The Hunt for Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Employees


Our society receives more requests for information regarding former B&O employees and their employment records than any other type of request.

We regret that we can't provide information of this type as we have no B&O railroad employee records in our archives.

To the best of our knowledge employee records from the 1800's and early 1900's generally have disappeared over the years due to fires or housecleaning in B&O facilities. Later in the 1900's, problems in accessing former employee records were exacerbated by the transfer of many records to non-B&O locations, such as the C&O Huntington, WV offices. This occurred when the B&O and C&O merged into the Chessie System in the 1970's. The situation worsened when these roads were absorbed by the CSX Transportation Corporation. By this time employee records had come under the protection of the Privacy Act and have not been made available to organizations outside of CSX since the Chessie System was dissolved. CSX is the parent organization surviving the B&O and is the legal owner of the records. Past efforts by both our organization and the families of former employees to recover such records from CSX have failed, and we surmise that all records of employees not actively employed by the B&O at the time of its dissolution were considered unnecessary and thus probably destroyed by CSX Transportation.

A possible source of data is the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). The board has a website at: The RRB may be able to provide the information desired, but the employee must be deceased and must have worked for a railroad after 1936. The RRB charges a $21 fee for their services. The board's site also contains links to other sites that may help you find information on employees who worked for railroads before 1936.

Another possible source is the Hays T. Watkins Research Library at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, MD. They have several thousand individual service records of B&O employees from the B&O's Payroll Dept. Granted, these are not complete Personnel Deptment records, but they are better than nothing. The B&O RR Museum has received many research inquiries about these records, and they have provided many people with their ancestor's records. These records are microfilmed, and cover the period of 1905-71. The B&ORR Museum charges for archival searches. The B&ORR Museum staff can be reached at:

Good luck in your search!

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