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“On the Tracks” 4 of 5 stars
Review of B&O Railroad Museum

B&O Railroad Museum
2711 Maryland Avenue, Ellicott City, MD 21043
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Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: A holiday exhibit of model trains is found at this rail museum in Ellicott City
clovis CA
Level Contributor
95 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“On the Tracks”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2013

Lots of information of the early commerce of this area. wwe found it very interesting as we were on a self-guided tour and driving around the town to check it all out.
It was a lovely day to learn and explore...highly recommend!

Visited July 2012
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77 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
DC Metro Area
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“The B&O...All You Need to Know is There...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2013

I have sons that grew up playing with Thomas the Tank Engine. So we really enjoyed spending time in the museum. I was even more facinated by the history and the role of Charles Carroll in the museum. So much so that as Boy Scouts my son did the RailRoad merit badge and the Museum helped him complete the requirements.

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Ellicott City, MD
Level Contributor
67 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Must See for Railroad Buffs”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

This is where the famous race between the Tom Thumb locomotive and the horse ended. The tracks are still active with freight cars. The station has been restored to period condition, and includes memorabilia, maps, and history.

Visited March 2012
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Silver Spring, Maryland
Level Contributor
117 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 211 helpful votes
“Nicely preserved”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

Nicely preserved bu there's not much to do here. Not worth a stop unless you have something else to do in the area.

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New York City, New York
Level Contributor
69 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Wonderful Train Gardens - Horrible Parking Situation”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

In January and February, the B&O Museums - including Ellicott City - offer free admission with a Zoo membership for 2 adults and 2 kids. Seniors pay $5. We waited until all the Christmas craziness had passed and planned our visit for a quiet January weekend. It is a very quaint station house with a lot packed inside and a caboose open for inspection outside. Situated right along side the tracks, which continue to carry freight across Maryland, the first floor holds a small gift shop and a large room with detailed display of living quarters for the stationmaster. Massive stone lintels above the two fireplaces and locally quarried stone walls make it sturdy enough to not be carried downstream when the Patapsco River floods the town. There was a period-costumed docent in the living quarters describing life in the station house and a pictorial history of local civil war encampments. There were also a number of other docents wandering the building and the grounds to answer questions.

A steep wooden stair leads to the second floor which once housed waiting rooms and now holds several train displays. The displays each have some interactive buttons for kids to push and see cause and effect. The most amazing display was an exhibit that was maybe 20x30 feet with a number of vistas and a half dozen trains - all built from LEGOS. With so many details and criss-crossing trains - this held our attention for a hour - circling again and again - noticing new details each time. Some buildings are built as replicas of Ellicott City - there was a Christmas village - a busy main street - and farms and countryside - all with amazing detail. Even the hillsides were covered with LEGOS. As we were preparing to leave, we paid attention for the first time to a tv, which I had dismissed earlier as being an explanation of the construction of the meticulous town. When I stopped to observe, I found that it was actually showing the view from inside the town - one of the trains has a camera mounted on its engine and is projecting its trip around the model onto the closet circuit tv - WOW - caught our attention for another half hour.

Access to the outside is from this second floor. There are several benches outside the station if by now you need a rest. There's also a large bell mounted that visitors can ring - and the kids loved it. Down an asphalt ramp, there are real trains to explore, including a classic red caboose.

While this little station is dwarfed by the B&O roundhouse in Baltimore, its certainly worth a visit. There are two downsides visitors should be aware of. With its age, the station is definitely not mobility adapted - so if you can't do stairs - you will be limited. I saw no references to alternate access to the outside ramp to the second floor - it's all fenced in from the road and entrance appears to be only from the second floor.

Also, parking in Ellicott City is a nightmare at best. The lot closest to the railroad station was partially covered by the collapse of a hill over a year ago and it is open, but with limited parking spots. There's another lot thats a bit of a hike across busy mainstreet and several quite a way up the steep hill on the upper part of town. The precious few spots in front of the museum were taken by the docents - we watched them come out and get in their cars when the museum closed at 4 pm (we went to dinner across the street a few minutes before the museum closed). If it's handicapped parking you're looking for, Ellicott City is not the place to visit! There is one spot near the station and it was occupied by a car the entire time we were there - well beyond the close of the museum. Although they are in the midst of installing new parking meters - they were all bagged, but apparently 2 hour parking is still being enforced somehow because we saw A LOT of people coming back to their cars to find tickets fluttering in the breeze. Not a great advertisement for a return visit. We avoided a ticket by getting dropped off by a younger member of our group who took the car to another part of town and walked back to meet us - then picked us up after our visit. I would never venture there with small children by myself :( There are no strollers (no space for them really) and no wheelchair access.

Visited January 2013
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