Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad
Map of the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad
Broad Street Station, Philadelphia housed the headquarters offices of the PB&W until 1930.
|Locale||Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C.|
|Dates of operation||1902–1976|
|Predecessor||Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad
Baltimore and Potomac Railroad
Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad
Conrail system (freight)
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Electrification||12 kV 25 Hz|
|Length||717 miles / 1,154 km
|Headquarters||Philadelphia (Broad Street Station)|
The Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad (PB&W) was a railroad that operated in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and the District of Columbia in the 20th century, and was a key component of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) system. Its 131-mile (211 km) main line ran from Philadelphia to Washington.:228 The PB&W main line is now part of the Northeast Corridor, owned by Amtrak.
The railroad was formed in 1902 when the Pennsylvania Railroad merged two of its southern subsidiaries, the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad and the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad.:226
The PB&W acquired six railroad companies:
- 1906: South Chester Railroad
- 1913: Baltimore and Sparrow's Point Railroad, which provided freight service to Bethlehem Steel Corporation's Sparrows Point steel mill
- 1916: Philadelphia and Baltimore Central Railroad
- 1916: Columbia and Port Deposit Railway
- 1916: Elkton and Middletown Railroad
- 1956: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad (Pan Handle Route)
In 1928, the PRR began to electrify the main line between New York City and Washington, D.C. using overhead lines. Electrification of the PB&W portion was completed in 1935. Amtrak still uses the 25Hz traction power system.
In 1968, the Pennsylvania Railroad and its longtime rival New York Central Railroad merged to form the Penn Central Railroad. The PB&W remained a separate legal entity, although controlled and operated by the new company. The Penn Central declared bankruptcy in 1970 but continued to operate trains until 1976, when the company's railroad assets were sold under the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act. Under the new law, Congress authorized the sale of the PB&W right-of-way between Philadelphia and Washington, and related assets (such as the Washington Terminal Company), to Amtrak. Other PB&W assets, including almost all of the PCC&StL (Pan Handle), were sold to the new Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail).:122 
In popular culture
- Flip Wilson's "Ugly Baby" (1965) routine is set on the Pennsylvania Railroad, outbound from Baltimore.
- List of defunct Pennsylvania railroads
- List of Delaware railroads
- List of defunct Maryland railroads
- List of Washington, D.C. railroads
- Poors Intermediate Manual of Railroads. New York: Poor's Manual Co. 1917.
- Tindall, William (1914). Standard History of the City of Washington. Knoxville, TN: H.W. Crew. p. 418. Retrieved 2009-09-16.
- "Electrification History to 1948". Pennsylvania Railroad Electrification. www.railsandtrails.com. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- Schafer, Mike; Solomon, Brian (1997). Pennsylvania Railroad. Osceola, WI: MotorBooks International. ISBN 978-0-7603-0379-5. OCLC 36676055.
- "Penn Central Railroad." Accessed 2010-05-23.
- Wilson, Flip (1965). "Ugly Baby". Johnny Carson Show.
- Pompilio, Natalie. "Legends and Legacies: Flip Wilson". Legacy.com. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
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