Re: What's in a name


The term "Air Line" was used as early as 1869 for a consortium of five railroads and related ferry services that linked New York City with Washington DC. All claimed to be double tracked at the time, a selling point for speed and presumed safety. An 8:40 AM departure at the Cortland Street ferry in New York was scheduled to arrive arrived at Washington DC by 5:20 PM in a December 30, 1869 advertisement.

This "New York and Washington Air Line Railway" consisted of the New Jersey Railroad, the Camden & Amboy, the Philadelphia  & Trenton, the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore, and the Baltimore & Ohio railroads. The first three companies were under comnmon control at the time. Eventually, they became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The PW&B would also go to the PRR.

In losing access to the PW&B and remain in the New York area freight and passenger market, B&O built a parallel rail line between Baltimore and Philadelphia. It also arrainged to reach New York via the Philadelphia & Reading as well as the Jersey Central railroads. B&O was somewhat evenly matched with PRR in the NY-DC passenger business, until Penn Station opened in 1910.

Ed Bommer

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