Aberdeen has a long history as part of the East Coast passenger and freight rail corridor, and part of that history was celebrated with a presentation on the Royal Blue Line, the B&O Railroad's luxury passenger line between Washington, D.C., and New York.
Bridge, a Carroll County resident, talked about the Royal Blue Line and the overall history of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, which was chartered in Baltimore in 1827, making it one of the oldest railroads in the nation.
The Royal Blue was in operation from 1890 to 1958. It was created to compete with the rival Pennsylvania Railroad's D.C.-to-New York passenger service, according to Bridge.
Bridge noted the B&O had to build its own rail line to Philadelphia during the 1880s because of the Pennsylvania Railroad's dominance in the Northeast.
'You can be sure you were going to get first-class service," Bridge said.
"That's what you usually think of when you think of the Royal Blue Line and its rolling stock," Bridge said. "The real benchmark, though, was passenger comfort."
Wally Hawtin, 83, who grew up in Aberdeen, asked Bridge when the B&O Railroad fully converted to diesel-powered engines.
"I can still smell it," Hawtin said.
Bridge said the B&O introduced its first diesel engine in 1937, but World War II slowed the conversion to diesel by about a decade as wartime production and rationing meant railroads had to use the assets they had at the time, which were still mostly steam engines.
Benjamin Bates, 53, brought a copy of the book, which had been autographed by Harwood, to Bridge's presentation Wednesday night. The Joppatowne native, who lives in Towson, said he grew up watching trains go through his hometown.
"I developed an interest in the railroads that were closest to where I grew up, so that included the B&O, the Pennsylvania Railroad, which went over the Gunpowder [River] and the Ma & Pa," Bates said.
He noted the B&O and the Pennsy maintained competing rail lines through Harford County.
The B&O was acquired by a competing railroad, the Chesapeake & Ohio, in 1963, and it eventually became part of CSX in 1980.
Aberdeen's B&O station is along the CSX-owned freight line that was home to the Royal Blue trains.
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Bridge said he admires the work of Furness, who designed a number of stations in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
"You'll find out all the history of [the station] because they've done some copious research on it," Tarring said.
Tarring said he remembers taking the Royal Blue "back and forth to Philadelphia and New York and Baltimore with my grandmother."
Hawtin said he grew up in Aberdeen, two doors from the B&O station. He said he remembers seeing Royal Blue trains go by his house.
"I remember them," he said. "They were beautiful."
Library officials invited Bridge to speak Wednesday as part of its week-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of their library being housed in its home at Franklin and Parke streets in downtown Aberdeen.
"It's close to everything," librarian Ann Kershner said. "It's in the heart of the community; we're part of the community and we love it."