Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad


Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad
Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad
Locale Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland
Dates of operation 1836–1902
Successor Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
Length 669 mi (1,077 km)[1]
Headquarters Philadelphia

The Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad was the Pennsylvania Railroad's main line from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania southwest to Baltimore, Maryland in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is now part of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor; freight is handled by Norfolk Southern.

Contents

History

Independent Operation

The Philadelphia and Delaware County Rail-Road Company was chartered in Pennsylvania on April 2, 1831. It changed its name on March 14, 1836 to the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company.

Chapter 296 of the 1831 Session Laws of Maryland, passed March 14, 1832, chartered the Delaware and Maryland Rail Road Company to build from Port Deposit or any other point on the Susquehanna River to the Delaware state line. The Wilmington and Susquehanna Rail Road Company was chartered January 18, 1832 in Delaware to continue the line to Wilmington, and the two companies merged April 18, 1836 to form the Wilmington and Susquehanna Railroad Company.

The rest of the line to Baltimore, the Baltimore and Port Deposite Rail Road Company, was chartered in Maryland by Chapter 188 of the 1831 Session Laws of Maryland, passed March 5, 1832. On February 12, 1838, the three companies merged to form a new Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company, authorized to build a continuous line from Philadelphia to Baltimore.[1]

The first section of line opened in 1836, forming part of the line in Pennsylvania; the rest of the line was completed in 1837. In Philadelphia, the line ended at Broad Street and Washington Avenue {Prime}, where it connected with the Southwark Rail-Road (built in 1835), which was used to reach the Delaware River. In Baltimore, the PW&B ended at President Street. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which ended in Baltimore, worked closely with the PW&B to compete with the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad (Pennsylvania Railroad after 1857) for travel west from Philadelphia, hauling coaches by horse down Pratt Street to reach the PW&B station (the need for this transfer occasioned the Pratt Street Riot at the start of the American Civil War). By 1853 the Camden and Amboy Railroad and New Jersey Railroad were also part of this agreement, providing through service from New York City to the west.[2]

On March 15, 1839 the PW&B bought the New Castle and Frenchtown Turnpike and Rail Road running from New Castle, Delaware to Frenchtown, Maryland[disambiguation needed ].[3] The New Castle and Wilmington Railroad was chartered to connect the two railroads, but was not constructed until 1852. This provided a connection with the Delaware Railroad, which the PW&B began to operate on January 1, 1857. In 1859, the NC&F was abandoned west of Rodney, the junction with the Delaware Railroad.

The PW&B Bridge over the Susquehanna River, a 3,269 feet (996 m) wooden truss bridge, opened in November 1866.

The Darby Improvement, a new alignment from Philadelphia to Eddystone (just outside Chester), opened on November 18, 1872, avoiding the old route through swamps and serving more populated areas.[4] On July 1, 1873 the old alignment was leased to the Philadelphia and Reading Railway for 999 years. The Reading originally used the Junction Railroad to reach this branch and the connecting Chester and Delaware River Railroad, but later obtained trackage rights over the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Baltimore and Philadelphia Railroad (opened 1886).

The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) began running over the PW&B in 1873 with the opening of its Baltimore and Potomac Rail Road. On May 15, 1877, the New Castle & Frenchtown and New Castle & Wilmington were merged into the PW&B, forming a branch line from Wilmington to Rodney. On May 21, 1877, the Southwark RR was merged in, extending the main line to the Delaware River waterfront.

Fight for control

In 1880 a major conflict began between the PRR and the B&O, both of which operated over the PW&B. The B&O arranged to divert its New York-bound trains away from the PRR route to the new Reading-controlled "Bound Brook Route," which had recently broken the PRR's New Jersey monopoly on Philadelphia-New York rail travel. B&O trains now left the PW&B at Gray's Ferry and traveled over the Junction Railroad (jointly controlled by PW&B, Reading, and PRR) to Belmont, where they reached Reading rails. However, a mile of the Junction Railroad's track through Philadelphia was owned and used by the PRR, as well, and the PRR showed great ingenuity in arranging delays to B&O trains passing over this section of track.

The irate John W. Garrett, president of the B&O, decided to counter-attack by quietly buying out the PW&B, cutting off the PRR from its Baltimore & Potomac subsidiary. However, his agent encountered unexpected difficulties in buying up a majority of the stock at the price specified. Meanwhile, the secret of Garrett's maneuver became known to the PRR, which quickly bought out a majority of the stock at a somewhat higher price and took control of the PW&B instead. Garrett was forced to charter the Baltimore and Philadelphia Railroad and construct an independent line to Philadelphia, while paying the PRR substantial fees to continue New York service over their lines.

PRR subsidiaries

A number of branches were built, bought and sold from 1881–1891, as described below. In 1895, the main line was realigned and straightened at Naaman's Creek. The old line would become sidings for Claymont Steel.

The PRR's Baltimore and Potomac Rail Road was formally leased to the PW&B on November 1, 1891.

The Elkton and Middletown Railroad, opened in 1895, was originally intended as a cutoff between the main line at Elkton, Maryland and the Delaware Railroad at Middletown, Delaware. However, only a short piece of track serving industries in Elkton was ever constructed. It was consolidated into the PB&W on September 15, 1916.

Merger

The PW&B merged with the Baltimore and Potomac on November 1, 1902 to form the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad.

Branches

Southwark
60th Street/Chester
South Chester
Edgemoor
Augustine Mill

The Augustine Mill Branch or Brandywine Branch was built in 1882 from Landlith north along the Brandywine Creek to reach the Augustine Mills of the Jessup & Moore Paper Company, and was later extended further north to serve the Kentmere and Rockford Mills of Joseph Bancroft & Sons.

Shellpot

The Shellpot Branch or Shellpot Cutoff was built in 1888 from Edgemoor (near the crossing of the Shellpot Creek) around the south side of Wilmington to a point on the main line between Wilmington and Newport. It served as a freight bypass, to avoid what was then street running on the main line through Wilmington.

Delaware Branch

This branch was formed from the old New Castle & Frenchtown and New Castle & Wilmington trackage between Wilmington and Rodney, via New Castle. It was sold to the Delaware Railroad in 1891.

New Castle Cut-off

The New Castle Cut-off was built in 1888 from a point on the Shellpot Branch just across the Christina River from Cherry Island, south to New Castle and a connection with the Delaware Branch. It was sold with the Delaware Branch to the Delaware Railroad in 1891.

Delaware City

This line was sold by the Newark and Delaware City Railroad to the PW&B in 1881. It ran south and east from the main line at Newark to Delaware City.

Port Deposit

The Port Deposit Branch was built in 1866 up the Susquehanna River from Perryville to the river town of Port Deposit. In 1893, it was sold to the Columbia and Port Deposit Railway, also PRR-controlled, which connected with it at Port Deposit.

Baltimore Union

See also

References

External links

Preceded by
The Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company
Baltimore and Port Deposite Rail Road Company
The Wilmington and Susquehanna Railroad Company

The New Castle and Frenchtown Turnpike and Rail Road Company (merged May 15, 1877)
The New Castle and Wilmington Rail Road Company (merged May 15, 1877)
Southwark Rail-Road Company (merged May 21, 1877)

Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company
formed by merger February 12, 1838
merged November 1, 1902
Succeeded by
Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad
Preceded by
 
The Philadelphia and Delaware County Rail-Road Company
chartered April 2, 1831
organized May 23, 1831
name changed March 14, 1836
Succeeded by
Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company
Preceded by
The Philadelphia and Delaware County Rail-Road Company
The Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company
name changed March 14, 1836
merged February 12, 1838
Succeeded by
Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company
Preceded by
 
Baltimore and Port Deposite Rail Road Company
chartered March 5, 1832
merged February 12, 1838
Succeeded by
Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company
Preceded by
 
The Wilmington and Susquehanna Rail Road Company
chartered January 18, 1832
merged April 18, 1836
Succeeded by
The Wilmington and Susquehanna Railroad Company
Preceded by
 
Delaware and Maryland Rail Road Company
chartered March 14, 1832
merged April 18, 1836
Succeeded by
The Wilmington and Susquehanna Railroad Company
Preceded by
The Wilmington and Susquehanna Rail Road Company
Delaware and Maryland Rail Road Company
The Wilmington and Susquehanna Railroad Company
formed by merger April 18, 1836
merged February 12, 1838
Succeeded by
Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company

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