The Maryland Rail Heritage Library is a joint archive of both the Baltimore Chapter NRHS and the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. It resides on the second floor of the Visitors Center of the Streetcar Museum.
The Library houses thousands of books on railroad and transit technology and history (over 5,300 at last count), as well as tens of thousands of periodical issues (see here for a list), photographs, slides, blueprints and drawings, company publications, videos, movies, timetables, employee timetables, maps, newsletters, and other resources of interest and use to railroad historians, researchers, and railfans. The focus and emphasis on the archive collections is on the railroads and rail transit systems of Maryland and the immediate surrounding states, but the scope of the collection is worldwide.
A volunteer staff is usually on hand at the Library every Wednesday, usually from 10 a.m. to at least 3 p.m., as well as at least one Sunday a month (typically the second Sunday of the month) from noon to 4 when the Museum is open to the public; appointments for special research may also be made on weekends or other occasions when the Museum's Visitor Center is open; in exceptional circumstances, special research appointments may be made off-hours. Contact the Chapter via the contact form for appointments or more information.
Access to the Library is free for self-service research during open hours; minor fees for services such as photocopying or photo scanning may apply. Computers, wi-fi connection, high-resolution photo and slide scanners, video players, slide viewers, and a self-service color/black-and-white photocopier are on site. Researchers may also bring laptop or tablet computers, scanners, or cameras. Please note that, as a rule, MRHL material is not circulated or loaned out from the building except to members in good standing of either the BSM or the Baltimore Chapter NRHS.
Publication rights to photographic or other holdings may be available on a case-by-case basis, with applicable fees for for-profit use and possible fee waiver for appropriate non-profit use.
PLEASE BE ADVISED that due to several recent substantial donations to the archives which are being catalogued as time and staff allow, catalog listings are tentative and still quite incomplete at
this time. The fastest way to find information or photos is browsing in person.
Please also be advised that, as a general rule, the Library has virtually no company employee records of former railroad or transit employees. If an employee was known to have been otherwise documented by a company, such as a mention in a company newsletter or periodical, we may have said publication available.
DONATIONS: The Maryland Rail Heritage Library welcomes donations of books, periodicals, photographs, and other related material on a case-by-case basis. Please inquire before making a trip or sending a package.
Baltimore Chapter NRHS
PO Box 100
Lutherville, MD 21094
Contact Form at link,