A Chicago Hub Railroad of the 1930's - 1940's
The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway

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The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) was a Class I railroad formed in 1869 in Virginia from many smaller railroads begun in the 19th century. Tapping the coal reserves of West Virginia, it formed the basis for the City of Newport News and the coal piers on Hampton Roads, and forged a rail link to the Midwest, eventually reaching Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo in Ohio and Chicago, Illinois. (wik)
The C&O was a strong line. Despite the fact that in the early 1930s over 50% of American railroads went into receivership, it not only avoided bankruptcy, but took the occasion of cheap labor and materials to again completely rebuild itself. During the hard economic times when it seemed the whole country was retrenching, C&O was boring new tunnels, adding double track, rebuilding bridges, upgrading the weight of its rail, and rebuilding its roadbed, all with money from its principal commodity of haulage: coal. Even during the Great Depression, coal was something that had to be used everywhere, and C&O was sitting astride some of the best bituminous seams in the country. Because of this great upgrading and building program, C&O was in prime condition to carry the monumental loads needed during World War II. During the War it transported men and material in unimagined quantities as the U. S. used the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation as a principal departure point for the European Theater. The invasion of North Africa was loaded there. Of course, in addition to fueling the ships of the U.S. Navy and the merchant marine, coal was also needed in ever increasing quantities by war industries. C&O was ready with a powerful, well organized, well maintained railway powered by the largest and most modern locomotives.(wik)
Although the C&O reached Chicago, and provided through service to east coast cities, it did not use its own rails from Chicago to Cincinnati for it's through passenger trains, the George Washington and the Sportsman. It ran on Big Four tracks to Cincinnati. It did have a local train to Cincinnati on it's own rails however.(rp)

Chesapeke & Ohio
Chesapeake & Ohio
February 27, 1938

Apr-Oct 1963

Short History of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway
The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway was the sum of about 150 smaller railroads brought into the system over time.
1836 - Louisa Railroad, Louisa County Virginia chartered.
1850 - Built east to Richmond and west to Charlottesville, Virginia, and renamed Virginia Central.
1850-1861 - Smaller roads work toward Blue Ridge Mountain crossings from both east and west
. 1861 - Work stopped due to Civil War
1861-1865 - Much devastation during the war
After 1865 - Collis P. Huntington arranges financing
1869 - Allegheny Mountains crossed to White Sulfur Springs
1869-1873 - Construction from both east and west completed link to Huntington West Virginia at the Ohio River
after 1873 Huntington interests stopped financing
1878 - Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company formed after receivership
1878-1888 - Coal resources tapped and C&O extends to Newport News piers for water shipment, primarily to the northeast
1888 - Beginning of Morgan and Vanderbilt control of C&O
1888 - Rails completed to Cincinnati and connection to Big Four (CCC&StL) and other Midwestern railroads
1889 - Lower level route from Clifton Forge to Richmond avoids mountain gradient
1900-1920 - C&O builds lines into coal fields in Kentucky and West Virginia
1910 - Merged Chicago Cincinnati and Louisville Railroad completing line to Hammond and Chicago hub
1910 - C&O obtains haulage rights to Columbus and through the Hocking Valley reaches Port of Toledo Ohio
1917-1926 - Unsatisfactory haulage agreement with N&W caused C&O to build line from its main on the Ohio River to the Hocking Valley south of Columbus to insure its connection to Toledo
post 1923 - C&O gains controlling interest in Pere Marquette and better access to auto industry.
1930 - Hocking Valley merged into C&O.
1947 - Pere Marquette merged into C&O.
1972 - C&O becomes part of Chessie System which includes the Baltimore and Ohio, and the Western Maryland.
1980 - Chessie and Seaboard Coast Line combine as CSX Corporation.
1987 - CSX merges all railroad subsidiaries into CSX Transportation, one of seven class 1 railroads operating in North America at beginning of 21st Century. C&O loses its separate identity.

CSX genealogy

Chesapeke & Ohio
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and Connections - 1938

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- April 1940
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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, April 25, 2009