Washington Terminal Company

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Rail yard immediately north of Union Station in the early 20th century

The Washington Terminal Company (reporting mark WATC) is a corporation created in Washington, D.C., United States, to provide support to railroads using Washington's Union Station. It is now a nearly wholly owned subsidiary of Amtrak.

It was established in 1901 by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad-controlled Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad.[1]

The Washington Terminal Company owned and operated Union Station (opened in 1907) and about 5 miles (8.0 km) of track in the Washington area, providing switching services for passenger trains using the station or passing through the area:

Union Station in the early 20th century

In 1981, Amtrak took over the terminal company's operations.[2] It currently owns a 99.7% interest in WTC, with the balance held by Amtrak employees. All of WTC's officers are Amtrak employees, as are most of its directors.[3] Through WTC, Amtrak presently shares ownership of Union Station with the United States Department of Transportation. While the DOT owns the station building itself and the surrounding parking lots, WTC owns the platforms and tracks.[4]

Despite being nearly wholly owned by Amtrak, the Washington Terminal Company is legally a separate entity, and unlike Amtrak, it is not exempt from the Interstate Commerce Act. This allowed Virginia Railway Express to threaten a filing to the Surface Transportation Board to enforce its right to access when Amtrak tried to oust VRE from Union Station after VRE said they would not automatically re-hire Amtrak as its operating contractor. Faced with this action, Amtrak backed down.[when?][citation needed]

Locomotive roster[edit]

Model[5] Road number
ALCO RS-1 40
44, 45
EMD GP7 80
EMD SW1 738
EMD SW1200m 794

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tindall, William (1914). Standard History of the City of Washington. Knoxville, TN: H.W. Crew. p. 418. Retrieved 2009-09-16.
  2. ^ Amtrak (2007)."Nation’s Capital Marks 100 Years of Train Service." Amtrak Ink (newsletter). October 2007. p.3.
  3. ^ "SEC Info – A/P I Deposit Corp · S-3 · On 1/11/02".
  4. ^ "Washington – Union Station, DC (WAS)". the Great American Stations. Amtrak. 2016.
  5. ^ "Washington Terminal Railroad".