Gettysburg Railroad

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1839 map of the railway line planned by a different Gettysburg Railroad Company chartered in 1838 (funds were discontinued in 1839 and tracks were never laid). The proposed western terminus at Big Spring, Maryland had an interchange with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.
For the similarly-named north-south railway lines, see Gettysburg Railroad (1976-1996) and Gettysburg Railway (1996-2001).

The Gettysburg Railroad was a railway line in Pennsylvania that operated from 1858-1870 over the 17 mile (27 km) main line from the terminus in Gettysburg to the 1849 Hanover Junction. After becoming the Susquehanna, Gettysburg & Potomac Railway line in 1870, the tracks between Gettysburg and Hanover Junction became part of the Hanover Junction, Hanover and Gettysburg Railroad in 1874, the Baltimore and Harrisburg Railway in 1886, and the Western Maryland Railway in 1917.


For the connecting east-west tracks between Hanover Junction and Hanover, Pennsylvania, see Hanover Branch Railroad.

On March 4, 1851, Robert McCurdy, Josiah Benner, and Henry Myers secured a charter for the Gettysburg Railroad Company.[1] The groundbreaking was on February 22, 1856;[1] the 1st mortgage was issued in 1857,[2] and the railroad opened between Hanover Junction[3] and New Oxford on January 6, 1858[4] (the first passenger train had entered Adams County on September 14, 1857.)[1] After construction commenced from New Oxford on June 24, 1858,[4] a locomotive first entered the Gettysburg borough on November 29.[1] Service from Goulden's Station had begun by September 27,[1] the line was "completed" at Gettysburg on December 1, 1858, with operations over the Gettysburg Railroad Company tracks managed from that date by the Hanover Branch RR until June 12, 1859.[5] The last spike was driven at Gettysburg on December 16, 1858 (12:30 a.m.); and that day at Hanover, company representatives met an official "party of Baltimoreans" with the Blues Band from Calvert railway station. The group arrived at Gettysburg at 3 p.m. where a reception was held at "a large and recently furnished building near the depot".[6] The Gettysburg Railroad Station contracted in the fall[7] opened in May 1859 after the railroad had been the site of a New Oxford riot at the end of December 1858.[8]

Civil War[edit]

The Gettysburg Railroad Station of the Gettysburg Railroad was used as an 1863 Battle of Gettysburg hospital.

On June 27 prior to the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, the line at Gettysburg was disabled when the nearby Rock Creek bridge was demolished by Confederate forces. On November 18, 1863, President Lincoln used the line to attend the consecration of the Soldiers' National Cemetery where he delivered the Gettysburg Address.[9] In 1869, Robert McCurdy was the railway line's superintendent[2] after being elected company president in 1853 and 1860.[3]

Successor lines[edit]

In December 1870,[4] the Susquehanna, Gettysburg & Potomac Railway company purchased the Gettysburg Railway Company's trackage to Hanover Junction, 2 steam locomotives, 1 passenger car, and 2 freight cars.[10][11] The railway line between Gettysburg and Hanover Junction became part of the Hanover Junction, Hanover and Gettysburg Railroad in 1874, the Baltimore and Harrisburg Railway in 1886, and the Western Maryland Railway in 1917.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Bennett, Gerald (2006) [1999]. The Gettysburg Railroad Station: A Brief History. Gettysburg Railroad Station Restoration Project. pp. 4–6. 
  2. ^ Poor, Henry V (1860). "Gettysburg Railroad". History of the Railroads and Canals of the United States (Google Books). New York: John H. Schultz and Co. Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
  3. ^ Shaffer, Roger E. "The Hanover Branch Railroad (The Old Branch)". Retrieved 2011-05-09. 
  4. ^ a b Baer, Christopher T. "PRR Chronology, 1858." Excerpted from "A General Chronology of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company Predecessors and Successors and Its Historical Context." Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society. Accessed 2009-06-21.
  5. ^ Pleasants, Earl. "Gettysburg Railroad". RR Search (database query results). Wauwatosa, Wisconsin postal area: 
  6. ^ "Opening of the Gettysburg Railroad" (Google News Archives). American and Commercial Advertiser -- reporting the Baltimore American story. December 18, 1858. Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
  7. ^ "Railroad Report: To The Stockholders Of The Gettysburg Railroad Company" (Google News Archives). The Adams Sentinel. Retrieved 2011-05-10. The Grading and Bridging of the road was completed by Messrs Irwin & Taylor … During the fall a contract was concluded with Messrs. Warner of Gettysburg for the erection of an Engine-house, a Freight-House and a Passenger station at Gettysburg. … ground from Messrs. 'Doersom & Codori [for the houses] and from Geo. W. McClellan, for the passenger station on the Corner of Carlisle and Railroad street 
  8. ^ "Riot on a Railroad" (Google search synopsis). The Sun (Baltimore). January 1, 1859. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  9. ^ Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. "The Gettysburg Address (Library of Congress Exhibition)." 2005-07-06.
  10. ^ Poor's Manual of Railroads of the United States: 1874–75 ( transcript). H.V. and H.W. Poor Co. Retrieved accessdate tbd.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  11. ^ 1885 edition ( transcript). Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  • Cook, Roger; Zimmermann, Karl (1992). The Western Maryland Railway: Fireballs and Black Diamonds (2nd ed.). Laurys Station, Pennsylvania: Garrigues House. ISBN 0-9620844-4-1. [citation needed]