A Chicago Hub Railroad of the 1930's - 1940's
The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad

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The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) was one of the oldest railroads in the United States, with an original line from the port of Baltimore, Maryland, west to the Ohio River at Wheeling and Parkersburg, West Virginia. It is now part of the CSX network, and includes the oldest operational railroad bridge in the world. The B&O also included the Leiper Railroad, the first permanent railroad in the U.S. In later years, B&O advertising carried the motto: "Linking 13 Great States with the Nations Capital."
At the height of railroading's golden age, the B&O was one of several trunk lines uniting the northeast quadrant of the United States into an industrial zone. It marked the southern border and corresponded to the New York Central's marking of the northern border. The Pennsylvania Railroad controlled the center and smaller roads like the Lackawanna, Lehigh Valley, and the Erie survived largely through the Interstate Commerce Commission. The corners of this map are Baltimore in the southeast, Boston in the northeast, Chicago in the northwest, and St. Louis in the southwest. (wik)
The Baltimore and Ohio and the Pennsylvania provided excellent service with Luxury trains from Chicago and St, Louis to Washington D.C. in the 30's and 40's. The B&O getting the time nod with its Capitol Limited, from Chicago, on a much shorter route. Both the B&O and the Pennsy had very similar offerings however. The chart below will show the lineup.
During the 30's & 40's the B&O. controlled the Alton , however the Alton operated independently. You can see the similarity in their timetables shown here

Baltimore and Ohio
June 30, 1940


History of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad

1827 - Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road chartered to build from Baltimore to Ohio River
1828-1830 Construction to Ellicott Mills (Ellicott City)
1831 - Charter to build branch to Washington D.C.
1835 - Branch to Washington D.C. completed
1837 Completed to and across Potomac at Harpers Ferry
1842 - To Cumberland, Virginia (West Virginia)
1853 - Wheeling, Virginia (West Virginia) on Ohio River
1861-1864 - Many train raids during Civil War
1866 - New lines to Washington shorten main line
1866 - B&O through many acquisitions and leases moves westward and northward
1866 - B&O leases Central Ohio Railroad
1871 - Bridge over Ohio River connected B&O with Central Ohio providing direct connection through to Columbus Ohio via the B&O Southwest.
1871 - Lease of Pittsburgh & Connellsville gives entry to Pittsburgh
1877 - Rioting in Baltimore, many killed, Riots in Pittsburgh
1879-1890 - Leases bring B&OSW to Cincinnati
1893 - Lease brings B&OSW to St. Louis
1900 - B&O consolidates leased roads into B&O System.
1902 - Pittsburgh and Western Railroad forms B&O lines west from Pittsburgh
1903 - Pennsy takes control of B&O and updates the line with better track, easier curves, new (stone) bridges and improved locomotives.
1909 - Entry into Cleveland
1910 - B&OCT organized in Chicago area
1927 - Springfield Illinois
1931 - Alton purchased but run independently
1932 - Line into New York
1935 - B&O receives one of first box cab EMC diesels out of GE Erie plant for use on east coast. Later transferred to Alton for it's "Abraham Lincoln".
1937-38 - B&O receives EMD EA/EB, La Grange built, locomotives for the "Capitol Limited".
1947 - Alton now part of Gulf Mobile and Ohio.
1955 - B&O still using 2-10-2 steam helpers on Sand Patch grade.
1958 - B&O completely dieselized.
1963 - C&O takes control of B&O.
1973 - B&O and Western Maryland merged into Chessie System.
1980 - Chessie and Seaboard System become CSX.
1986 - B&O out of existence with full merger into CSX.

B&O Map

Chicago to Washington D.C.
The Baltimore and Ohio and the Pennsylvania ran competitive trains from Chicago to Washington D.C. The B&O's luxury train, the Capitol Limited had the best time, with the Pennsylvania's Liberty Limited just slightly behind. Both trains were very well appointed. The B&O had the shorter route to Washington, while both roads had to climb the Allegheny Mountains. However, the Pennsylvania ran more trains to Washington than the B&O with very competitive schedules. The C&O was an also ran to Washington using NYC trackage Chicago to Cincinnati.

Baltimore & Ohio 772.6
6 - Capitol Limited 15:50
10 - Shenandoah 17:00
8 - Fort Pitt 17:45
14 - New York Express 19:10
32-16-528 22:28
Pennsylvania 836
58 - Liberty Limited 16:20
78 - Pennsylvanian 16:50
76 - Trail Blazer 17:05
22-50 - Manhattan Lim./Statesman 19:10
2 - Pennsylvania Limited 19:45
62-72 - Golden Triangle/Juniata 20:40
44-24 - Pittsburgh Express/Day Express 21:40
118-18 - Mail 27:05
Chesapeake & Ohio (NYC Chicago to Cincinnati)
2-22-42 - George Washington 21:30
4-24-46 - The Sportsman 22:00

Baltimore and Ohio Train Speeds - Chicago to East - 1940
You could look long and hard for a 60+ start-stop run on the B&O back in 1940. We did find two on the Capitol Limited (Chicago to Washington D.C.). The B&O had a shorter run than the competition and didn't hurry to increase its advantage.
Train#From CityTo CityMilesMin.mph
Capital Limited 6 Gary La Paz 55.2 53 62,5
Capitol Limited 6 Garrett Fostoria 91.2 91 60.1

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- April 1940
Classic Trains-Summer 2006-Kalmbach Publishing Co.
Classic Trains-Winter 2007-Kalmbach Publishing Co.
Diesel Victory-Kalmbach Publishing Co.

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Richard Parks


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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, April23, 2009