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The Martin F. O'Rourke Memorial
Railroad Library
at Bowie Tower

 

DC Digital Railway Heritage Project

In 2012 the DCNRHS Library committee was awarded a grant to digitize and put on-line, photos, ephemera, and other historical information related to DC regional railroad history. If you have materials to contribute or are a former railroader who wants to participate in our oral history component, please contact us.

More information about the project is available on DCNRHS' web site.

The Martin F. O'Rourke Memorial Railroad Library at Bowie Tower is a public eference library of railroad books, materials, manuals, maps, publications, timetables, and other railroad related materials and ephemera. The project's purpose is to preserve information about railroads and share that information with the public.

Currently our catalog contains well about 1,000 books and manuals. The library also has several hundred additional vintage magazines and other periodicals and an assortment of railroad timetables making the total number of items in the collection well over 1,800. The library also has a small childrens' section (a few non-train books too) with an array of books suitable for kids from two and up to help you entertain your little companion when you spend time at the library. For more information on the collection and how it can be used, see our Services section.

The library, which opened to the public on September 22nd, 2007 in a formal cPRR GG-1eremony, is operated by the Washington, D.C. Chapter, Inc., of the National Railway Historical Society in partnership with the City of Bowie, Maryland and its Museums Division. The library is located in the base of the former Pennsylvania Railroad Interlocking Tower at the Huntington Museum in historic old Bowie, right next to the tracks of Amtrak's (formerly Pennsylvania Railroad) high speed Northeast Corridor and at the north end of CSX's (formerly Pennsylvania Railroad) Pope's Creek Branch.

Bowie TowerOur library is designed, organized, catalogued, and managed by a professional librarian. It is open to the public six days a week. Visitors will be able to browse the collection and read books, magazines, railroad timetables, and railroad technical manuals, and look at other railroad related material in the library. This is a reference library; few if any materials will be "removable" from the facility but reproduction capability will be available for a small fee. The library contains mostly an assortment of materials on U.S. Railroads and dates from the late 1880's to present. Currently the library has a broad focus on railroading history because of the nature of the materials we have obtained. Over time the focus of the library is expected to become increasingly that of the Washington, D.C. region, surrounding areas, and railroads that historically served or still serve these areas.

The library is named in honor of longtime member and former Chapter President Martin F. O'Rourke.

The City of Bowie, Maryland is an outstanding partner in this project. Without their genuine cooperation, enthusiasm, and support this educational project would not be possible. We are especially appreciative of the support of the City's Museums Division.

 

 

 

The Liberty Limited, an all-private car special train carrying wounded soldiers, sailors, and marines to the 2006 Army vs. Navy football game, passes Bowie Tower on December 2, 2006. Photo by Teresa Renner.

 

** Tower and library photos by J. Lilly

** GG-1 photo from collection of Kevin J. Tankersely

a project of the National Railway Historical Society, Washington, D.C. Chapter, Incorporated, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
Click for Information about the  Chapter