Freight exchange at Hermitage between SAL and RF&P : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

According to the book “Seaboard Air Line Railway” by William E. Griffin Jr., (and also Prince’s book) the SAL apparently completed its connection with the RF&P at Hermitage sometime in May 1900. In a later paragraph, the former book quotes: ‘The Seaboard’s connection with the RF&P at Hermitage was opened and interchange of freight traffic between the two roads began on July 1, 1901. On July 31, 1901, and [sic] an agreement was reached…’ between the B&O, PRR, ACL, SOU, C&O, and SAL for the formation of the Richmond-Washington Company. It seems very odd that the interchange of freight between the two roads should not begin until more than 13 months after the 1900 connection had been completed. Are the above dates simply more typographical errors that should read: “July 1, 1900” and “July 31, 1900”? Thank you.

-- Stephen Dale (, February 20, 2001


A very good question-and yes it appears as if there were some typographical errors. To put it in the words of William E. Griffin, the RF&P historian, the connection with the Seaboard led to changes in the ownership and operation of the RF&P which still existed when the road was absorbed by the CSX conglomerate.

What follows below is taken from Bill Griffin's " One Hundred Fifty Years of History-Along the Richmond Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad", published by the RF&P in 1984.

The Seaboard Air Line Railway was assembled from various smaller roads by Richmond banker John Skelton Williams. The SAL needed to establish an interchange with the Pennsylvania Railroad in Quantico Va. as it realized that its Portsmouth interchange by steamship to Baltimore was inefficient and expensive. It was ready to interchange with the RF&P at Hermitage but was rebuffed by the then ACL controlled RF&P from exchanging freight cars and initially, there was no through traffic agreement. Mr Williams was not to be dissuaded however, and since he had numerous friends in the Virginia legislature, in March 1900, he petitioned the legislature for a charter to build a "Richmond-Washington Air Line" from Richmond to a connection at Washington or Alexandria with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The legislature granted this charter and also passed an act authorizing the sale of the state's holdings of RF&P stock. The RF&P quickly negotiated the terms of a through traffic agreement with the Seaboard which resulted in the Seaboard being given the same terms and conditions which applied to ACL traffic, and Williams agreed to abandon the construction of the new, parallel railroad. SAL constructed the interchange with the RF&P in July 1900, and interchange commenced in July 1900.

In order to implement the committement to handle the traffic of the Seaboard with the same terms and conditions that applied to ACL traffic, control of the RF&P was removed from the ACL and a new "Richmond-Washington Company", incorporated in the State of New Jersey was formed on July 31, 1901. Pennsylvania, Baltimore and Ohio, Atlantic Coast Line, Southern, Chesapeake and Ohio and Seaboard had equal interests in this new company which owned all of the stock of the Washington Southern and the majority of the voting stock of the RF&P. From then on, the two roads-Washington Southern and RF&P, would operate as one road, under one management and would handle the traffic of the six roads with equal promptness and under equal terms.

As for whether they are typos or not-I would have to leave it to Mr. Griffin!

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak, February 21, 2001.

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