B&O 'York' at the Century of Progress Exposition

Among the pioneer locomotives the Wickhams encountered at the Century of Progress Exposition was the York, built in 1831-32. In 1830, inventor Peter Cooper demonstrated his locomotive "Tom Thumb" on the new Baltimore & Ohio railroad. Convinced of the practicability of steam power for the movement of loaded cars on iron rails, the railroad's directors offered a prize of $4,000 for the most successful coal-burning engine. In response Phineas Davis built the York at his foundry in York, Pennsylvania. The locomotive was hauled to Baltimore by wagon since no railroad yet existed between the two cities. Placed in service by the Baltimore & Ohio, the York weighed three and one-half tons and could haul up to fifteen tons at the then amazing speed of fifteen miles per hour.

The locomotive pictured here is a replica of the York built at the Baltimore & Ohio's Mount Clare Shops for the 1927 Fair of the Iron Horse centenary celebration. Today this replica is housed in the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum on the site of the Mount Clare Shops. Another full-size model, constructed in 1892, is found in the Agricultural and Industrial Museum of York, Pennsylvania. The white coach behind the locomotive came from the Albion Mines Railway at Stellarton, Nova Scotia. It was not originally white but was perhaps painted that color because of a legend that later arose. It was said that any unmarried lady who could ride in the coach for twenty minutes without uttering a word would be a bride within the year; hence it came to be known as the "Bride's Coach." However, according to Jay Underwood and Herb MacDonald of Elmsdale, Nova Scotia, who supplied this information there is no trace of such a legend ever having currency in the part of Nova Scotia where the coach was originally used.