Baltimore & Ohio Railroad

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad

(B&O), first U.S. public railroad, chartered in 1827 by a group of Baltimore businessmen to regain trans-Allegheny traffic lost to the newly opened Erie CanalErie Canal,
artificial waterway, c.360 mi (580 km) long; connecting New York City with the Great Lakes via the Hudson River. Locks were built to overcome the 571-ft (174-m) difference between the level of the river and that of Lake Erie.
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. Construction began in 1828, and the first division opened in May, 1830, between Baltimore and Ellicott's Mills, Md. Horses were the first source of power, but the successful trial run of Peter Cooper's Tom Thumb in Aug., 1830, brought the change to steam locomotives. The B&O expanded steadily and reached St. Louis in 1857. During the Civil War the railroad moved Union troops and supplies. By the end of the 19th cent. the B&O had achieved almost 5,800 mi (9,334 km) of track and connected with Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City. By the mid-1900s it had become mainly a freight carrier. Faced with financial difficulties, the B&O was acquired by the Chesapeake & Ohio RailwayChesapeake & Ohio Railway
(C&O), former U.S. transportation company with railroad lines in eight states, Washington, D.C., and Ontario, Canada. Founded as the Louisa RR Company in Virginia in 1836, the railroad changed its name to the Virginia Central Company in 1850.
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 in 1963 and merged with it in 1965. In 1980 the combined company became part of the CSX Corporation. The B&O was the first railroad to publish a timetable, to use electric locomotives and specialty cars (e.g., dining and baggage), and to run fully air-conditioned trains.
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