There is a blueprint too large to scan.
file:///X|/Special%20Collections/purgatory/Phi%20Mu/Steiner,%20J.%20W/Blueprint.txt[5/16/2011 1:26:18 PM]
THE HISTORY AND CONSTRUCTION OF THE
CHESAPEAKE BEACH RAIL ROAD.
A thesis presented to MARYLAND BETA CHAPTER of
TAtI BETA PI by J. W. Steiner as an initiation
April 27, 1933
The construction of the Chesapeake Beach Rail Road
was started in 189£ by the Washington and Chesapeake Railway Com-
pany. It was completed in 1896 by the Chesapeake Beach Railway
Company. David Moffat supervised the construction. The company
has operated at a loss until today and is kept running now only
in hope that traffic will improve with the completion of the pro-
posed ferry from Chesapeake Beach to Trippes Bay on the Eastern
Shore of Maryland. Power to build this ferry has been granted,
but capital is not forthcoming as yet. Experiments with gas
electric cars have proven them unsatisfactory for work on this
The line itself consists of 30 miles of single track
extending from Chesapeake Beach, Maryland to Chesapeake Junction,
D. C. The roadbed is rather poor, and rolling stock is old
requiring a 30 mile per hour limit. The conpany does its own
repair work in shops near District Line Station here a roundhouse
and storage yards are located.
Due to high operating expenses and to lessening traffic
revenues the Chesapeake Beach Railroad is in danger of abandonment
unless the proposed ferry is successful.
A great part of this material was obtained from the
annual reports of the Chesapeake Beach Railway Company to the
Interstate Commerce Commission, the first of which was made in
Moody's "Manual of Railroads" for 1932 furnished some
The "Encyclopedia Americana" furnished information as
to the life of David Moffat.
The "Centennial History of Washington, D. C." by
H. W. Crew, the "Washington Post," February 11, 1^12, and the
"Evening Star," January 2, 1929, obtained from the Washington
Public Library were of considerable aid as to the history of the
Mr. Hart, auditor of the company, and Mr, Wilson, District
Line station agent must be thanked for much of the structural in-
formation and general facts about the railroad.
A personal trip ovsr the line furnished details and
- 1 _
In the year 1882, a group of Washington, D. C, and
Denver, Colorado, men obtained a charter to construct a rail-
road from Chesapeake Junction, D. C. , to Chesapeake Beach,
Maryland. These men had in mind the building of a summer sea-
side resort and excursion railroad line to this resort. These
men organized the Washington and Chesapeake Hallway Company in
1S8E with a total capital of f 100, 000. They then set about
endeavoring to obtain power to establish the seaside resort.
However, here they met unforeseen difficulties and since the
prosperity of the proposed railroad woulfl depend on the exis-
tence of the summer resort, the railroad was not started.
Finally, in 189S, the power was granted them, and work started
simultaneously on the resort and railroad. Of course, there
were in existence two separate companies for these projects
since a railway company is not allowed to operate such an
enterprise as a summer resort. However, the railway company
owned a controlling interest and held mortgages on the Chesa-
peake Beach Hotel and 798 acres of land of the summer resort.
Also, the two companies were operated by the same men. These
two connections held the two companies close together until
very recently, and now the acquiring of ferry rights by the
railway company has tended to help them both and to tie them
more closely together.
Work on the line started in 1893 under the direction
of David Hall i day Moffat, American capitalist and railroad builder.
He was born in 1839 in Washingtonville , New York, and grew up
- 2 -
among railroad people. He was associated with the building of
several railroads, and became president of the Rio Grande Railroad
in 1884. He also became president of the First National Bank of
Denver, Colorado. In 1891 he left the Rio Grande Railroad and
became interested in the proposed Chesapeake Beach line. He had
almost completed the line when foreclosure of a mortgage in 1895
forced the Washington ind Chesapeake Railway Company into the
hands of the receivers.
The property, franchise, etc., were purchased by
Robert E. Todd of New York City, and in 1896 a new company was
organized. This was the Chesapeake Beach Railway Company, char-
tered March 7, 1896, under Maryland Public General Law. This
company put the road into operation and became just as closely
tied up with the resort as the former company had been. The
capital of the new company consisted of $1,000,000 in common
stock issued for completion of construction, and $1,000,000 in
gold bond mortgage dated 1898, and due in 1923.
By 1900, the Chesapeake Beach Railway Company had
acquired 5 engines, 32 passenger, combination, and baggage cars,
and 18 freight cars. They had obtained a government mail contract
to supply car and agent for $868,500 a year, and were doing an
excellent summer excursion passenger business and a fair freight
business. However, due largely to inefficiency of the inexperi-
enced management, a deficit of over $15,000 had accumulated. Up
to this time, there had been no serious accidents, and but one
fatality, that being a trespasser on an unprotected section of
- 3 -
Daring the next five years, no dividends were paid on
stock, and the deficit mounted to nearly $119,000. In addition,
interest on the bonds had been defaulted. The company still
carried a government mail contract and had obtained an express
contract for the Chesapeake Beach to Hyattsville run. However,
increasing operating expenses forced the company to give up
rolling stock till, in 1905, they had but 2 engines, 22 passenger
and combination cars, 7 road cars, and no freight cars. During
all these periods the Company employed an average of 70 men, the
number gradually decreasing.
By the year 1910, the company had been forced to give
up 1.88 miles of its track extending from Chesapeake Junction, D« C-,
to the District Line Station. This section had been sold to the
Washington, Potomac, and Chesapeake Railway and was under lease
to the Chesapeake Beach Railway Company. They had also given up
their trackage rights on the Shepherds Creek Branch of the Balti-
more and Ohio Railroad.
During the next five-year period, the road just about
cleared expenses being able to obtain several additional engines,
the number in use in 1915 being five. In the Washington Post on
February 11, 1912, there appeared an article stating that the
Pennsylvania Railroad had purchased property at 13th and H Sts.,
in Washington, D. C. , and proposed to build a terminal and office
there for several lines it proposed to obtain control of and
electrify. These roads were the Washington, Baltimore and Anna-
polis; the Washington Virginia Railway Company; the Washington,
Arlington, and Falls Church Railroad; and the Chesapeake Beach
Railroad. However, the Chesapeake Beach line was omitted from
this plan due to difficulty of electrification.
- 4 -
In 1918, the company bought back the track to Chesapeake
Junction. From 1918 to 1925, the company operated at a loss,
showing a steadily mounting deficit. Apparently, those people
interested in the road continued to operate It because of profits
or possibility of profits from the company operating the reso*t
at Chesapeake Beach. However, by this time the automobile became
a serious menace to the bare existence of the railroad and it may
have been abandoned had it not been that negotiations with a New
York concern made it desirable to keep the franchise. The "Evening
Star" of Washington on January 2, 1929, stated that the sale of
the Chesapeake Beach Railway was practically completed. The
New York concern proposed to operate gas electric cars over the
line. When this deal was abandoned, the company endeavored to
start use of this type car and obtained one from the J. G. Brill
Company of Philadelphia. Operation of this car throughout the
1930 season proved it unsatisfactory and it was returned to the
By this time, 1930, a new plan had originated and in
August, 1930, the Interstate Commerce Commission authorized thd
building of docks, etc., for a ferry to operate from Chesapeake
Beach across Chesapeake Bay to Trippes Bay near Hudson, Maryland.
This decision was contested by the Annapolis Claibourne Perry
Company, but on April 11, 1932, the Supreme Court upheld the
decision. Since then the railroad has been operated largely in
the hope that the completion of this ferry will bring business to
the line. The company has made application to the Interstate
Commerce Commission for permission to issue $1, 850 ,000 in trust
certificates for construction, gold bonds, and second mortgage
- 5 -
to operate this ferry. It has also applied for a loan from the
Reconstruction Finance Committee. However, neither of the above
capital sources are to date available, though the company had hoped
to complete the ferry this summer.
The officials of the company have today more hope for
the future, due to the prospective ferry project, and to favorable
legislation passed by Maryland and exempting the company from taxes
for a stated .period, than they have had for many years.
The Washington and Chesapeake Railway as originally
constructed in 1892 consisted of 30 miles of single track road
and 5.2 miles of sidings and yards. The line extended from a
point 200 feet from the bay at Chesapeake Beach, Calvert County,
Maryland through the South West corner of Anne Arundel County,
across the Patuxent River into Prince Georges County, and thenee
northwest into the District of Columbia, where it ended at Chesa-
peake Junction and made freight connection with the Baltimore and
Ohio Railroad. The Company also owned trackage rights for 4.2 miles
of the Shepherds Creek Branch (now the Alexandria Branch) of the
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, extending from Chesapeake Junction,
District of Columbia, to Hyattsville, Prince Georges County,
Maryland. In addition to the Baltimore and Ohio connection at
Chesapeake Junction, the Washington and Chesapeake Railway made
freight connection with the Popes Creek Branch of the Pennsylvania
Rail Road at Pennsylvania Junction where the former crosses the
latter on an overhead trestle.
- 6 -
At present the Chesapeake Beach Railway Company, suc-
cessor to the above company, owns twenty eight and three tenths
miles of single track road extending from Chesapeake Junction to
At the east end of the road, there is a yard and passen-
ger and freight station for the town of Chesapeake Beach, There
are coal dumps and a water tank located at this point. About one
quarter mile from the station there is a siding leading about one mile
solith to the power house which supplies the town and resort of
Chesapeake Beach with electricity. This siding also serves as
one arm of a X for turning the engines around. From this point
the road runs southeast for five -eighths of a mile, thence west
for five-eighths of a mile, this section of the road being built
through flat and very swampy land through an inlet from the Bay.
At this point the road emerges from the salt swamps and travels
almost directly northwest for 8.2 miles, through slightly hilly
country. There are many fills and cuts on this stretch of road
and only slight grades. Two and one-tenih miles from Chesapeake
Beach the line passes Pushaw, and 3.4 miles out, at Mt. Harmony,
the trains will stop on signal for passengers ob freight. At this
point there is a four-car siding. One and four-tenths miles
further on at Swings, a regular stop, there is a 17-oar siding
and passing track. The next two towns, Wilson and Chaney are
not regular stops, but the train stops on signal. At Fischer,
9.4 miles from Chesapeake Beach, there is a 12 -car siding and
passing track. At this point, the track turrs almost westward
and continues to the Patuxent River which it crosses on a wooden
trestle. In this section is located Pindell; and, just across the
- 7 -
river, Mt. Calvert, a regular stop, provides a 13-car aiding and
passing track. At Mt. Calvert the road again turns northwest to
continue in a straight line for 7 miles through fairly flat and
dry country. At Pennsylvania Junction, just 1.7 miles from
Mt. Calvert and 14.6 miles from Chesapeake Beach, there is a trestle
which carries the Chesapeake Beach Rail Road over the Popes Creek
Branch of the Pannsylvania. There is a freight connection at this
point with that railroad. Marlboro, 15.9 miles from Chesapeake
Beach, is a regular stop, and provides a IE-car siding and passing
track. There is also a dangerous grade crossing of the Washington
and Marlboro Turnpike at this point. Clagett, Hills, Brown, and
Marr, make up the rest of this straight stretch, only Brown pro-
viding a passing track and 11 -ear siding. At Marr, SO. 5 miles
from Chesapeake Beach, the track turns again almost westward and
continues along a winding path to the District Line Station.
Along this section are located Ritchie, Berry, Behrend, Brooks,
and Seat Pleasant. At Berry, there is a 9-car siding and passigg
track and at Seat Pleasant, 0.7 miles from the District line,
there is a 12-car siding and passing track.
Just a littld outside the District Line Station are
the company's yards for storage and shopwork. Here there are
four sidings, storage sheds for 3 engines, workhouses, coal
storage dumps, a water tank, and a roundhouse section of four
tracks with a hand -powered turn table. The company does its own
repair work at these shops. The station at District Line as well
as that at Chesapeake Beach is typical of an excursion road.
They are one -story stations of frame construction with over-
hanging eaves, magazine stands and outdoor benches. Very small
indoor waiting rooms are provided.
- 8 -
From District Line, the single track continues 4.2 Miles
to Chesapeake Junction where the Chesapeake Beach Railroad shifts
freight for the Baltimore and Ohio to the Benning power and light
plant of the Potomac Electric Power Company of Washington, D. C»
The whole line of the Chesapeake Beach Rail Road is made
up of 70, 80, and 85 pound rails set at standard gage (4 ft.,8&in.)
on a cinder roadbed. It consists of 6 ascending grades (District
Line to Chesapeake Beach) totalling 10.1 miles and climbing 455
feet, and 7 descending grades totalling 9.9 miles and dropping
470 feet. There are two overhead road bridges, 23 trestles, and
one iron bridge over another railroad. There are also 20 unpro-
tected and 2 protected grade crossings. The rolling stock of
the company includes five 8-wheel American type C-2 engines,
26 first-class day coaehes, 2 combination baggage and passenger
cars, and 8 roadwork cars. In addition the company handles con-
siderable freight stock of other companies. During the season of
1930, the Chesapeake Beach Railroad Company obtained from the
J. G. Brill Company of Philadelphia a 73-foot Oombination Passen-
ger and Baggage, gas electric car, powered by a 6-cylinder, 300-
horse power gas engine, and a generator motor system. However,
this ear proved entirely unsatisfactory and was returned to the
Brill Company. The car had insufficient capacity for excursion
work and was not sufficiently powerful to handle extra cars on
the grades of the line. The locomotives in use include three
Baldwins built in 1898 and 1899, one engine built in 1901, and
two rebuilt In 1926 (originally built in 1888 and 1890}. These
last two engines were purchased from the Atlantic Coast Line.
At one time during its history the company owned 6 engines (1925),
- 9 -
and at another it owned 18 freight cars (1900) in addition to
its passenger stock.
In general the road today, though picturesque, is in
an obviously depreciated condition. If the proposed Trippes Bay
to Chesapeake Beach Perry does not stimulate sufficient traffic
to put the Chesapeake Beach Railway Company on a paying basis,
it is probable that Maryland will lose a long established but
somewhat impractical railroad, and there are many who will miss it.
YOU have heard the story of the
street car motorman who goes
for a tram ride whenever he gets
a day ofl\
Well, way back In October. 19pf , it
thing to do, wi
the above photo oJ the (
ii their it 11 -
mi,.; o ■■■■<• Beach, 25
The distinguished group in the
round is made up of officials of
the railroad company, employes and
their families, The gentleman on the
Ith the GrouchoMarx moustathe
probably Is the engineer, going for a
htilc train trip i off.
As for !■ rrkcd
OUt 111 Aim-
Bhiaed up lor Uu Is "Old
B8," which used to knock oil the 30
some odd miles between Chesapeake
Beach Junction and the beach in
The railroad still Is an Institution
closely tied up wlib the life o[ the
: and of "the beach," thooi h
18" in all probability has
run over the bills and valleys
that used to reverberate to the n
^i Lta firiving wheels and the shrill
tones of its whistle.
Photograph from* The Washington Post ' of
one of The ofdtst e/ifwcs used during
the early days of the road. (1906)
Summer On ly.
Chesapeake Beach Railway Company
TIME TABLE No. 98
Taking Effect at 12.01 A.M., Saturday, May 23, 1931
EASTERN STANDARD TIME
For the information and guidance of employes only.
W. J. HAYWAED, R. N. HULFISH,
Superintendent. Chief Dispatcher.
1. The General Rules and Regulations of the Operating
Department arc published in book form. Employees whose
duties are affected thereby will provide themselves with «opy.
2. Trains in either direction are not superior over trains of the
same class in the opposile direction, but will meet such trains as
per Time Table unless otherwise directed by train order. West-
ward trains will take siding for Eastward trains of the same class.
Second class trains have no rights over first class trains and will
not meet first class trains as per time table, but will clear 1 first
class trains according to rule.
3. Register Stations, and Bulletin Boards : District Line, Ches-
4. Block Limits — Between Chesapeake Junction and District
Line. Trains must procure Clearance Card (form 407) before
entering the Block,
5. Eastward trains will not leave District Line and trains will
not leave Chesapeake Beach without a Clearance Card (form
407), except trains will not he required to get a clearance card
at District Line or Chesapeake Beach before 1:15 P. M.l
6. Trains will not exceed (6) miles per hour when missing
the tracks of the W. B. & A. Ry. at District Line. Track must
be known to be absolutely safe to proceed before crossing, j Un-
less absolutely necessary, trains will not back into the west end
of the passing track at District Line. If necessary to back in
they will see that W. B. & A. Ry. trains arc protected in, both
7. All trains will reduce speed to six (6) miles per hour over
Grant's Crossing, west of Marlboro and over State Road Crossing
east of Marlboro and at Owings.
8. Trains in each direction will reduce speed to six (6) miles
per hour crossing Patuxent River Drawbridge.
9. The maximum speed for passenger trains is thirty (30) miles
per hour, and for oiher trains twenty-five (25) miles per jhour
when conditions permit.
10. Yard limits extend from B, & O. switch at west et^d of
yard at Chesapeake Junction to a point one-quarter mile east of
Seat Pleasant, and from Chesapeake Beach to one-quarter mile
west of Wye switch. Engine hell must be continuously rung
while passing through these limits. All Westward trains must
approach Seat Pleasant yard limits under full control. Regular
trains will not exceed ten (10 miles per hour and extra trains
six (6) miles per hour in yard limits. See General Rule 9$
11. All trains will use ten (10) minutes between Chesapeake
Junction and District Line,
12. Conductors of passenger trains will give a signal by I air-
whistle of one (1) short and one (1) long blast approaching
schedule or train order meeting stations. Enginemen will acknowl-
edge with (2) short blasts of the whistle. Enginemen of freight
and work trains will give two (2) short and one (1) long blasts
of the whistle approaching schedule or train order meeting sta-
tions. This signal will be given one (1) mile distant from the
meeting station. Should the engineman fail to answer or give
the signal every effort must be made by the trainman to stop the
train before reaching that station. Failure to give the signal will
not relieve the Conductor and Engineman from responsibility.
In addition to ringing of engine bell, two short blasts of engine
whistle will be sounded immediately before trains start from Dis-
trict Line and Chesapeake Beach.
13. Trainmen must see that due care is exercised in handling
passenger cars. When attaching such cars to a train, or to other
cars on a siding, stop them about ten (10) feet distant and then
move slowly to make the coupling. This applies also when a
train is backed to take on a coach.
14. The Company Telephones are for the exclusive use of Em-
ployes on Company business. The telephones at Berry, Mt. Cal-
vert and Mt. Harmony are located on poles near the side track,
at Owings on outside and inside of station and at other points in
the depot buildings.
Chesapeake Junction 1 long and 6 short
District Line, Dispatcher 2 short
District Line, Freight & Tkt. Office 1 short, 1 long, 1 short
Seat Pleasant ,1 long and 4 short
Berry 1 long and 5 short
Brown 2 long and 1 short
Marlboro 4 short
Mt. Calvert 3 long and 1 short
Chauey. 5 short
Owings 1 long and 2 short
Mt. Harmony 7 short
Chesapeake Beach Ticket Office 3 short
Chesapeake Beach Telegraph Office.......! long and 1 short
15. Explanation of Characters:
f Stop on signal to take on or let off passengers.
s Regular stop.
p Passing track.
a Stop on signal to pick up passengers only.
b Stop to let off passengers only.
D Day Train Order Station.
16. When passenger cars are out of service in a train, or left
at stations, trainmen will sec that all windows and doors are
closed and locked.
17 Standard time is shown by clock in Ticket Office at District
18. The doors of box cars in trains must he kept closed.
19. Trains in same direction must keep ten (10) minutes apart-
20. Stationmen, Conductors, Enginemen, Firemen, and Train-
men are under the immediate direction of the Chief Dispatcher,
and will obey his orders.
21. Trains will stop at the west end of Pennsylvania Junction
Bridge to receive and discharge passengers."
22. Trains will not exceed 20 miles per hour on reverse curve
at Pennsylvania Junction.
23. Loaded passenger trains will not stop with any part of a
train on a bridge or trestle unless absolutely necessary. When
necessary to stop on a bridge or trestle trainmen will use extraor-
dinary precaution to prevent passengers from stepping off the
24. Trains 9, 12, 30, 31 and all first class locals will handle
25. No 7 will take siding for No. 6; No. 9 will take siding for
No. 8; No, 27 will take siding for No. 24; No. 29 will take siding
for No. 26.
26. No, 3 — pass No. 1 if overtaken.
27. Train Order stations open less than 24 hours :
District Line 11 a. nt to 12 mid.
Marlboro 9.4S a. m. to 10.45 p. m.
Owings 10.15 a. m. to 11 p. m.
Chesapeake Beach 10.45 a. m. to 11 p. m.
Dr. Edward Larkin Washington Office, 1801 I St. N. W.
Phone NAtional 7200 or Wisconsin 3053.
Dr. J. Lester Brooks Washington Office, Munsey Building.
Phone National 0437 or Cleveland 0203
Dr. Reverdy Sasscer, Upper Marlboro, Md. Phone Marlboro 70.
Dr. J. W. Leitch, Huntingtown, Md. Phone Pr. Frederick 6-11.
Dr. Grafton D. P. Bailey, North Beach, Md.
Dr. Hugh W. Ward, Owings, Md.
Dr. Win. E. Whitson, North Beach, Md.
Dr. W. W. Jones, 409 58th St. N. E. Phone Lincoln 2925.
DAILY EXCEPT SUNDAY
f 6.22 6
Time Table No. 98
Saturday, May 23, 1931
Lv... CHESAPEAKE JUNC....AR
DISTRICT LINE D
.SEAT PLEASANT P
. . , CLAGETT
.. MARLBORO d-p.
,MT, CALVERT P.
ae. CHESAPEAKE BEACH. . \ JJ
CHESAPEAKE BEACH RAILWAY
Schedule of Local Passenger Trains- Effective Monday, Sept. 12, 1932
SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE
EASTBOUND -To Buck
Wellington, D. C.
Lv District Lino*...
,....,,,,.,..,,.., ,/Behrend ,
. /Marr. ,,,,.,.,
« Marlboro. . . .
, . ,/Penna Junction.
/ML Calvert. . .
J°Mt. Harmony. .
AR. . .Chcsa. Beach . .
a North Beach
(llB AD UP)
Daily «ctpt SmsVOiIt
P. M. A. H.
s Regular stop.
/Stop on signal or notice to conductor.
* Connection with W. B. & A. Eke. R.R.
a North Beach busses connect with all trains.
Washington Railway & Electric Co. cars
marked "District Line." from 15th and New
York Avenue N.W.. operate direct U» our
District Line Station,
An over-night Fast Freight Service is op-
erated between Baltimore arid points on Chesa-
peake Reach Railway via Baltimore &■ Ohio
This time table shows the time at which
trains may be expected to arrive at and depart
from the stations named, but their arrival «r
departure at the time stated is not guaran-
teed, nor does the company hold itself re-
sponsible for any delay or any con sequences
J. M. RECTOR.
Vice-President and General Manager.
Time Table No. 98
Saturday, May 23, 1931
Lv.. ..CHESAPEAKE JUNC . ,Ar
DISTRICT LINE D
o 't 9fl
SEAT PLEASANT P
BROOKS fT .
f 6 52
brown ,yf. F
s 7.10 .
f 5.30 27
. , MARLBORO . Y'. d-p
b 9.3 28
MT CALVERT p
f 7.26 26
Ak.. CHESAPEAKE BEACH.. Lv.
The line Thru the
smmps of a Gesqpeafe
Bay m/et near tht>
Cast tndof /tie road-
Ratf Road hr/dfe over
tht fltw automobile,
road to tht, b&y$icle>
The Pofti CreeA Branch
Of /At fe/JMSflifan/q from
the Chesapeake BeqcM
overhead at Pen n. Jet.
Mo- II onz of Me
two UTest type enpttes
in ust on /4e read.
View of th e engine
$heds and ha rid -power-
ed turn tabic in th&
yards a t Dh foe t Line..
■. "* ■
Loo kit j info Ae yards at
th e Pis Trie t Line, from the
Ctnlral Aver> Me a u 'To h ridge.
The Station at the
District Lthe stop-
LoohtnQ out of the
yards at the Pbtr/cT
Line. Centra ( Avenue
auto ni o kite bridge in
Part/on of tie District
Lfpt yards sfofr/nf the
roundhouse, turft table,
$hd water ta/jH-
The station at the
east e/)d of the,
** : ■,-...
Mo- Z2. /n /he yarcts
at Chesapeake Bea&/>
ready for the Cise/jTf-
e/ftt mitt run.