Railroad Museum Shows Rise Of American Train Travel

They couldn't get trains into the fourth floor of the Business School's Baker Library but they did get in almost everything else associated with locomotives.

The Railroad Museum, placed in the tiled-floor room when the Library was built, doesn't attempt to deal with the complete history of railroading. But it contains examples of rails dating back to the start of steam transportation, as well as exhibits like ancient passes and valuable sketches of actual engines.

Run by the Railroad and Locomotive Historical Society, the museum is allowed its space in return for putting materials gathered by Society members in the library. The society was founded in 1921 for anyone interested in trains, especially locomotives.

Costly Drawings

Most of the bells exhibited are from the New Haven Railroad. These are valuable, but from a dollars and cents point of view the lithographs of locomotives would count most; they are the drawings of the engines as they actually appeared, with some in color.

Next door to the exhibit room is the Society's record file, under the supervision of the superintendent of the Museum, Jason A. Swadkins. Bsides actual business accounts there are filed pictures of every railroad engine type in the nation.

Since 1947, when the Navy moved our and the Museum was returned to its present location, Swadkins has been kept busy bringing the records up to date and showing visitors around. It is he who explains the intricacies, and points out the piece of wood from the first locomotive built in Maine. "It's the kind of job I enjoy," he states, "especially since I like railroads--just like most people."