GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WDVM) — Maryland has a rich history of trains and railways dating all the way back to the early 1800s. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was founded in 1827 with the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway later emerging in 1836.
Over 200 collectors from all over the country filled the exhibit halls of the Montgomery County Agricultural Center for the Annual Gaithersburg Railroad, Steamship, and Transportation Artifacts Show. Charlie Miller, the organizer of the annual artifacts show, says the show is a way for collectors to connect with others who share a love for trains and locomotives as well as a way to grow their own collections.
“This is where all the collectibles related to the railroad in terms of their history,” Miller explained. “So it could be like dining car china, it could be like lanterns. It could be like dining car silver, it could be railroad locks and keys or signs or calendars.”
Mike Yetter is a third-generation collector who focuses on memorabilia from the Western Maryland Railway. He says that collectors show like these help to preserve the history that built the United States.
“The B&O was one of the first railroads in the country and the timber and the coal that came out of the mountains of western Virginia and Washington, Maryland built this country,” Yetter said. “And I want to preserve the history and the knowledge that’s here.”
Yetter stated that the lack of interest in historic railways and locomotives could put the artifacts and knowledge at risk of being lost or forgotten.
“Too many of the older collectors are dying off and not many of the younger generation people getting into this to follow through,” Yetter said hopefully. “But I’m here to try to preserve the history of the railroad.”
The Gaithersburg Railroad, Steamship, and Transportation Artifacts Show is held on the first weekend in November each year and is looking forward to the 44th annual show next year.