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The Winter Art Show

March 2023
1min read

The Baltimore and Ohio was the second railroad in the nation to acquire diesel locomotives when they began to make their appearance in the mid-1920s, but at first the newcomers served only as switch engines. Then, in 1935, the B&O bought a road diesel and hitched it to the Royal Blue streamliner, whose aluminum-alloy eight-car trains sped luxuriously between Washington, D.C., and New York City. Two years later the Capitol Limited inaugurated diesel passenger service between Washington and Chicago. As part of its drive to promote the new service, the B&O commissioned a marquee for a station in Baltimore and received this eloquent watercolor by way of a proposal. The service took: on the eve of World War Il the B&O had 37 diesels as well as some 2,000 steam locomotives; just twenty years later the line had 1,129 diesels and not a single steamer. In this moody nocturne, so skillfully painted by a renderer named Otto Kuhler, can be read a mighty theme: the demise of steam railroading in America.

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