Visit rate.

Interested in scheduling a school trip?

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Patrese T.
June 2021

I love that the museum is what remains of the old train yard and the number and variety of train cars is remarkable.

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