Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company, 1922. Virginia Historical Society
On 1 March 1898 the General Assembly approved the consolidation of
the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad Company and the Petersburg Railroad Company. This merger formed the
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company of Virginia, but by 1900, the enterprise was known simply as the Atlantic
Coast Line Railroad Company. It continuously absorbed other lines and provided rail traffic up and down the
The War of 1812, which saw the U.S. coastline dotted with British ships, increased the necessity for a system
of overland transportation. A few decades later, the railroads that would eventually become the Atlantic Coast Line
system connected towns throughout the east. This not only allowed for an alternative to coastal shipping, but also
provided connections between fall line communities.
Railroad historians cite the Petersburg Railroad as the oldest of the component lines. Residents of Petersburg
hoped to increase trade with the areas of North Carolina that normally did business with Norfolk. They received
a charter for this railroad from the legislature in 1830. The Richmond and Petersburg Railroad soon followed in
1836. This line would later prove an important link to Richmond for Confederate supplies and soldiers. Though
the railroads suffered greatly from a lack of maintenance and overuse, the lines survived the Civil War. With
the act of 1898, the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad purchased the Petersburg line, forming the Atlantic
Coast Line Railroad Company of Virginia.
The year 1967 witnessed the end of the Atlantic Coast Line name, but not its tracks. The company united
with the Seaboard Air Line, creating the Seaboard Coast Line. Another merger occurred in 1980 between
Seaboard Coast Line and Chessie System, Inc., establishing the CSX Corporation. Today, CSX Transportation,
based in Jacksonsville, Florida, claims to manage the most comprehensive rail network in the eastern United States.
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