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Richmond Railroads - 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.[1] 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&Os 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&Os 17th Street Yard. The Piedmont Sub originated here.

The C&Os 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.

Fulton Yard

The C&Os 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 machine shop.

By the mid-1970s, 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

File:Main Street Station.jpg

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-1970s, the C&Os interchange traffic with the Seaboard Coast Line was handled through 17th Street Yard.

The Triple Crossing

Circa 1950s 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 of Virginia)

Circa early 1900's.,postcard image.


Old Train map from web research.


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