- Baltimore and Potomac Rail Road
Infobox SG rail
railroad_name=Baltimore and Potomac Rail Road
The Baltimore and Potomac Rail Road was part of the
Pennsylvania Railroad's main line from Baltimore, Marylandsouthwest to Washington, DC. It is now part of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor; freight is handled by Norfolk Southern.
Walter Bowie was a major advocate of expanding the railroad system into
southern Maryland, and wrote articles lobbying for this under the pen name " PatuxentPlanter". After significant lobbying together with Thomas Fielder Bowie, William Duckett Bowie, and Oden Bowie,cite book
first =William Bender
title =History of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company: With Plan of Organization
publisher =Henry T. Coates & Company
date = 1895
pages =333-334 ] Chapter 194 of the 1853 Session Laws of Maryland, passed on
May 6, 1853, and chartered the Baltimore and Potomac Rail Road Company. This company had the authority to construct a railroad from the city of Baltimore via Upper Marlboro and Port Tobacco to a point on the Potomac Riverbetween Liverpool Pointand the St. Marys River, and any branches of at most 20 miles (32 km) in length.
The company was organized on
December 19, 1858, and began surveying the route May 3, 1859. Construction started in 1861 but progressed slowly until 1867, when the Pennsylvania Railroad(PRR) and its ally the Northern Central Railwaybought the company. [cite web
publisher=The Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society
date=2004 ] The PRR at the time had access to Baltimore via its own lines (the
Northern Central Railwayfrom the north and the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroadfrom the northeast), but used the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad(B&O) and its Washington Branchto continue southwest to Washington. The PRR and B&O had trouble getting along, but Maryland refused to grant a charter to end the B&O's monopolyon Baltimore-Washington travel. However, the Baltimore and Potomac charter allowed exactly that, via the clause that allowed branches; all the PRR had to do was take the line within 20 miles of Washington. The PRR obtained a charter for the section in Washington on February 5, 1867.
Thus the new Baltimore-Washington line opened on
July 2, 1872, and the required "main line" to Pope's Creek on the Potomac River, immediately relegated to branch status, opened on January 1, 1873. The final section, the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnelunder Winchester Street and Wilson Street in Baltimore, opened on June 29, 1873, connecting the line to the PRR's Northern Central Railwayand the new Union Station. That year or the next, the Union Railroad also opened, extending the line east through another tunnel to the PRR's other Baltimore line, the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad. [cite web
title=Corporate Genealogy Union Railroad
author=Robert T. Netzlof
date = 2002-06-12
The original Washington station was on the
National Mall, at the present location of the National Gallery of Art, at the southwest corner of Sixth Street NW and Constitution Avenue. Tracks ran south from there along Sixth Street to a wye in Sixth Street, Maryland Avenue and Virginia Avenue. Ironically, the tracks along Maryland Avenue ran over the Long Bridge (now the 14th Street Bridge) to Virginia, and the tracks along Virginia Avenue went east into Maryland. On July 2, 1881, President James Garfieldwas assassinated by Charles Guiteauwhile awaiting a train at the Washington station.
Continuing south in Virginia was the
Alexandria and Washington Railroad, opened in 1857. The Baltimore and Potomac acquired this line after reaching it, operating it until 1901, when the Washington Southern Railway (the successor of the Alexandria and Washington) was taken over by the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, an independent bridge lineowned equally by the PRR and five other railroads. Soon after, in 1904, the line from the Long Bridge to Rosslyn, built by the Washington Southern, was split off into the Rosslyn Connecting Railroad, owned by the PRR.
Washington Terminal Companyand its Union Station opened in 1907, resulting in the closure of the old station on the Mall, and the diversion of all passenger trains to a new alignment, splitting from the old one at Landover and running west to merge with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Washington Branchon the approach to the new station.
November 1, 1902, the Baltimore and Potomac was consolidated with the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroadto form the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad, also controlled by PRR. Since then, the line has passed under control of Penn Central, Conrailand Amtrak. Since the breakup of Conrail, Norfolk Southernhas provided freight service over the mainline. However, the Pope's Creek branch (originally part of the chartered mainline) is operated by CSX Transportation.
Catonsville Short Line Railroadopened in 1884 and was immediately leased by the Baltimore and Potomac. This provided a short branch from just south of Baltimore to Catonsville.
;Pope's CreekThe 48.7-mile (78.4 km) branch to Pope's Creek was part of the original chartered main line, but from opening it was operated as a branch of the main line from the junction at Bowie. The main line from Bowie to Washington, a distance of 17.1 miles (27.5 km), was provided for in the charter as a branch.
* [http://www.earlpleasants.com/search_1.asp Railroad History Database]
* [http://broadway.pennsyrr.com/rail/Prr/Corphist/pb_w.html Corporate Genealogy - Philadelphia, Baltimore & Washington]
* [http://kc.pennsyrr.com/guide/nemain1.html Hobo's Guide to the Pennsy - Main Line Washington to New York: Section 1]
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