New Exhibit in the Newly Restored
No. 908 "John T. Collinson" Office Railcar
On Saturday, June 11 the B&O Railroad Museum unveiled the newly restored No. 908 "John T. Collinson" Office Railcar. To honor this occasion, John Collinson's daughter, Nancy Collinson McGinty and Hays T. Watkins, close friend of Collinson and former Chessie System and CSX Chairman and Chairman Emeritus of the B&O Railroad Museum cut the ceremonial ribbon.
|Left to Right: Hays T. Watkins, Nancy Collinson McGinty & Dave Shackelford|
This new exhibit, that honors two great railroaders, John Collinson and Olive Dennis, will now be open for "white glove tours". It features information, artifacts, and video relating to the history of the office car and the contributions of John Collinson to railroading. Components also focus on the contributions, Olive Dennis, the B&O's first female civil engineer, made to passenger car service.
John Theodore Collinson was a fourth-generation railroader who rose through the ranks to head several of the most significant railroads in America. During his career he would lead the B&O Railroad, C&O Railway, the Chessie System and Seaboard System. He would oversee the merger of the Chessie and Seaboard Systems into CSX and retire as vice chairman of CSX Corporation in 1987 after a 41-year career that began with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
Olive Wetzel Dennis was a pioneering woman, the B&O's first female civil engineer, and one of the most significant women in railroading history. She was an exceptional engineer and contributed greatly to improving the comfort of passenger travel during her career with the B&O. She is also known for designing the B&O's famous Centenary pattern china in 1926.
The No. 908 is a true railroading gem that was built in 1917 as an all-wooden office car for the Chicago & Alton Railroad and numbered No. 503. As built, the car had four staterooms, a dining area next to the observation area, and kitchen at the far end of the car. In 1926, the No. 503 was rebuilt with the addition of a steel under-frame and riveted steel body. Five years later, the Chicago & Alton Railroad became a subsidiary of the Baltimore & Ohio and No. 503 was renumbered as No. 922 to most-likely fit with the then current numbering scheme for B&O office cars. The B&O acquired outright ownership of the car in 1945, and it received a make-over at the Mt. Clare shops. An air conditioning unit and new roller-bearing trucks were added, it was modified from four to three staterooms, and the car was renumbered as the No. 908. It was assigned to the Chief Engineer maintenance of way. It was sold in 1967 and had private owners and was eventually donated to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in 1990.
In 1992, the No. 908 was named after John T. Collinson. Mr. Collinson had been assigned the car for his use in the 1960s. He was a strong supporter of the B&O Railroad Museum and served on its board of directors. The No. 908 is dedicated in his memory.
The restoration of the "John T. Collinson" was made possible by the generosity of Nancy McGinty, Hays T. Watkins, and The Roz and Marvin H Weiner Family Foundation.