The Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad, in Richmond VA
The Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad Company was an important institution within the City of Richmond, Virginia. It was the first steam railroad to serve the capital city of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the last railroad company to be operationally headquartered in the city.
This book is not a corporate history of the RF&P. Instead, it is more of the nature of a company scrapbook, with its focus upon the railroad’s relationship with the city, and most importantly the men and women who worked there.
A handful of nineteenth century Richmond business leaders, supported by counterparts from Petersburg, a Baltimore produce and booze broker, and ultimately the post-Civil War Philadelphia-based executive leadership of the Pennsylvania Railroad, made the RF&P DC-Richmond rail corridor the unique transportation infrastructure asset that it became.
But it was not always this way. Travelers within Richmond had their choice of three different railroads, each having its own station and none connecting with each other. When the Civil War began there was a rush to lay tracks on the streets to rescue threatened railroad equipment.
By the turn of the twentieth century, RF&P had become a very busy and financially successful railroad, in which the politicians of both the Commonwealth of Virginia and of the city took pride and tended to view as their own. Ultimately several thousands of people were employed by RF&P in Richmond, and RF&P shares were regarded as among the absolute best available.
Nevertheless, the RF&P’s relationship with its namesake city, and with the Commonwealth of Virginia, was often adversarial. The State Corporation Commission of Virginia and the City Council of Richmond regulated and, to a great extent, controlled RF&P business and operational decisions in matters large and small. The city’s regulations and State’s transportation policy decisions often made it difficult for RF&P to remain competitive with motor carriers who used publicly funded highways at below cost user charges.
This book relates the story of the RF&P and the City of Richmond throughout its existence and how the railroad and city became dependent on one another over time.
Hardbound, 540 pages, 64 color and over 100 black & white photos and maps!