When Did The ACL Gain Controlling Interest of the L&N?

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I am in the process of writing a book on the history of the NC&StL. I know when the L&N acquired controlling interest in the NC (1880) but I am curious to know when the ACL/Plant System gained controlling interest in the L&N as well as when they gained control of the Georgia Railroad, Western Railway of Alabama and the Atlanta & West Point Railroad.

It appears that the genesis of the "Family System Lines" were in place as much as 100 years ago.

Any help with this will be greatly appreciated.


Dain Schult, Austin, TX 512-657-3437

-- Dain L. Schult (dstrr@aol.com), April 09, 2001


An excellent snapshot of how the L&N came to be under the control of the ACL can be found in "A History of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company" by Glenn Hoffman, a book recently offered by our society. In early 1902, a group of speculators led by John W. 'Bet-a-Million' Gates quietly began buying up L&N common stock on the NYSE. Conditions became such that the Gates syndicate would soon own 51% of the L&N...Hoffman indicates that Gates' goal had been to drive up stock prices for a quick killing, but may have instead ended up owning the railroad "by accident". J.P. Morgan's deep pockets assisted Gates, and in April 1902, that firm gained control of the stock in a deal with Gates. After much negotiating, a deal between Morgan/Gates and the ACL was struck, and on Sept 27, the final documents were signed. The ACL paid $156.05 per share of L&N stock ($47,750,000.00) Five months earlier, L&N shares traded at a tad over $100.00.

-- Greg Hodges (ghodges@smpsfa.com), April 10, 2001.

The roads eventually known as the Family Lines had a long history of control by the ACL. The Georgia, WofA and A&WP were leased to Col. Wadley in 1881; he assigned half of his interest to the L&N and the other half to Central of Georgia. The CofGa went bankrupt, and its share was acquired by the ACL in 1898. ACL had long held an interest in the L&N, and in 1902 acquired total control with help from J.P.Morgan. However, as the anti-railroad "Progressive" movement was about to commit major damage on American railroads through a stronger ICC, ACL let the L&N operate independently for the most part for most of the Twentieth Century.

The entire history of corporate alliances is too complex for a simple explanation. Check some g

-- Larry Brennan (lpbrennan@aol.com), April 09, 2001.

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