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Steve's Book Picks
Recommended Reading about Area Railroads and History

Please send your comments and corrections to Steve.

Impossible Challenge II
Author: Herbert H. Harwood, Jr.
ISBN: 0-934118-22-1
Date: Dec 1994
Publisher: Barnard, Roberts & Co.

If you can only afford one book, this is the one to buy. Covers the Old Main, Washington Branch and Metropolitan Branch from construction through 1994. The author's pleasant writing style is easy to read, and well-chosen photographs are reproduced in excellent form.

Harwood has written many railroad books, and I've yet to find a disappointing one. They are accessible to railfan and non-railfan alike.

Impossible Challenge
Author: Herbert Harwood, Jr.
ISBN: 0-934118-17-5
Date: 1979
Publisher: Barnard, Roberts & Co.

This is the original, an earlier edition of Impossible Challenge II. It has much the same information as in the later book, but with a few other photos and a better index. This book is long out of print and can be difficult to find.

Royal Blue Line
Author: Herbert H. Harwood, Jr.
ISBN: 0-8018-7061-5
Date: 2002
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Harwood details B&O's premier rail service between Washington and New York.

Baltimore Streetcars: The Postwar Years
Author: Herbert H. Harwood, Jr.
ISBN: 978-0801871900
Date: 2003
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press

This is a wonderful collection of photos of Baltimore's streetcars during the 15 or so years before the system gave way to buses.

Baltimore's Light Rail
Author: Herbert H. Harwood, Jr.
ISBN: 0-915276-55-0
Date: 1995
Publisher: Quadrant Press, Inc.

a quick, easy, enjoyable read from the leading author on Baltimore area railroading

The Great Road
Author: James Dilts
ISBN: 0-8047-2629-9
Date: 1993
Publisher: Stanford University Press

In this erudite study of the startup and early years of B&O, Dilts gives a very detailed account of the politics, engineering and challenges from 1828 to 1853. Thoroughly researched and with excellent photos I've never seen anywhere else.

Triumph VI
Author: Charles S. Roberts and David W. Messer
ISBN: 0-934118-28-0
Date: 2003
Publisher: Barnard, Roberts and Company, Inc.

This book of the Triumph series focuses on Maryland. Find out how the Pennsylvania Railroad muscled into B&O turf. As hinted by his writing style, author Charles S. Roberts also created wargames published by Avalon Hill.

The Pennsylvania Railroad
Author: Albert J. Churella
ISBN: 978-0-8122-4348-2
Date: 2013
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press

An excruciatingly detailed, researched account of the Pennsylvania Railroad. At 945 pages, it's far more reading than I can do, and this is just Volume 1. If you want to know all about PRR, Churella's tomes are for you.

Centennial History of The PRR
Author: George H. Burgess and Miles C. Kennedy
Date: 1949
Publisher: The Pennsylvania Railroad Company

A self-published account of the first 100 years of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Appendices are crammed with data, such as a list of company Directors, divideds paid on stock, number of employees by year, etc.

Every Hour On The Hour
Author: Leroy O. King, Jr.
ISBN: 0-9600938-3-4
Date: 1993
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press

This should be your first book for information about the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Railway.

History of the Canton Railroad Company
Author: Gary W. Schlerf
ISBN: 96-085491
Date: 1996
Publisher: The Canton Railroad Company

No study of Baltimore area railroading would be complete without examination of Canton Railroad.

Howard County A Pictorial History
Author: Joetta Cramm
ISBN: 0-89865-539-0
Date: 1987
Publisher: The Donning Company

Not a railroading book, but a photographic history of the county surrounded on the north by the Old Main Line, and on the east by the Washington Branch. A few railroad photos. An enjoyable look into what this area was like in the 1800s.

The Patapsco River Valley
Author: Henry K. Sharp
ISBN: 0-938420-74-7
Date: 2001
Publisher: Maryland Historical Society

Both the history and trackage of the B&O are intertwined with the Patapsco River Valley. The writing needs some work, but this book remains an interesting read. Several pages of railroad history are contained within.

Baltimore Transitions
Author: Mark Miller
ISBN: 0-8018-6295-7
Date: 1998
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Another non-railroading book, but one which readers here will enjoy. Primarily this is a photo book, with an older Baltimore area photo presented on the left side page, with its present-day counterpart on the right.

A drawback: often the two photos are not matched up very well, sometimes they show different angles, sometimes the present-day photo cuts off the top of buildings shown in the old photo, etc. An index would be nice too. Despite this, still intriguing.

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