B&O Railroad Museum Plans $30 Million Renovation with New Pigtown-Facing Entrance

| June 9, 2023 | 0 Comments

On Thursday, Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad Museum announced a $30-million renovation that will add new exhibits and a public plaza called the CSX Bicentennial Garden to the museum, as well as reorient the museum to front the Pigtown neighborhood. B&O has received a $5-million gift from CSX and a $3-million pledge from the State of Maryland for the project.

The renovation will be a remake of the 30,000 sq. ft. South Car Works building, which is currently just a space for maintenance. It is attached to the North Car Works building that is an exhibit of 20th century locomotives.

The entrance will be at the intersection of W. Cross St., Ramsay St., and James St. Currently B&O fronts that intersection with a retaining wall and surface lot that is one-story high.

The project will remove the surface lot and bring the property down to the grade of the adjacent streets, creating the CSX Bicentennial Garden. This will also expose the first floor of the South Car Works Building. The second floor of South Car Works will have balconies overlooking the CSX Bicentennial Garden.

New signage and landscaping will be added to this intersection.

Patrons will walk through the CSX Bicentennial Garden to the new entrance of the museum. The first floor of South Car Works will be free and not part of admission. It will have a lunch-focused cafe, a lobby, archives, and classroom space.

The admission portion of the museum will begin on the second floor where there will be an exhibit called Innovation Hall that will focus on the present and future of railroading technology. Patrons will then walk into the North Car Works to see the 20th Century exhibit and then into the Roundhouse to see 19th Century locomotives, which is connected to buildings with model trains and the Underground Railroad exhibit.

CSX Bicentennial Garden will host events such as live music, farmers’ markets, and community events.

A parking lot at James and S. Arlington St., which has been used in recent years as bus parking, will be the new main parking lot for B&O. The current entrance on W. Pratt St. will still be an entrance for staff and wedding goers.

B&O expects to begin renovations in the first quarter of 2024 with completion in 2026. It is currently fundraising for the entirety of the budget.

The project is looking to open in time for the 200th anniversary of railroad that began in Baltimore. This will take place in 2027 and the 250th anniversary of the United State of America will take place in 2026.

“The railroad was Maryland’s gift to the nation,” according to the B&O.

B&O is also hoping this project and its orientation to Pigtown will be a catalyst for further investment in the community.

“CSX is proud to support the future of the B&O Railroad Museum and help expand its role in the community,” said Joe Hinrichs, CSX president and chief executive officer, in a press release. “As the successor to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, CSX has been an integral part of the Maryland economy for generations. We are thrilled to be able to deliver this substantial contribution and serve as a catalyst of growth for this iconic institution and the Baltimore community.”

“Today, we celebrate another great partnership between CSX and the State of Maryland as we honor the birthplace of American railroading, the B&O Railroad Museum,” said Governor Wes Moore in a press release. “This campus transformation will serve our administration’s goals of connecting institutions with their neighboring communities, expanding workforce training opportunities on campus, creating publicly accessible open space, and remodeling the South Car Works building, our nation’s oldest, continuously operating railroad repair facility as the new entryway to the Museum. Maryland will be ready to celebrate the 200th anniversary in 2027.”

“We are profoundly grateful to CSX for their extraordinary commitment to the preservation and celebration of our nation’s railroad heritage,” said Kris Hoellen, executive director of the B&O Railroad Museum. “This significant contribution of $5 million dollars marks a milestone in our campaign towards transforming our campus in preparation for the 200th anniversary of American railroading in 2027. We thank CSX for their leadership to catalyze our campaign and for recognizing the importance of creating a beautiful, publicly accessible space in Southwest Baltimore — the CSX Bicentennial Garden.”

Renderings from Design Collective

SouthBMore.com photos 

Future main parking lot 

Eastbound look at W. Cross St. 

 

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Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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