Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage Village

Preservers of the Historic Ma & Pa Railroad

The John W. Barriger Colletion

A collection of pictures of the Ma & Pa have been posted on Flickr by the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library. These pictures were probably all taken on one day in 1941. Society member James McDonald provides the following information about Barriger and the possible purpose of the trip on which the pictures were taken.

"John W. Barriger III was an official with the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) in the 1930s and in that capacity toured many railroads. Most of his photos from those tours were taken from the backs of observation cars. You'll note that the focus of the images is much more on the track, lineside structures, and bridges than on rolling stock. This is in keeping with the RFC activity. Likely the white flags may have indicated that the train was a special run just for the RFC representatives and not a train that was in normal revenue service or chartered for a fan trip. This might be why this train didn't appear in Charlie's [Mahan] list of excursions."

"Incidentally, the Barriger collection of railroad documentation is housed at the St. Louis Mercantile Library and is one of the foremost collections of railroad documentation in the country. Barriger not only photographed prolifically, he was apparently good about cataloging his images, and made appropriate arrangements for the proper preservation of his collection after his death. Furthermore, his access was well beyond that of the normal railfan. In addition to the work he did with the RFC, he served as the president of several railroads, including the Monon, P&LE, MKT, and B&M. Before working for the RFC he was also employed with the PRR."

Barriger was chief of the Railroad Division of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation from 1934 to 1941. His more than 50,000 railroad photographs (including these Ma & Pa images) are owned by the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, housed at the St. Louis Mercantile Library of the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

Walt Holloway has confirmed from documents in the collection of the John W. Barriger III Library that Barriger made an inspection trip on the Ma & Pa in 1941 in connection with the railroad's application for a loan from the RFC. It appears that Barriger and a group of other men traveled from Baltimore to York on a special train consisting of motorcar #62 and coach #20. Most of the pictures in the collection appear to have been taken from the rear platform of coach #20. Unless otherwise stated, all pictures are taken looking to the south along the railroad from the vantage point of the northbound train.

Note that copyright to all of these pictures is owned by the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library and use of the images is subject to their copyright policy, which can be found at

Links to Ma and Pa Photos on FLICKR:

  • Have photos you would like us to link to, contact us: - Gerry Mack
World War I Tents

World War I Encampment at Heritage Day 2007