Baltimore, Chesapeake and Atlantic Railway

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Baltimore, Chesapeake and Atlantic Railway Company
BC&A MD&V 1906 Map.jpg
1906 Map
Locale Maryland, United States
Dates of operation 1894–1928
Predecessor Baltimore and Eastern Shore Railroad
Wicomico and Pokomoke Railroad
Worcester Railroad
Successor Baltimore and Eastern Railroad Company
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification No
Length 87 miles (140 km)
Headquarters Baltimore, Maryland

The Baltimore Chesapeake and Atlantic railroad, nicknamed Black Cinders & Ashes,[1] ran from Baltimore, Maryland to Ocean City, Maryland consisting of 87 miles (140.0 km) of center-line track and 15.6 miles (25.11 km) of sidings.[2] Chartered in 1886, the railroad started construction in 1889 and cost $2.356 million ($2017=62,800,000).[2]

Originally chartered in 1876 [3] as the Baltimore & Eastern Shore Railroad Company and then reauthorized in 1886, incorporated March 2, 1886.[4][2] The railroad started construction in 1889, completed in December 1, 1890.[2] Also in 1890, the Baltimore & Eastern Shore Railroad Company purchased the Wicomico & Pocomoke Railroad (incorporated in February 15, 1848),[2] consisting of approximately 30 miles of track from Salisbury to Ocean City, Maryland. The latter was chartered to operate from Salisbury to Ocean City, Md., of which the section from Salisbury to Berlin was opened for operation on May 1, 1868, and the section from Berlin to Ocean City, Md., in 1876.[2] The B&ES also operated a ferry from Claiborne to Annapolis, Maryland where connection was made to Baltimore by rail.[5]

The venture was not successful as in August 29, 1894, the B&ES railroad was liquidated in a judicial sale and sold to the re-organizers.[2] The reorganized company, the Baltimore Chesapeake and Atlantic railroad (BC&A) was incorporated on August 30, 1894 with its principal office in Salisbury, Maryland.[2] That same year, the railroad also acquired several steamboat companies; namely the Maryland, Choptank and Eastern Shore Steamboat Companies, all of Baltimore, Md. for $1.7 million in waterline property, wharves and equipment.[2] In 1902, the Pennsylvania railroad became the majority stockholder but the BC&A still operated under its organization.[5][6]
As of 1915, the railroad consisted of a single-track, standard-gage railroad, with distance of about 87 miles, with a branch line about 0.5 mile long extending from Salisbury to Fulton, Md., making a total of 87.252 miles. It also owned 15.582 miles of yard and side tracks.[2] The new, combined operations of the BC&A in railroad and waterlines had been profitable with $0.5 million in profit on a total investment of $4.325 million with a total revenue of $17.8 million for the period of 1894 - 1915 and controlled by the Pennsylvania railroad as majority stockholder.[2] Dividends were paid on $1.5 million par value of 5 per cent cumulative preferred stock but none were paid on the common stock of $1.0 million [2] and none paid on the preferred stock after 1912.[7]
By 1921, the railroad had turned unprofitable due in part to private autos and trucks to the point where in March, 1922, it stopped making payments on its first mortgage. In 1921, the Pennsylvania railroad had to provide financial assistance in order for BC&A to make payments due under its first mortgage. This continued intermittently until 1926 when the Pennsylvania announced it was unwilling to continue this assistance, the following year, the trustee for the first mortgage, Chatham National Bank & Trust Co. of NY filed for foreclosure.[7] The railroad was sold on March 29, 1928 to Charles Carter, representing Pennsylvania railroad interests and reorganized as the Baltimore and Eastern railroad, entirely owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad.
The Baltimore and Eastern railroad survived up through the Penn central bankruptcy and ConRail merger but Conrail planned to abandon the B&E lines. In 1982, the State of Maryland purchased segments of the original Baltimore and Eastern Shore, Baltimore Chesapeake and Atlantic railways and other former PRR properties in Maryland from the Penn Central corporation, successor to the Penn Central Transportation Company.[8]

Claiborne Wharf with BC&A tracks
Baltimore Chesapeake and Atlantic Railroad
to Baltimore
Claiborne
McDaniel
St. Michaels
Royal Oak
Kirkham
Bloomfield
Easton
Choptank River bridge and viaduct
Bethlehem
Preston
Linchester
Hunting Creek bridge and viaduct (Next to Linchester Mill)
Maryland Route 16
Ellwood
Gravel Run creek bridge
Hurlock
Vienna
Nanticoke River bridge and viaduct
Wicomico River bridge and viaduct
Salisbury
Berlin
Sinepuxent Bay bridge and viaduct
Ocean City

Wicomico & Pocomoke Railroad Company (1848-1890)[edit]

Wicomico & Pocomoke Railroad

The railroad was incorporated in February 15, 1848 [2] and reauthorized in 1864 was to connect Salisbury and Berlin, Maryland; 23 miles apart.[9] At the time the railroad was chartered, there were no other railroads to connect with but instead the investors intended a connection with the steamboats on the Wicomico river in Salisbury, Maryland.[9] When the road started construction in 1867, Dr. H. R. Pitts was president of the company [9] and completed in May, 1868.[10] One of the original investors was Col. Lemuel Showell (d. 1902),[11] of Berlin, who later became president.
The railroad started in Salisbury on the Wicomico river and then headed east crossing over the Eastern Shore railroad and then on to Walston's switch,Parsonsburg,Pittsville, Hancock, Whaleyville, St. Martins and finally Berlin.[9] The original 20 mile line was extended in 1871, south 14 miles from Berlin to Snow Hill, Maryland on the Pocomoke river and opened in 1872, this was done under the 1853 charter, revised in 1867, of the Worcester railroad.[9]
During this same period, a Delaware railroad, the Junction and Breakwater railroad (Incorporated in 1856) with a vision of connecting the three states of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia was expanding southward.[9] In 1874, the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore (PWB) railroad obtained a majority stockholder position and that same year completed the expansion south to the Maryland state-line.[9] In 1874, the Junction and Breakwater railroad obtained a charter from the State of Maryland to consolidate a number of railroad companies in the State including the Worcester railroad. [12] This meant purchasing the assets of the Wicomico & Pocomoke Railroad's extension to Snow Hill built under the Worcester railroad which it did in 1874.[9] The newly consolidated railroad, inclusive of the W&P's Snow hill extension would operate in the State of Maryland as the Worcester railroad and would be completed to Franklin city, Virginia in 1876.[9]
The Wicomico & Pocomoke Railroad then used the funds from the 1874 sale of the Snow Hill extension to build another six mile extension in the same year, 1874, towards Hammock Point, just opposite of Ocean City. Passengers were then ferried over to the beaches.[9] Two years later in 1876, the Wicomico & Pocomoke operating as the Ocean City Bridge Company built a toll bridge bridge across Sinepuxent Bay, from Hommock Point to Ocean City, in Worcester county.[13] This remained the only bridge into the City until a new State built auto bridge was completed in 1919.[9]
The Wicomico & Pocomoke Railroad inclusive of its interests in the bridge into Ocean City, operated by its subsidiary, Ocean City Bridge Company, was sold to the newly organized Baltimore & Eastern Shore railroad in 1888.[9][14]

Baltimore & Eastern Shore Railroad Company (1886-1894)[edit]

Originally chartered in 1876 [3] as the Baltimore & Eastern Shore Railroad Company and then reauthorized in 1886, incorporated March 2, 1886.[15][2] The objective of the railroad was to preserve the business connection of Baltimore with the Eastern Shore country, that business has been largely diverted to Philadelphia through the control of the Eastern Shore Railroad by the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad.[16] The railroad was organized by Easton, Maryland businessmen including Theophilus Tunis and Gen. Joseph B. Seth (1845-1927) who at the time was 69th Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates and later President of the State Senate (1906-1908),[17] and others.[18]
The railroad line as located extended from a terminus on the Chesapeake Bay, across the Eastern Shore, through Easton, to Salisbury, Md., where a connection was made with the Wicomico & Pocomoke road at Salisbury. The length of the proposed new road from the bay shore to Salisbury will be 52 miles, and it will make a line running diagonally across the Eastern Shore to Ocean City, 82 miles in length, from the proposed terminus on the bay shore the distance across Chesapeake Bay to Bay Ridge is 12 miles, which will be covered by a ferry, and at Bay Ridge connection will be made with the new Bay Ridge Annapolis road, over which trains will run to both the Annapolis & Baltimore Short Line and the Annapolis & Elk Ridge road.[16] At the same time, the State authorized the railroad the right to "the right to own land and develop resorts, to own steamboats and wharves, and to merge or lease railroads outside of the state."[18] The State authorized several municipalities to guarantee the bonds of up to $500,000 for the project.[18]

Engineering and Construction[edit]

The B&ES started route location between Claiborne and Salisbury and completed location of the route in July 1886.[18] The Railroad's Chief Engineer, William H. Eichelberger estimates the construction cost for the road to be $727,000 ($2017=19,379,000) for the Claiborne-Salisbury segment, including a train ferry for Chesapeake service.[18]
The railroad started construction in 1889, completed in December 1, 1890 as well as purchasing the Wicomico & Pocomoke Railroad [2] The B&ES also operated a ferry from Claiborne to Annapolis, Maryland where connection was made to Baltimore by rail.[5]

Revenue Operations[edit]

The venture was not successful as in August 29, 1894, the B&ES railroad was liquidated in a judicial sale and reorganized as the Baltimore, Chesapeake and Atlantic Railway Company.[2] [14]

Baltimore, Chesapeake and Atlantic Railway Company (1894-1928) letterhead graphic

Baltimore, Chesapeake and Atlantic Railway Company (1894-1928)[edit]

The reorganized company, the Baltimore Chesapeake and Atlantic railroad (BC&A) was incorporated on August 30, 1894 with its principal office in Salisbury, Maryland.[2] That same year, the railroad also acquired several steamboat companies; namely the Maryland, Choptank and Eastern Shore Steamboat Companies, all of Baltimore, Md. for $1.7 million in waterline property, wharves and equipment.[2] In 1902, the Pennsylvania railroad became the majority stockholder but the BC&A still operated under its organization.[5][6]
As of 1915, the railroad consisted of a single-track, standard-gage railroad, with distance of about 87 miles, with a branch line about 0.5 mile long extending from Salisbury to Fulton, Md., making a total of 87.252 miles. It also owned 15.582 miles of yard and side tracks.[2] The new, combined operations of the BC&A in railroad and waterlines had been profitable with $0.5 million in profit on a total investment of $4.325 million with a total revenue of $17.8 million for the period of 1894 - 1915 and controlled by the Pennsylvania railroad as majority stockholder.[2] Dividends were paid on $1.5 million par value of 5 per cent cumulative preferred stock but none were paid on the common stock of $1.0 million [2] and none paid on the preferred stock after 1912.[7]
By 1921, the railroad had turned unprofitable due in part to private autos and trucks to the point where in March, 1922, it stopped making payments on its first mortgage. In 1921, the Pennsylvania railroad had to provide financial assistance in order for BC&A to make payments due under its first mortgage. This continued intermittently until 1926 when the Pennsylvania announced it was unwilling to continue this assistance, the following year, the trustee for the first mortgage, Chatham National Bank & Trust Co. of NY filed for foreclosure.[7] The railroad was sold on March 29, 1928 to Charles Carter, representing Pennsylvania railroad interests and reorganized as the Baltimore and Eastern railroad, entirely owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Baltimore and Eastern Railroad Company (1923-1982)[edit]

The Baltimore and Eastern railroad survived up through the Penn central bankruptcy and ConRail merger but Conrail planned to abandon the B&E lines. In 1982, the State of Maryland purchased segments of the original Baltimore and Eastern Shore, Baltimore Chesapeake and Atlantic railways and other former PRR properties in Maryland were sold by Penn Central corporation, successor to the Penn Central Transportation Company.[8]

Maryland Department of Transportation (1982- )[edit]

The former BC&A segment was transferred to the State of Maryland for use by the Maryland Department of Transportation in 1982 is still owned by the State of Maryland.

Legacy[edit]

Racial segregation and the path to civil rights[edit]

In 1910, the state of Maryland established the Maryland Public Service Commission and granted it power over common carriers.[19] Similar in nature to the federal Interstate Commerce Commission, "...the primary concern of the Maryland Public Service Commission was rate regulation, but it also had power to hear complaints about service." [19] Shortly after its establishment, William Ashbie Hawkins represented several plaintiffs before the Public Service Commission protesting against the segregated conditions both in boats and trains under the Jim Crow law.[19]

  • December 1911, Hawkins filed suit against the Baltimore, Chesapeake and Atlantic Railway for discrimination on its Chesapeake Bay ferryboats, the Avalon and the Joppa.[19] The steamer Avalon and Joppa [20] were sister ships originally built in 1888 for the Maryland Steamboat Company for the Choptank River route.[21] Hawkins alleged several discrimination practices by the railroad, namely forcing blacks to use colored only cabins that were cramped and poorly ventilated, allowing blacks to eat only what food was left after all the whites had eaten and on one trip forcing "...ministers of the African Methodist Episcopal church and their wives who had taken a steamboat to Cambridge for a meeting were forced to sit in a salon all night because there were not enough staterooms available to them." [19]
  • Hawkins again sued BC&A over discrimination. In the case, Thomas Turner, a Baltimore school teacher complained that "...the only compartments in which African Americans could ride were a vestibule to or a partition in the smoking area for white men." [19]

Though Hawkins' various complaints were dismissed, the Public Service Commission did recommend changes such as ordering the BC&A to provide seating (with partitions) in nonsmoking as well as smoking cars to assure greater equality in the future.[19] It would be another four decades until another Marylander, Elmer Henderson, was successful in arguing to the United States Supreme Court in 1950 that "...segregative dining practices on the railroads could not be equal".[22][19]

"Under the rules of an interstate railroad, dining cars are divided so as to allot ten tables exclusively to white passengers and one table exclusively to Negro passengers, and a curtain separates the table reserved for Negroes from the others. Under these rules, only four Negro passengers may be served at one time, and then only at the table reserved for Negroes. Other Negroes who present themselves are compelled to await a vacancy at that table, although there may be many vacancies elsewhere in the diner, the rules impose a like deprivation upon white passengers whenever more than 40 of them seek to be served at the same time and the table reserved for Negroes is vacant."

The court held that these sules violated the Interstate Commerce Act, which makes it unlawful for a railroad in interstate commerce "to subject any particular person . . . to any undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage in any respect whatsoever." Henderson's court victory in integrating interstate travel contributed to Maryland repeal of its railroad segregation laws in 1951.[19] So as Bogen writes, "generations of protesters and lawyers who resisted segregation ... in Maryland played their role in making it possible for a woman in Montgomery, Alabama ...(Rosa Parks)... to change the world." [19]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

W. H. Eichelberger recorded a Plat of Lots for Sale at Wrights Summit, Clinch Valley Railroad, Tazewell Co., Va. 19 x 15 in. [FOLDER C-5], Special Collections, University Libraries (0434), Virginia Tech, 560 Drillfield Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24061. In 1879, the Harrisburg and Potomac railroad Officers have been elected including W Eichelberger, the Railway World, Volume 5, 1879.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Railroad Nicknames collected by the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, Inc., founded in 1921. Accessed on March 19th, 2017 at [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Interstate Commerce Commission reports. decisions of the Interstate Commerce Commission of the United States / reported by the Commission. United States. Washington : U.S. G.P.O. : 1929-1965. [2] Accessed at HaithTrust
  3. ^ a b The Baltimore & Eastern Shore Railroad (B&ES) Company was first duly incorporated under the general incorporation law of Maryland (Acts 1876, p. 385, c. 242)
  4. ^ Acts of the General Assembly of Maryland of 1886, p. 209, c. 133
  5. ^ a b c d Burgess, George Heckman, and Miles Coverdale Kennedy. Centennial History of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, 1846-1946. Pennsylvania Railroad Company, 1949.
  6. ^ a b BALTIMORE, CHES. & ATLANTIC.: Operated Under Own Organization, Wall Street Journal (1889-1922); Jul 8, 1909; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Wall Street Journal pg. 7
  7. ^ a b c d ROAD WOULD DISCONTINUE: Wall Street Journal (1923 - Current file); Dec 3, 1927; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Wall Street Journal, pg. 3
  8. ^ a b Frederick County Land records, folio 1169, page 712
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Hayman, John C. Rails Along the Chesapeake: A History of Railroading on the Delmarva Peninsula, 1827-1978. Marvadel Publishers, 1979.
  10. ^ University of Virginia (July 24, 1931). "E. Shore Railroads Had Dramatic Start". Onancock, Va.: Eastern Shore News. 
  11. ^ Jacob, J. E., Carter, J., & Wainwright, E. (2000). Worcester county. Charleston, SC: Arcadia.
  12. ^ Proceedings and Acts of the Maryland General Assembly, 1882, Volume 418, Page 371, Accessed at [3] an information resource of the Maryland State Archives
  13. ^ Proceedings and Acts of the Maryland General Assembly, 1876, Volume 199, Page 23, Accessed at [4] an information resource of the Maryland State Archives
  14. ^ a b INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION REPORTS, VOLUME 31, VALUATION REPORTS, DECISIONS OF THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION OF THE UNITED STATES, OCTOBER, 1929-JULY, 1930
  15. ^ Acts of the General Assembly of Maryland of 1886, p. 209, c. 133 This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  16. ^ a b Railroad gazette. v.18, page 585, 1886  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  17. ^ Maryland State Archives, Accessed at April 6, 2017
  18. ^ a b c d e "PRR CHRONOLOGY 1886" (PDF). www.prrths.com. March 2015. Retrieved 6 Apr 2017.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bogen, David S. (2004). "Precursors of Rosa Parks: Maryland Transportation Cases Between the Civil War and the Beginning of World War I" (PDF). Maryland Law Review. 63: 721, 747–749. Retrieved 21 March 2017. 
  20. ^ After 1912, the boats saw little service and in 1929 were sold by the BC&A to an African-American excursion company, "Federal Hill" and then scrapped in 1940.
  21. ^ Hain, John A. Side Wheel Steamers of the Chesapeake Bay, 1880-1947. Glen Burnie? Md, 1951. Print.
  22. ^ Henderson v. United States, 339 U.S. 816 (1950), Henderson v. United States, No. 25, Argued April 3, 1950, Decided June 5, 1950, 339 U.S. 816 accessed at [5] on March 21, 2017

External links[edit]