Membership in the B&O Railroad Historical Society

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Historical Society is an independent non-profit educational corporation. The Society's purpose is to foster interest, research, preservation, and the distribution of information concerning the B&O. Its membership is spread throughout the United States and numerous foreign countries, and its scope includes all facets of the B&O's history. Currently the Society has more than a thousand registered members. Several classes of annual memberships are available:

Regular: $55.00
Regular, Non-USA Resident: $81.00
Sustaining: $75.00 (includes FREE calendar)
Sustaining, Non-USA Resident: $100.00 (includes FREE calendar)
Student - USA Resident (non-voting): $40.00 (Available to persons 17 years old or younger)
Student - Non-USA Resident (non-voting): $66.00 (Available to persons 17 years old or younger)
Associate (Corporate/Business): $145.00
Institutional (Non-profit/Press): $45.00
Additional fee to receive The Sentinel by mail AND download: $10.00 Members, upon joining or renewing, choose as part of the membership to receive either a mailed copy of the magazine or a digital download. This option provides for both a mailed copy and also a digital download.

Members regularly receive a variety of publications offering, news, comments, technical information, and in-depth coverage of the B&O and its related companies. Since 1979, the Society has published a quarterly magazine, The Sentinel, dedicated to the publication of articles and news items of historical significance and interest to the B&O fan. Members have the option of receiving The Sentinel in hard copy by mail, digital download, or for an additional fee, both media. Our web based Membership Application (see below) will give you the option to choose your delivery method. See our Sentinel area for a detailed discussion of this dual media option and how to subscribe. See our eSentinel digital download area for more information on our eSentinel digital download edition. Other Society publications include monographs, calendars, equipment rosters, and reprints of original B&O source material. Their purpose is to make otherwise unobtainable data available to the membership at reasonable cost.

Membership in the Society is a vote of support and makes all of the Society's work possible. It provides those interested in the B&O with a legitimate, respected voice in the railroad and historical communities. By working together, B&O fans are able to accomplish much more than by individual efforts. No matter how diverse your interests or how arcane your specialty, others share your fascination with America's most historic railroad. We invite your participation.
For additional membership information, see our Frequently Asked Questions below.

Are you interested in becoming a member? If so, please fill out our WEB BASED MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION. It may be filled out on line if opened in an appropriate PDF reader program, such as Adobe Reader DC. The form permits the use of an electronic signature if your PDF program supports it. You will have to print the form and mail it to us, along with your payment. You may pay by check, money order, or credit card. For credit card payment, there are two options. If you are not ordering any items from the Store, you may download our Manual Order Form and include your card information. If you are ordering items from the Store, fill out an Order Form through our Company Store website (a link is in the banner at the top of this page) and include a membership from the Payments and Donations link in the left panel. Send the application form with your method of payment to:

Baltimore & Ohio RR Historical Society
Attn: Membership
PO Box 1608
Sykesville, MD 21784-1608

Membership fees, once accepted, are not refundable.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I contact the Society about a membership question?

ANSWER: A message via e-mail to Membership is most efficient, but you may mail a letter to the following address:
  BORHS Membership
  PO Box 1608
  Sykesville  MD  21784.

Use of a letter will result in a delay of at least a week over use of email.

How can I apply for a new membership to the Society?

ANSWER: If your browser permits, you may fill out our on-line Membership Application. If you fill it out on-line, print it out and send it in, with your payment, to the address shown on the form. Unless you are paying for your new membership through our Company Store as discussed below, payment must be made by check or money order. Another option is to fill out a hard copy membership form found at the many trade shows that we attend as a Society. This option must also be paid via check or money order unless you desire to use our Company Store payment option.

You may pay for your membership through our Company Store. Payment in this manner also permits the use of a credit card as well as a check or money order. If you desire to pay through our Company Store, please fill out our Membership Application as indicated above, then proceed to our Company Store. In the left margin of our main Company Store "Store Specials" page, you will find a category called "Payments and Donations." Click that link and follow the instructions for the category of membership desired.

I have sent my membership application into the Society, but haven't received anything from the Society for several months. Who should I contact?

ANSWER: Please see the question above "How can I contact the Society...".

Accidentally dropped by the Society?

ANSWER: Members who feel they were dropped accidentally or who wish to reactivate their membership, should contact Membership Chairperson as described in the question above "How can I contact the Society...". Please provide current contact information so we may get back in touch with you. The Society is here to support everyone who is interested in the history of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. We do not want to accidentally lose any of our members.

How are Membership Renewals handled by the Society?

ANSWER: When a membership is due for renewal, the Membership Chair will notify the member via mail. Renewal postcards are sent out to members approximately 60 days before their membership is due to expire. In this regard, it is very important that members keep the Society updated with current addresses. It is recognized that many members spend part of the year in one part of the country, another part of the year somewhere else. To assist members who have email, the Society has set up an address change email system to make it easy for members to send in their change of address information. To access this process, click here. This change of address is also important to ensure that our quarterly magazine The Sentinel is sent to the proper address. If a renewal has been sent out and the member does not respond, approximately 30 days following the expiration of the membership, an additional reminder will be sent out. After that time, if no correspondence has been received from the member, the member will be dropped from the active roles. No further magazines or other announcements from the Society will be sent to the delinquent member. Members wishing to renew will follow the renewal instructions included with the Society mailing. This will entail writing a renewal check and returning it with the notification to the Society.

Membership Renewals through the Web. There is an alternative way to renew your membership - through the Society web site. This method provides the capability to pay by credit card. A member desiring to renew his/her membership should click the Company Store link from our Home Page and, in the left frame, scroll down to the "Payments and Donations" heading. Click on that link and you will be taken to a screen that displays all of the categories of membership and the fee to be submitted for each category. Chose your category and click the Add button on the right once so that the number 1 is shown in the quantity. Proceed to the Shopping Cart to process your order per the directions provided.

Members desiring to renew their membership via web processing may also take advantage of the Store items offered for sale and may purchase items at the same time that a membership is being renewed.

I recently renewed my membership. Do you send out new membership cards?

ANSWER: Membership cards are provided for new members. There is no expiration date printed on the cards. Only your name, month and year you joined, and your membership number. This policy allows the Society to save the cost of printing cards each year. If your card is lost or damaged, and you need a replacement, we will be happy to do so upon request to the Membership Chairperson.

Can I renew my membership for more than one year at a time?

ANSWER: At the present time, memberships may only be renewed on an annual basis.

I rejoined the Society after a lengthy absence. How do I obtain all of the back issues of publications that I have missed?

ANSWER: You need to purchase any items you missed during your absence. You can obtain back issues of desired publications through our Company Store. Please keep in mind that the Society eventually does run out of printed stock for The Sentinel and the annual calendars (and for books that are no longer printed). The further back in time a desired item is, the higher the risk that it may be out of stock. Most issues of the magazine are available by digital download. These downloads comprise a decade of issues. Go to the Company Store and select (The) Sentinel in the left-hand frame to see the magazines which are available.

How do I notify the Society of my change of mailing or email address?

ANSWER: Members may send their change of mailing or email address (and/or phone(s)) by email (preferred) or mail. Send via e-mail to our address change email account. For mail, see the question above "How can I contact the Society...". Please provide your member number as well as your new contact information. Not only do we need a current member mailing address for The Sentinel and other mailings from the Society, but also your member number and current address are used as an integral part of the discount validation process when purchasing items from our Company Store. We certainly do not want to lose any of our members nor cause our members any difficulties in obtaining appropriate discounts when making purchases.

It is important that we have your current email address on file as well. There are ideas being considered, such as an electronic newsletter as an example, that will be sent out only by email. So if you have an email address, please let us know. And if you change your email address, let us know that as well.

What is the difference between a Regular and a Sustaining membership? What do I get for being a Sustaining member?

ANSWER: Sustaining membership is for those who would like to provide a higher level of financial support to our Society than do Regular members. Much of the dues paid for the Regular class membership pay for The Sentinel, postage and administrative overhead costs, while most of the extra money Sustaining members pay goes directly to support the Society's historic and archival projects. As a benefit to those who wish to become Sustaining members, they will automatically receive a Society calendar each year. Regular members must pay for the calendar. Members at either level receive quarterly issues of our Society publication, The Sentinel, as well as periodic sales flyers, newsletters, convention flyers, and other announcements. Go to Calendar in the Navigation Bar above to see our current calendar and several of its pages. Go to Sentinel to see our current magazine issue and several of its pages. To return here, click on Membership on the Navigation Bar. You should then be back to this page.

When are the calendars available? If I join as a Sustaining member, will I get my free one right away?

ANSWER: Calendars for the next year are usually printed by the middle of each year. Any member who retains the Sustaining level or who attains that level before October 1, will automatically receive a free copy of that calendar through the mail sometime in October. Summary: If you are a Sustaining member on September 30 of any year, you receive a free calendar for the following year.

I note there is also a Student Membership? What benefits does a Student Member receive?

ANSWER: A student member receives a discounted member rate and our quarterly magazine, The Sentinel during his membership period. Student level members are also entitled to membership discounts on Company Store purchases and may attend society functions as a member. They are highly encouraged to participate in society events such as modeling exhibitions, train shows, archives sorting sessions, contributing to the Sentinel, mini-conventions, and annual conventions. Student members however are not eligible to vote or run for office in society elections at this time. We are also a registered Non-Profit 501(c)3 organization so participation in certain activities may count towards community service graduation requirements for some school districts. It's best to check with your school to make sure.

We also have a special incentive for students called Young Historical Writers Challenge, a program intended to give students between the ages of 14 and 24 the opportunity to expand their knowledge in the B&O Railroad Company, the Society, and railroad history in general. Among other awards, winners will also be given a one year Student membership to the Society. See our Young Writers link for more information on this program.

Who runs the affairs of the Society?

ANSWER: The Society is a non-profit, all-volunteer, qualified 501(c)3 organization. The Society does not employ hired staff. The Board of Directors is responsible for all business functions of the Society. All Board positions are elected by the membership. The 12-member Board consists of 6 at-large Directors, 5 Officers (President, VP of Operations, VP of Finance, Treasurer and Secretary), and the immediate past President. The Board establishes formal committees on an as-needed basis for special projects, such as cataloging the archives. The bulk of the day-to-day jobs, including management positions such as Company Store Manager, Archivist, Membership Chairperson, Convention Chairperson, etc. are performed by dedicated volunteers, some of whom hold full-time jobs elsewhere and help the Society in their spare time. Go to Contacts in the Navigation Bar above to see a current list of Board members. Clicking the back arrow in your browser will generally return you to this page.

How can I volunteer my time to help the Society?

ANSWER: We are always glad to have helping hands! There are several areas where help is always needed, including the Company Store, working on identifying and cataloging old B&O materials through our Archives component, helping with setting up our conventions and mini-conferences, and helping to develop special projects and grants. The easiest way to get started is to contact the Society via e-mail at Information Contact or at BORHS, PO Box 1608, Sykesville, MD 21784, indicating your job preference and availability. We also like to keep an inventory of special skills, interests and talents of our diverse membership. There is a space to provide this information on the membership application form when you join or on the interest profile section of your renewal notice.

Will my personal data be shared with other members or organizations?

ANSWER: We do not share any of the data on our membership database with any outside organization. Mailing lists are generated for Officers, Directors and our publishing staff for internal use only. We also are evaluating the possibility of offering a published directory for distribution to members who opt to have their name displayed in it. If the Society does undertake this endeavor, members will be notified and given the opportunity to have their name listed in the directory. There are other ways to make contact with Society members. The Society has a Facebook page as well as member participation in the "non-BORHS sponsored" B&O Yahoo Group. While both entities are open to the public and not restricted to Society members only, many (perhaps most) Society members who have internet capability frequent those sites. You can get to those sites through links provided on the Home Page of our web site.

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