History of The Pennsylvania Railroad
The following newspaper article written in 1949
newspaper not indicated (possibly Columbus)
Roots that are deep in Columbus, central and western Ohio...roots that
go back to the days when rails were oak with strap iron covers...when
trains went 10 miles per hour...when horses were hitched to trains to
help them up the hills...that's the Pennsylvania Railroad, which has
grown figuratively from a tiny acorn to a mighty oak tree that is one of
the communities largest, oldest and most steadfast industries.
This month, the Pennsylvania Railroad celebrates its first centenary,
which the carrier firm has labeled" One Hundred years of transportation
progress. Specifically, the centennial started Saturday, April 13, just
100 years after the Pennsylvania Railroad was incorporated by an act
passed by the legislature of the state from which the carrier took its
The beginning of the railroad was a line stretching 249 miles from
Harrisburg to Pittsburgh, a line that eventually grew into a system that
is now 26,000 miles long. There was, at a time, a railroad line
connecting Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and it was the only natural that
the PRR's initial purchase and expansion was this road.
The first section opened Sept. 1, 1849, a total of 61 miles, from
Harrisburg to Lewistown. Soon after, the company invested substantially
in the Ohio and Pennsylvania railroad (Pittsburgh to Cestline, Ohio);
then in the Ohio and Indiana Railroad (Crestline to Ft. Wayne, Ind.) and
subsequently, in the Ft. Wayne and Chicago Railroad.
Columbus and Central Ohio's first introduction to the Pennsylvania
Railroad came in May 1868. Subsidiary lines that were purchased by the
"Pennsy" at that time had been in Ohio long before that - -since 1832,
in fact. That dates marked the consolidation of the Pennsylvania with
the Pan-Handle Railroad company of Pennsylvania; the Holliday's Cove
railroad, of West Virginia, and the Steubenville & Indiana Railroad Co.
which was amalgamated into the Pittsburgh Cincinnati and St. Louis
Trips through Ohio must have been lengthy affairs, with the threshing
machine-like engine puffing along a break-neck speed of 40 miles per
hour, and stopping at every cow crossing. Here's the number of stops
between Newark, Ohio and Columbus: Newark, Lockport, Granville, Siding,
Union Station, Kirksville Station, Pataskala Station, Columbus Center,
Summit Station, Black Lick Station, Alum Creek Station, Caldwell
Station, Arsenal Station (Ft. Hayes) and Columbus Union Depot. That of
course, was before the days of dining cars, and trains stopped at
Dennison, Ohio to allow passengers to eat. The Harvey Restaurants
didn't function along the Pennsylvania lines, all of the eating places
being under private ownership.
In addition to the through line of the Pennsylvania, Cincinnati and St.
Louis Railroad, the company leased, owned or operated these branch
systems: The Charters Railroad (Mansfield, Ohio to Washington, Pa)
Cincinnati and Muskingum Valley Railroad; (Dresden Junction to Morrow,
Ohio), the Little Miami Railroad (Columbus to Cincinnati); the Columbus,
Chicago, Indianapolis Central Railroad (Columbus to Indianapolis)..which
also had a direct west branch which connected to Fort Wayne,
Ind.,through Piqua and Bradford, Ohio; the Pittsburgh, Wheeling and
Kenton railroad, and a line from Xenia to Springfield, a railroad from
Xenia to Richmond, Ind., three Indiana and one Illinois systems.
Its total mileage was 1172 miles. Of course, all of the subsidiary
lines listed above didn't have the new-fangled Pullman sleeping cars
(the Pullman Co. was incorporated in 1867) but the main line did, and
boasted mightily about the service.
That's the story of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Ohio. Through its
services the owner of the rich valley lands of the Ohio Valley were
enabled to ship their produce to the eastern seaboard by a short
East-West route, and likewise they could obtain agriculture equipment
made in the East. Local industries along the Ohio were able to expand
through ease of access to many markets and availability of raw
In its service, the Pennsylvania Railroad has more than fulfilled the
purpose and visions of the Columbus men who were essential in the plans
that brought this mighty rail link through the capital city of the
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