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Illustration courtesy the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Historical Society
This is where it all began, with small, simple experimental designs like the "Atlantic" of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad. Built in 1830, this was among the first steam railroad locomotives in the world. However, it turned out not to be the first in America: their thunder having been stolen by the "Best Friend Of Charleston" which made it's debut on the South Carolina Railroad (later part of the Southern Ry) in January of that year.
Nothing daunted, the "Atlantic" served as a general workhorse during the construction of the B&O to it's original destination on the Ohio River. The "Best Friend Of Charleston" blew up in December, 1830: demonstrating that crew training - the fireman had tied the safety valve down to stop that annoying whistling - had a way to go yet.
Technology advanced with each new locomotive in those years, and as larger, more efficient machines came on line, the tiny crab engines were soon retired. In 1930, the B&O decided to celebrate a century of service by building this replica of their first train (the distinction between cars and locomotives was not yet clear: it could be argued that this was the first articulated train).
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