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Full text of "The history and construction of the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad / James A. Lee"

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Jamea A. Lee 




Most of this material was obtained from the 
files of the Company in Cumberland, Maryland. 


Mr. W. Glaus, General Manager of the Cumber- 
land and Pennsylvania Railroad Company. 


Number of stops and train route from Mr. 
Lawrence Powers, Frostburg, Maryland. 



The Cumberland and Pennsylvania Hail road Company 
has its main office located in the Clark Keaton Build- 
ing on Baltimore Street, Cumberland, Maryland. A sum- 
mary of a few statistics will show clearly the nature 
and size of this road. The Company itself was organ- 
ized in 1850. It now possesses a main track from Cum- 
berland, Maryland to Piedmont, West Virginia a distir.ce 
of 31,354 mile3. With various branches, side tracks, 
it possesses 88,471 track miles. Although comparative- 
ly small it did a large business during the coal opera- 
tions in that section, but after the World War the coal 
industry dropped off and at the present time very little 
coal is hauled but an excellent passenger service is 


"History and Construction of the Cumberland 
and Pennsylvania Bail road" 

The history of the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Rail- 
road covers a period of seventy- three years and is not the 
history of one railroad but of eight distinct organizations 
which st various times merged into one forming the Cumber- 
land and Pennsylvania Railroad Company. To trace the con- 
struction of this railroad is to trace the development of 
each of these eight distinct organizations. 

Early in 1804 coal was found west of Cumberland, Mary- 
land in the Georges Creek and Echart regions. This discovery 
led to a new industry in Western Maryland which at the time 
depended mainly on the lumber and farming industries. Al- 
though there was an abundance of coal there was very little 
if any means of transportation and the industry was very slow 
to grow. Practically the only men&3 of transportation were 
boats which were floated down the Potomac River. Each winter 
different individuals would dig a quantity of coal, build 
their own flat-bottomed boats and when the spring freshets came 
they would float the coal to a market in Washington where they 
sold their boat and coal for whatever they could obtain and 
make their way back to Cumberland on foot, a distance of 150 


This condition continued until 1842 although several 
gmall railroads had been constructed to carry coal from the 
mines to Cumberland. In 1850 the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal 
was finished and was opened in October of that year. This 
afforded a means of transporting the bituminous coal of thst 
region from Cumberland to a resdy market in the seaboard 
cities. The same year the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Rail- 
road was granted a charter by the General Assembly to form a 
company with a capital stock of $1,000,000 to construct a 
railroad from the town of Cumberland to some suitable point 
on the Maryland-Pennsylvania state line. The history of this 
involves the history of several companies that existed as 
early as 1829 and is necessarily a part of the Cumberland and 
Pennsylvania Railroad as it is today. 

In the year 1838 the Maryland and Hew York Iron and 
Coal Company became defunct and all their property was sold 
to the losers* Corning, Winslow and Forbes. This contained 
9 miles of railroad from Cumberland to Mount Savage and was 
used to transport coal from the mines at Mount Savage to Cum- 
berland. In 1848 this road was conveyed to the Mount Savage 
Iron Company. The same year this road with 5 miles more run- 
ning to Borden Yard was conveyed to the Cumberland and Penn- 
sylvania Railroad Company for stock involved, this being the 
first property owned by the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Rail- 


road Company. This gale also included 0.9 of a mile of 
Potomac wharf giving the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Rail- 
road Company a good frontage along the Chesapeake and Ohio 
Canal where most of the freightage of that day was loaded. 

The defunct company (Maryland and New York Coal and 
Iron Company) are J given credit with the manufacture of the 
first railroad rails in the United States. This of course 
takes in the exception of the strap rails the t were in 
common use at that time. The rails manufactured in the 
vicinity of Mount Savage were of the inverted "U" type, and 
weighed 42 pounds to every three feet. 

With this as a start the Cumberland and Pennsylvania 
Railroad Company issued $250,000 worth of bonds in 1856 se- 
oured by a mortgage on their entire property. The money ob- 
tained from these bonds was used in the construction of an 
extension from Borden Yard to a point east of the town of 
Lonaconing connecting with what was then the G-eorges Creek 
Coal Company Railroad. In the summer of 1855, M. A. Miller, 
engineer in charge, made extensive surveys of the route and 
in 1856 construction was started under the supervision of 
Messrs. Hunbird and Reynolds. The railroad wa3 single track 
9.8 miles long. The only feature of construction was that of 
a tunnel under the town of Frostburg which i3 537.4 feet long. 
The length of the road up to this point is now 23.7 miles. The 
original cost of this road can not be ascertained. 


The next expansion of the railroad was proposed in 
July 1858. Surveys were ran for 1,2 miles of single track 
up Neff Run from the main line to the mines of the Miller 
Coel Company, The contract for this road was let to Messrs. 
Thomas Frost and H, B. Sheffer of Fro3tburg who completed 
the road on October 23, 1858. The mines finally ran out 
and abont 1896 the track was abandoned. 

In 1863 the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad Com- 
pany completed its main line as it stands today. On October 
23, 1863 the Georges Creek Coal and Iron Company conveyed to 
the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad Company all of its 
railroad from a point one mile ea3t of lonaconing f the end 
of the piece last constructed) to the connection with the 
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at Piedmont, West Virginia. The 
9.2 miles of single track and all equipment were sold for 
$250,000. The following year the Cumberland and Pennsylvania 
Railroad Company constructed for the Midlothian Coal Company, 
4,23 miles of track extending from 4000 feet east of Borden 
Shaft to the village of Midlothian. The Midlothian Coal Com- 
pany then sold the track to the Cumberland and Pennsylvania 
Railroad Company to be paid for by the transportation of the 
Midlothian coal. 

The Company growing as it did deemed it adviseable at 
that ti-ne to increase the Capital Stock, New equipment was 
needed and several proposed branches were to be added. The 


Capital Stock wag then raised to $1,500,000 by an act of the 
General Assembly in 1864. 

Four years later the Consolidation Coal Company con- 
veyed to the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroai Company the 
following branches; Blast Furnace (1.3 miles), located near 
Mount 3avage, The Consolidation Mine Branch Ho. 13 (1.3 miles), 
located near Frostburg. The Blast Furnace Branch wa3 abandoned 
in 1874 and the Consolidation Mine Branch was abandoned in 18 73 
and reconstructed in 1913 on the Old Roar! Bed. From this time 
on until the twentieth century very little addition was made to 
the road. Several spurs were constructed. The Carlos Branch 
was constructed in 1888 and was single track road 2 miles long. 
The Union Branch (1 mile) was built from Alleghney to the Hew 
York Mining Company* mine Ho. 2, in 1896 and the No. 7 branch 
(1.07 miles) from Carlos to Consolidation mine Ho. 7 near Lord, 
Maryland and was finished in 1897. 

The Company in 1915 acquired more branches to various 
mines. The development of these started as early as 1829. Prior 
to that year the Maryland Mining Company had completed 9.0 miles 
of single track from Echart, Maryland to Cumberland and also D03- 
sessed one mile known as the Potomac Wharf Branch. In 1829 these 
two branches were 3old to the Cumberland Coal and Iron Company. 
They were used for some 12 years and finally sold to the Consol- 
idation Coal Company along with 1.3 miles of track known as the 
Hoffman Branch and all the personal property of the Company 


includlng engines, car3, etc., in 1841. 

In addition to this property acquired from the Cumber- 
land Coal and Iron Company, the Consolidation Coal Company 
added 2.4 miles of track to the Pennsylvania State Line. In 
1915 this was all acquired by the Cumberland and Pennsylvania 
Railroad Company and with exception of a few spurs and aidings 
complete the acquisition and construction of property by the 
Company. All of this history may be followed closely on a 
diagramatic chart showing the organization of the Company 
which accompanies this thesis. The following chart compiled 
from the history of the road will show the various branches, 
by whom they were built, and when, although no data a3 to the 
cost of construction could be obtained. (Chart on Page Hine) 

The history of this road reveals that the Cumberland and 
Pennsylvania Railroad Company is an accumulation of small rail- 
roads that were in so much use during the rather feverish coal 
operations. These roads have been all repaired and in some 
place rebuilt making the main line an up-to-date, first-class 
road. Since the engines and cars are not of the heaviest type, 
the rails used in the construction are smaller than those used 
on the larger roads* As to the construction of these various 
branches very little could be found except in a general sense. 

Prom Cumberland to Mount Savage there are three trades 
all laid with hundred pound rails and completely tie plated. 

Name of Company- 

Name of Road 



Maryland & New York Iron & Coal Co. 

Main Line Cumberland 
to Mount Savage 



Maryland Mining Company 

Echart Branch 



Maryland Mining Company 

Potomac Wharf #1 



Mt. Savage Iron Company 

Potomac Wharf #2 



Mt. Savage Iron Company 

Mount Savage Wye 



Georges Creek I. & C. Company 

Loconaconing to 



Cumberland & Penna E. E. Company 

Borden Yard to 



Cumberland & Penna E. E. Company 

Neff Eun Branch 



Cumberland Coal & Iron Company 




Consolidation Coal Company 

Blast Puniance Br. 





Consolidation Coal Company 

Branch #13 



Midlothian Coal Company 

Midlothian Branch 



Cumberland & Penna B. E. Company 

Main Line #2 Track 
Cumber land-Mt. Savage 



Consolidation Coal Company 

State Line Branch 



Cumberland & Penna E. B. Company 

Main Line, Valley Tr. 



Cumberland & Penna E. E. Company 

Carlos Branch 



Cumberland & Penna E. E. Company 

Union Branch #2 



Cumberland & Penna E. B. Company 

Branch #7 



Cumberland & Penna B. E. Company 

Main Line #3 Branch Tr 

. 2.9 


Cumberland & Penna B. B. Company 

Union Branch #1 




From Mount Savage to Piedmont the road is one track and laid 
with 80 pound rails (rail3 weighing 80 pounds to the yiard) 
which are only tie plated on the curves. All the main tracks 
are ballasted with limestone and the bridges are very solidly 
built being made of concrete with stone masonry piers, abut- 
ments, and steel superstructures. 

Although few facts could be found on the construction 
some statistics may help to show what faced the contractors 
in charge. The average grade of all the lines is 1.6$, while 
the maximum grade is 3.2$. There are 29.51 miles of curved 
track and 25.68 miles of tangent track, the maximum curve be- 
ing 20 degrees. The road is built in a valley but must cross 
several mountains near Frostburg, Maryland which necessitated 
some extensive surveying. At Borden Yard it was necessary to 
construct a switch-back to number nine. The train must pull 
into Borden Yard beck up a 3.2$ grade to number nine and then 
pull out of the switch-back into Frostburg. This makes it one 
of the few railroads that must actually b^ck up a hill. This 
is plainly shown on the accompanying map. 

A general description of the main line may be observed 
first hand if one ride3 from Cumberland to Piedmont, the full 
length of the road. leaving Queen City Station in Cumberland 
at an altitude of 646 feet the road passes through the Cum- 
berland Narrows, a valley 300 feet wide and walls of sheer 
ro3*ck 950 feet high. The road then winds up Wills Creek Val- 
ley to Mount Savage, an altitude of 698 feet which lies at the 


base of the Georges Creek Divide. Here the first railroad 
rails were made in the United States by the Mount Savage Iron 
Works in 1848, Up the Divide to Borden Yard at which point 
the train must back up a 3,2^ grade to pull into Frostburg 
at an altitude of 1990 feet. It then passes under Frostburg 
and goes down the Divide to Piedmont, West Virginia. The 
train makes 89 stops and tak^s approximately one hour and a 
half to make the trip. The steam locomotive* has been re- 
placed by gas-electric motors. 

3 • A . 1 * 


I l-H-93 


Cftrmoliau t u>*> tool Cwnpamj, ( TKe } 

c.awinq, Crp-.+us at us. 
narfen, John H ct. -.jk. 
(wc-gKi trr^H LO-lE and Ir-on CorijEinu. 
Uulwcrth Iron Company ttrw 3 

Mur.jla*ia and r*ew Vorii Iron and Coal CompCPTVy. 
Mqruknd Mining Gorftpamf Cfhr} 

■j and Cu»>nis|ift<.'tll*; fcijilr*wa C;- 
Wmvsiam , John lr, . 

Chart ttoc'-o 



Incorporated in Maryland, 
torch. *.iaSO. 



and < onnel Isvii le 

Railroad Company 

.iLJTk- ■ 

a>tai [V^vmxh Wh*#-MVj 

M t. Savage iron Company. 
ifTCHSrporoted in Mfcriflondl 

F«* T, 1B46 
Jun.f-i.BM Cbnv*uiH>C»PBEfj 
Mart Lint Cu"ifc*rrtend to 
Bordsn YarO Via MtSnvcxw 
Wya. 14-0 M ■ IwS ureS Pu>+ 
Mama Whorl Bra i h ttM -.-, 



" Ha Q-Hjrt Wmnbur-, : , , 
fne Ineta ^ pp*w a* Top od' Tm 
t*>Ck±> unU o-rtjfe on fine 
ratO^rtpOnun yq Chu^t, w*4cti or', 
r^rl*TtJ Iherco" "" +*T« QAMr Of 

litjtc erf PnGM*pBt'!arf Von ■ "H"H 

■ Of «s* ilotc nclntj nuntO*F «S«.. 

Th. pact nurnbara -*rf«- to. 
th* pommon «# *n* bioc^a *jnd 
£3Vi»l& en *>i*j Cnurt, whKh am 

r.i.i'trrinl rttWirti. gtMMW ■ 

frorn left h> nqW, i«if*T.T' 

Cirek* in +h* lQw*r r «|nT Hard 

Th* Btecks inaicote 
j»vrterBn>p of, Pyglft ItfiJofr* JqtjJ] 
*t*c Qj'ubo^and ana ftrmayhanlo 
%3i|rocxj Company, 


sunns!; okuhmih 

Hi' in 


Georges Creek Coal 

and Iran Company 

Incorporated in MarnkBtJ 

Jurm I, IMfc 



The Consolidation 
Cool Con-pony 

Incorpora-hgd in Maryland 
March %. is&o. 

March 3, 1 ftfcS QjnMua to the 
CfcPBPCo. Naat- FurTtnc* 
Track 1-3. MM**, h^wAhanopnea 
N&IS Bronchi 1.5 Mil** Since 
Abanaonocl a^d 8?«cnrwrtnjttoiJ 
by Th* ConMddCTf ran Cool Co. /ft 


Tnm CaiaolKloticn 

Cjral Company 

IncorporffteJ tn Maryland 

hjv B.GI1 Convtub 1ft C 1 PRUt In. 
deMw* ferancn lie Milt-, 
Hnffrnan Bronen. l^MKre. 

.■.,-uim™e Branch J1" '- 

— = l»ftfli~f P» 

Marylon«0i ■araJMewUfcrfc 
Injoand Coal CpnTpH,in4 

M"! rwntfc ■ k ; ■ 

Jot MMftia ti ■ ■ * ■ 



Eta&tua Corning.ttu^. 

1 M 

W» Luhvarth irorfCe- 
Har Lin* Epilrooqi 
Cumberland to Mt. 9a*aga 
fl.O Milefl. _ 



[ran Company. 

Inrorparated in Mari|land 

March t, IB4T 

^ct of r*h 7, ift4S 

Chang/ng Home to 

Mt, Savage ^non Co. - 

Ho. I 

The Mary land Mining 


irxcrponotiscr in Maryland 

Manih >i?,IB» 
Hcv. 4, IM! Conv*«jft Uj 1Kiste*a 
*othe CwiTh Ooar ■ Iror* Co. 
EchhaH- BronCh $G Mlh-i, 
fctemft Wharf Brt«h 
O MilftS. (I 


and Iran Campdnij 

fWtrparated in M'ji yljiwirl 
Fotruarij IP, IWH 
Mar.i, «n rwi^iJl *J tCT"", r n»< To 
E'.fc^^-t 0rOn#T*fl H.lft-, 
utafffnrjn ™rar>th i.l nihn 
Potomac Wharf Brarx>i IR'Hilf.