Re: Preserving Historical Media


And many railroads themselves destroyed much of their historical records, memorabilia and collectable items when reorganizing management in the 1970's and 80's.  I am aware that B&O/Chessie ordered thousands of glass plate negatives destroyed in the late 1960's. Stored at the SIRT St .George Carpenter Shop, they covered development of the Staten Island Rapid Transit and the B&O New York Terminal operations from the 1880's onward.  I suppose you can't keep everything and finding places for it to go is an expense not justified for the bottom line, which for B&O/Chessie New York Terminal and SIRT operations was drowning in red ink.   A retired D&H Railroad Police supervisor told me the D&H did much the same with its dining car china when passenger service ended. Anyone trying to save any pieces of it or even 'dumpster diving' to retrieve something tossed out, could be arrested for theft because the dumpster was still on railroad property.  In the early 1970's any remaining materials related to the SIRT were packed up and sent to the C&O Railroad Historical Society, not the B&O RR HS.  I read some time ago that these materials were stored in someone's barn, awaiting a decision on what to do with them.  One photo from those materials has surfaced, now carrying a C&O RR HS copyright. It shows an SIRT ALCo S-2 switcher at St. George Yard with its crew and some officials posed with it, probably for presentation of an award of some sort. It is on the cover of a recent book about the Staten Island Rapid Transit. 

Ed Bommer  

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