- Chesapeake & Ohio
The Chesapeake and Ohio
Railway (reporting marks C&O, CO) was a Class I railroad
formed in 1869 in Virginia from several smaller Virginia
railroads begun in the 19th century. Led by industrialist
Collis P. Huntington, it reached from Virginia's capital
city of Richmond to the Ohio River by 1873, where the
railroad town (and later city) of Huntington, West Virginia
was named for him.
Tapping the coal reserves of West Virginia, the C&O's
Peninsula Extension to new coal piers on the harbor of
Hampton Roads resulted in the creation of the new City of
Newport News. Coal revenues also led the forging of a rail
link to the Midwest, eventually reaching Columbus,
Cincinnati and Toledo in Ohio and Chicago, Illinois.
By the early 1960s, the C&O was headquartered in Cleveland,
Ohio, USA. In 1972, under the leadership of Cyrus Eaton, it
became part of the Chessie System, along with the Baltimore
and Ohio and Western Maryland Railway. The Chessie System
was later combined with the Seaboard Coast Line and
Louisville and Nashville, both the primary components of the
Family Lines System, to become a key portion of CSX
Transportation (CSXT) in the 1980s. A substantial portion
of Conrail was added in 1999.
C&O's passenger services ended sometime in 1971 when Amtrak
started. Today, Amtrak's tri-weekly Cardinal passenger train
continue to follow the historic and scenic route of the C&O
through the New River Gorge in one of the more rugged
sections of the Mountain State. The rails of the former C&O
also continue to transport freight.
The eastern end of the Piedmont Sub was in the
Virginia state capital of Richmond. To the south and east of
the city, the Peninsula Sub terminated in Fulton Yard, the
largest railroad yard in Richmond. From Fulton, trains
traversed the James River Viaduct. From the Viaduct they
could either continue west to Clifton Forge via the James
River Line or turn north to the C&O’s Main Street
Station. Main Street Station served both C&O and
Seaboard Air Line trains. After leaving the station, trains
returned to ground level and entered the C&O’s 17th
Street Yard. The Piedmont Sub originated here.
The C&O’s main offices are located in
Richmond VA. They reportedly burned down in January of 1900.
During the Civil War, the Virginia Central moved its offices
to Charlottesville to avoid Northern military aggression.
The C&O’s Fulton Yard was
reportedly built sometime after
1896. The original plans called for a larger facility
to be built, however Fulton did become the largest
rail yard in Richmond. Fulton was a long curved yard with
approximately 35 tracks and served the Peninsula Subdivision
and the James River Line.
The engine facilities included a 26
bay roundhouse, constructed in three phases. The first
construction phase was in 1900 and
to provide 8 stalls that were 120' deep. In 1920, the second
phase provided an additional 8 stalls. The third phase, came in 1930,
with demolition in 1970. The roundhouse was accompanied by a 100' turntable
later replaced by a 115' version in
1927. Other facilities included a coal elevator and a
By the mid-1970’s, Fulton had 16 tracks on its
east-bound side, with capacities towards 160
cars. The west-bound branches consisted of 10 tracks also
providing capacities towards about 160 cars, at this
time a caboose track was also present.
Main Street Station
Richmond Main Street Station is
a historic railroad station and office building in
Richmond, Virginia, the French Renaissance-style
station was the transportation focal point of Richmond
for about 50 years. Originally built in 1901,with
uppermost sections located adjacent to the James River
Bridge of Interstate 95, it is locally referred to by
some passersby as The Clock Tower. The Main Street
Station and Train-shed is a U.S. National Historic
Landmark. The city of Richmond reached an agreement
with the state to purchase Main Street Station and
restored it to use as a commuter train station and
transportation hub, served by Amtrak, and is planned
in the future to become the northern terminus of the
Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor with Richmond's
city transit bus services, currently performed by GRTC.
17th Street Yard
17th Street Yard ran roughly
north-south. Facilities included a passenger car repair
facility, a paint shop, a 70' turntable and 12-stall
roundhouse, and a stock pen. In the mid-1970’s, the C&O’s
interchange traffic with the Seaboard Coast Line was handled
through 17th Street Yard.
The Triple Crossing
Circa 1950’s postcard image.
Circa late 1800's, postcard image.
Richmond railroad landmark, the Triple Crossing. Three
railroads cross each other at one central location,
nearby the James River. The Southern at ground level,
the Seaboard Airline on the center, the C&O on
the top rails. (All images from postcards, most
are also found in the collection housed at the library
Circa early 1900's.,postcard image.
Old Train map from web research.