Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Historical Society Young Historical Writers Challenge

The officers and directors of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Historical Society extend a challenge to all students between the ages 14 to 24 to help expand the information available on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. We are seeking individuals who want to study, perform independent research, and write on the rich historical heritage of the B&O and how it played a major role in the development of the eastern half of the country. We are seeking manuscripts of no less than five pages of single spaced typed text, manuscripts that will be evaluated for independent thinking, quality, and historical accuracy. These manuscripts may also be evaluated for publication in our Society quarterly magazine, The Sentinel.

The following will explain in detail the expectations, requirements and acknowledgements for submitting completed documents.

Criteria For Challenge

Subject Matter: The society is seeking historical research of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad History and Operations between Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Cincinnati, Ohio and St. Louis, Missouri; Cincinnati, Ohio to Indianapolis, Indiana; Willard, Ohio to Chicago, Illinois; and the Baltimore and Ohio Chicago Terminal Railroad. Researchers are free to use any materials that are available through this Society web site, or any original research through the internet, libraries, other public sources. Students are to be particularly mindful about copyright laws and insure that all research complies with the rights of the original writers. Cite references properly. Obtain authority, as necessary, to use materials of others, but in all cases cite your sources. The B&O RR Historical Society cannot be accused of accepting original work that is clearly in violation of copyright or is guilty of plagiarism. Questions should be referred to the Review Committee below.

To begin your research, we are providing some basic overview data that may be helpful. Warning: these are large files so a reasonably fast broadband should be used. Most files are over 2 MB in size. The files are: A system map of the B&O as of 1918. This is a smaller version sized for web use of a much larger map used by the Society for historical purposes, but will provide researchers with an appreciation of the areas covered by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Also provided are pages from the B&O Form 6. This document provides a comprehensive listing of the complexity of the railroad within a division, the industries the B&O served, length of sidings, etc. It is considered to provide a wealth of knowledge on the B&O operations. The Form 6 for the Pittsburgh Division, the Indianapolis Division, the Chicago Division, and the St Louis Division are all provided for your perusal and use if desired.

Requirements: Documents of 5 - 9 pages, or 10 - 14 pages should be based on primary resources such as charts, maps, B&O railroad documents, employee communication or diaries, time period newspaper articles, Federal Railroad Administration documents and reports, Interstate Commerce Commission documents and reports, town and county records, local historical societies, and interviews with employees of the railroad. Text must include supporting resources: appropriate photographs, charts, and maps. Writer must have written permission to use any photos or documents and present all rights to the society, in writing, for future publication.

Submitting Documents: Documentation should be submitted in digital format, if possible, to the Society C/O the President at Include any photographs, charts, and maps for review by the editorial committee. Submissions must be in Microsoft Word 97-2003 or later format. If digital submission is not possible, material may be submitted by mail to: Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Historical Society, P.O. Box 1608, Sykesville, MD 21784-1608. A Submission Form Cover as provided here should be prepared with all submissions.

Review Committee

The committee is available to help young writer(s) in refining their material and writing skills. The committee is composed of:

  • Gregory Smith, President, Retired High School Teacher. Email President
  • Henry Freeman, Vice-President of Operations, Retired Editor and Publisher of several Northeastern Newspapers.
  • Harry Meem, Editor of The Sentinel Society magazine; retired city desk editor of Richmond, VA, newspaper.
  • Gene Stebbins, college professor of journalism.
  • Nicholas Fry, Director, Curator of Barringer Transportation Collection at UMStL.

An outline of the committee review methodology is shown here.


Upon final review and acceptance, the Society will provide the following to each writer:

  • A letter of acknowledgement and gratitude for their time and effort.
  • A student membership in the Society. One year for 5-9 pages and two years for 10-14 pages.
  • A one year subscription to our The Sentinel quarterly magazine will be sent to your school.
  • A copy of the publication that their work appears in.
  • Payment of $50 dollars for a manuscript of 5-9 pages, and $100 dollars for a manuscript of 10-14 pages.


The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Historical Society will hold all copyrights, publication rights, and usage privileges on any part or whole materials submitted by the writer.

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