Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad
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RF&P freight train in 1969
|Dates of operation||1836–1991|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad (reporting mark RFP) was a railroad connecting Richmond, Virginia, to Washington, D.C. The track is now the RF&P Subdivision of the CSX Transportation system; the original corporation is no longer a railroad company.
The RF&P was a bridge line, with a slogan of "Linking North & South," on a system that stretched about 113 miles. Until around 1965, RF&P originated less than 5% of its freight tonnage, probably less than any other Class I railroad. For much of its existence, the RF&P connected with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and Seaboard Air Line Railroad at Richmond. At Alexandria and through trackage rights to Union Station in Washington, D.C., connections were made with the Pennsylvania Railroad, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the Southern Railway. It connected to the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad at Potomac Yard and interchanged with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway at Doswell. It and the former Conrail properties are the only CSX lines to have cab signal requirements on their entire system.
The Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad was chartered on February 25, 1834, to run from Richmond north via Fredericksburg to the Potomac River. It opened from Richmond to Hazel Run in 1836, to Fredericksburg on January 23, 1837, and the rest of the way to the Potomac River at Aquia Creek on September 30, 1842. Steamboat service to Washington, D.C., and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was provided by the Washington and Fredericksburg Steamboat Company, later renamed the Potomac Steamboat Company, controlled by the railroad after 1845.
Badly damaged during the Civil War, on October 11, 1870, an extension to the north toward Quantico was authorized at a special meeting of the company's stockholders. The company's charter limited this branch to 10 miles, leaving it 1.7 miles short of the Alexandria and Fredericksburg Railroad. This split from the existing line at Brooke and ran north to Quantico, also on the Potomac. The old line to the Aquia Creek wharf was abandoned on the opening of the Quantico wharf on May 1, 1872.
On the other end of the line, the Alexandria and Washington Railroad was chartered on February 27, 1854, to build from the south end of the Long Bridge over the Potomac River south to Alexandria. That line opened in 1857. The railroad went bankrupt and was sold July 9, 1887, being reorganized November 23, 1887, as the Alexandria and Washington Railway. In 1873 the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad's branch over the Long Bridge opened, giving a route into Washington, D.C., over which the A&W obtained trackage rights.
The Alexandria and Fredericksburg Railway was chartered February 3, 1864, to continue the line from Alexandria to Fredericksburg. It opened on July 2, 1872, only reaching Quantico, the north end of the RF&P. At Quantico the 1.7-mile (2.7 km) Potomac Railroad, chartered April 21, 1867, and opened May 1, 1872, connected the two lines. It was leased to the RF&P for 28 years from May 17, 1877. On March 31, 1890, the two companies terminating in Alexandria merged to form the Washington Southern Railway. Until November 1, 1901, it was operated by the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad and its successor the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad (part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system). The Potomac Railroad lease was transferred to the Washington Southern on June 30, 1904. On February 24, 1920, the Washington Southern was formally merged into the RF&P.
The Richmond-Washington Company was incorporated September 5, 1901, as a holding company, owning the entire capital stock of the two railroads. The stock of the company was owned equally by the Pennsylvania Railroad, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, Southern Railway, Seaboard Air Line Railway and Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. Four of these companies (B&O, ACL, SAL, C&O) have since become part of CSX. The Southern Railway is now part of Norfolk Southern and does not use the former RF&P; the former Pennsylvania Railroad, in its later incarnation as Conrail, has been split between CSX and Norfolk Southern with most of PRR's routes becoming part of Norfolk Southern. However, the portion of the former PRR that connected to the very north of the RF&P's former Potomac Yard, across the Long Bridge and into Washington DC, became part of CSX following the takeover of Conrail by NS and CSX. The RF&P company became Commonwealth Atlantic Land V Inc., and a new corporation, named the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railway Company, was formed on October 9, 1991.
On December 31, 1925, RF&P operated 118 miles of road and 432 miles of track; on December 31, 1970, mileages were 118 and 518.
|John A. Lancaster||1834–1836|
|Joseph M. Sheppard||1836–1840|
|Peter V. Daniel, Jr.||1860–1871|
|John M. Robinson||1871–1878|
|Joseph P. Brinton||1881–1889|
|E. D. T. Myers||1889–1905|
|William J. Leake||1905–1907|
|Eppa Hunton, Jr.||1920–1932|
|William T. Rice||1955-1957|
|Wirt P. Marks, Jr.||1957–1960|
|John J. Newbauer, Jr.||1981–1985|
|Richard L. Beadles||1985–1986|
|Frank A. Crovo, Jr.||1986–1991|
As the link between "North and South" the RF&P primarily hosted the trains of other railroads, particularly those on the lucrative New York–Florida run. In March 1950 this included the East Coast Champion, West Coast Champion, Miamian, Palmland, Silver Star, Silver Comet, Orange Blossom Special, Silver Meteor, Vacationer, Havana Special, Palmetto, Florida Special, Cotton Blossom, Sunland, and Everglades.
The RF&P operated comparatively few trains of its own. One was the Old Dominion, a streamliner inaugurated in 1947 between Washington and Richmond. This train used four 70-seat coaches and a cafe-parlor car, all built by American Car and Foundry.
- Richmond Connection
The Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac and Richmond and Petersburg Railroad Connection was chartered March 3, 1866, and opened May 1, 1867, as a connection between the RF&P and the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad (later part of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad) west of downtown Richmond. It was operated jointly by those two companies. In addition, a downtown connection was owned by the R&P past Broad Street Station.
The Louisa Railroad was chartered in 1836, running from the RF&P at Doswell west to Louisa. At first it was operated as a branch of the RF&P, but it was reorganized as the Virginia Central Railroad in 1850 and merged into the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad in 1868 as its oldest predecessor.
In 1896, the Washington Southern Railway opened a 1.13 miles (1.82 km) branch that connected the south end of the Long Bridge in Jackson City to the south end of the Aqueduct Bridge in Rosslyn. The Railway built much of the branch within the grade of the old disused Alexandria Canal.[better source needed]
In 1904, the Rosslyn Connecting Railroad, which the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad controlled, acquired the branch on the same day (February 29) that the railroad was incorporated in accordance with Virginia law. The Rosslyn Connecting Railroad abandoned nearly all of its line in 1962 and closed in 1969 after operating for 65 years.
In 1977, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority opened a surface-level section of Metrorail's Blue Line that replaced most of the section of the Rosslyn Connecting Railroad's line that had traveled within the Alexandria Canal's grade. The section of the Blue Line parallels Virginia State Route 110 where passing Arlington National Cemetery.
- Griffin, Jr. (1994), p. 2-3.
- Virginia State Corporation Commission, Commonwealth Atlantic Land V Inc. (formerly Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad Company); accessed 2018.02.15.
- Griffin, Jr. (1994), p. 4-5.
- Griffin, Jr. (1994), p. 6.
- Griffin, Jr. (1994), p. 7.
- Virginia State Corporation Commission, Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railway Company; accessed 2018.02.15.
- Griffin, Jr. (1994), p. 21.
- "The Jackson Shrine Along the RF&P". Bull Sheet Monthly News. October 1993. Archived from the original on 2007-11-07. Retrieved 2008-04-15.
- "William Thomas Rice Obituary Prepared by his Family". CSX Transportation. 2006-02-06. Retrieved 2008-04-15.
- "The Academy of Engineering Excellence" (PDF). Virginia Tech College of Engineering. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2008-04-15.
- Official Guide of the Railways. New York: National Railway Publication Co. March 1950. pp. 595–597. OCLC 6340864.
- Wayner, Robert J., ed. (1972). Car Names, Numbers and Consists. New York: Wayner Publications. p. 73. OCLC 8848690.
- (1) Wilson, William Bender (1899). History of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company: with Plan of Organization, Portraits of Officials and Biographical Sketches. 1. Philadelphia: Henry T. Coates & Co. p. 332. OCLC 671596804. Retrieved June 27, 2017 – via Google Books.
The Washington Southern Railway extends from the junction of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad at the south end of the Long Bridge, opposite Washington, D. C., to Quantico, Virginia, a distance of 32.12 miles. It has three branches — .... ; and the Rosslyn branch from the south end of the Long Bridge to the south end of the Aqueduct at the village of Rosslyn, Va., opposite Georgetown, D. C., a distance of 1.13 miles. This latter branch was opened for business April 2, 1896.
- (1) 1900 map showing the Washington Southern Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad (formerly the Washington Southern Railway) within the grade of the "Old Alexandria Canal", inside the "Arlington Reservation", between the Potomac River and the "National Cemetery": "Map of Alexandria County, Virginia for the Virginia Title Co". Alexandria, Virginia: The Company. 1900. Retrieved October 7, 2019 – via Library of Congress website.
(2) The Commission (1926). "Valuation Docket No. 160: Rosslyn Connecting Railroad Company: Appendix 1". Interstate Commerce Commission Reports: Decisions of the Interstate Commerce Commission of the United States (Valuation Reports): October 1925 — February 1926. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. 106: 678. ISSN 0083-1530. OCLC 6392128. Retrieved October 26, 2019 – via HathiTrust Digital Library.
The grading is rather light. The most of the line follows along the route of an old disused canal and in constructing the roadbed the carrier used the canal grading as far as possible.
- CSXvet (July 26, 2003). "Re: W&OD Railroad - Adjacent to Pentagon?". Nostalgia & History > W&OD Railroad. Trainorders.com. Retrieved July 1, 2017 – via Digicert.com.
The railroad that ran past the Pentagon was the onetime Pennsylvania RR Rosslyn branch. This branch left the mainline at RO (for Rosslyn) tower at the south end of the bridge over the Potomac and basically followed the Potomac northwest to Rosslyn. Part of it was built on the bed of the old canal that connected Alexandria with the C&O Canal in Georgetown.
- (1) The Commission (1926). "Valuation Docket No. 160: Rosslyn Connecting Railroad Company: Order". Interstate Commerce Commission Reports: Decisions of the Interstate Commerce Commission of the United States (Valuation Reports): October 1925 — February 1926. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. 106: 764. ISSN 0083-1530. OCLC 6392128. Retrieved October 26, 2019 – via HathiTrust Digital Library.
—Corporate history.— The carrier was incorporated February 29, 1904, under the general laws of Virginia, with authority to acquire, maintain, and operate a railroad between Rosslyn and Jackson City, Va. Its organization was perfected on the same date. The mileage owned was acquired by purchase. The carrier is controlled by the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad, through ownership of the entire stock, except qualifying shares. Its principal office is at Alexandria, Va.
(2) "Certificate: Rosslyn Connecting Railroad Company - Virginia 1944". Scripophily.com. Archived from the original on June 28, 2017. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
Continuing south in Virginia was the Alexandria and Washington Railroad, opened in 1857. The Baltimore and Potomac acquired this line after reaching it, operating it until 1901, when the Washington Southern Railway (the successor of the Alexandria and Washington) was taken over by the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad, an independent bridge line owned equally by the PRR and five other railroads. Soon after, in 1904, the line from the Long Bridge to Rosslyn, built by the Washington Southern, was split off into the Rosslyn Connecting Railroad, owned by the PRR.
- (1) "Rosslyn Connecting". Traffic World. Washington, D.C.: Traffic Service Corporation. 110: 95. 1962. ISSN 0041-073X. OCLC 1767684. Retrieved July 3, 2017 – via Google Books.
The Commission .... has authorized the carrier to abandon a portion of line extending from valuation point 26 plus 49 near the Pentagon to ....
(2) The Commission (1969). "Finance Docket No. 21989: Pennsylvania Railroad Company — Merger — New York Central Railroad Company: Appendix B-5: 6. Rosslyn Connecting Railroad Company". Interstate Commerce Commission Reports: Decisions of the Interstate Commerce Commission of the United States (Finance Reports): March 1966 — April 1966. United States Government Printing Office. 327: 959. ISSN 0083-1530. OCLC 1768456. Retrieved October 26, 2019 – via Google Books.
Rosslyn Connecting Railroad Company. — A class II railroad operating 2.69 miles of road from south of Potomac Bridge to Rosslyn, Va. This road abandoned 2.3 miles of road in 1962. It is wholly owned by the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad Company, a subsidiary of P.R.R.
(3) "Rosslyn Connecting Railroad Memorabilia Value Guide". Railroad Collectables. Dale@RailroadCollectibles.com. 2014. Archived from the original on July 1, 2017. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
The Rosslyn Connecting Railroad started operations in 1904 and stopped service in 1969 for a total period of operations of 65 years.
- (1) Feaver, Douglas B. (July 1, 1977). "Today, Metro could be U.S. model". The Washington Post. p. A1. Archived from the original on July 1, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
With the opening today of its 12-mile-long Blue Line from National Airport to RFK Stadium, Washington's Metro subway grows from a downtown demonstration line into the spine of a regional transportation system that could rival the Capital Beltway in its effect on Washington.
(2) "Metro History" (PDF). Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 1, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
- (1) Frank IBC (July 26, 2014). "Comments". The Metro plan has changed a lot since 1968. Greater Greater Washington. Archived from the original on June 28, 2017. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
There used to be a rail line from Rosslyn to the Long Bridge, but that was replaced by the Blue Line.
(2) 1942 map showing the Rosslyn Connecting Railroad, the planned route of Virginia State Route 110 (below the railroad), The Pentagon building and Arlington National Cemetery: "Plate 22". Plat Book of Arlington County, Virginia. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Franklin Survey Company. 1943. Retrieved October 25, 2019 – via Historic Map Works, LLC. Residential Genealogy.
(3) Maps and images of the area near the former route of the Rosslyn Connecting Railroad at the Arlington Cemetery Station of Metrorail's Blue Line (Coordinates: )
- Griffin, Jr., Dr. William E. (1994). Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad : The Capital Cities Route. Lynchburg, Va.: TLC Publications. ISBN 9781883089122. OCLC 32064855.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad.|
- Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad Historical Society, Inc.
- Pictures and information on the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad
- Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac (TrainWeb)
- Railroad History Database
- Corporate Genealogy - Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac
- Corporate Genealogy - Washington Southern
- Mileposts from CSX Transportation Timetables