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Thread: Railroads whose names didn't quite meet expectations

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    Default Railroads whose names didn't quite meet expectations

    In the early days of US railroads, many a company adopted fanciful monikers meant to inspire investors. Some got to where they said they were going and even beyond -- Boston & Maine or Chicago, Burlington & Quincy for example. Others, well, not so much -- Atlantic & Western or the Denver, South Park & Pacific come readily to mind.

    I can think of three others off the top of my head that never got to where they said they were going:

    1) St. Louis-San Francisco Railway -- aka the "Frisco," it never laid a tie past Oklahoma. Absorbed into Burlington Northern in 1980.

    2) Interstate Railroad -- an Appalachian coal hauler that operated entirely in Wise County, Va. Acquired by the Southern in 1961.

    3) Spokane, Portland & Seattle Ry. -- A subsidiary of the Great Northern and Northern Pacific railways, the SP&S never made it to Seattle, nor was that ever the intention. James J. Hill, the "Empire Builder" of Great Northern Ry. fame, chose the last named city in SP&S to throw off his rival, E.H. Harriman, who controlled the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific.

    Hill intended to push deep into Oregon and northern California, and he did, ending Harriman's monopoly in both states in the last great clash of railroad moguls. The SP&S and GN merged with CB&Q and the NP on March 2, 1970, to form BN.

    Wonder if there are other railroads that started at Point A in their name but never reached Point B?

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    The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific.
    The Missouri Pacific (unless you count Pacific, MO)
    Oh yeah and the Chicago Central and Pacific.
    Last edited by Allen H.; 5th Apr 2020 at 11:39 AM. Reason: Added one
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    Well the Norfolk & Western got it right - when you start in Norfolk, everywhere else is west.

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    There were probably a thousand scam railroad corporations in the US that sold stock but never intended to lay (much less actually got around to laying) any track. But I ran across one a while back, Colorado, Texas and Mexico, that laid 14 miles before going bankrupt. Maybe this one had real intentions, or maybe investors eventually learned not to buy stock until some track was on the ground.

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    Not sure if this counts, but the AT&SF's mainline never actually went through Santa Fe. Passengers and freight got there over a branch line from Lamy.

    In the early days, optimism fueled a lot of railroad names, when men of grand vision sold their ideas to investors for capital to begin builds that didn't get as far as originally hoped.

    The Denver and New Orleans never made it farther south than Pueblo, CO. Successors to that line did eventually reach the Gulf of Mexico; but near Galveston, instead.

    The Memphis, Paris and Gulf didn't reach any of those points, either. Not even close.
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    The Atlantic, Tennessee, and Ohio was started before the Civil War, torn up during the war, rebuilt after the war and ran from Charlotte to Taylorsville, and in North Carolina. Never got anywhere close to any of the places in its name. Bought by the Southern Ry.
    Tim Rumph
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    Quote Originally Posted by ranulf View Post
    Not sure if this counts, but the AT&SF's mainline never actually went through Santa Fe. Passengers and freight got there over a branch line from Lamy.
    The main line didn't go through Atchison, KS, either. The passenger line did go through Topeka, but the freight line missed it. There was a major shop in Topeka.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim R View Post
    The main line didn't go through Atchison, KS, either. The passenger line did go through Topeka, but the freight line missed it. There was a major shop in Topeka.
    I didn't know that. Sounds like it certainly counts, then.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ranulf View Post
    In the early days, optimism fueled a lot of railroad names, when men of grand vision sold their ideas to investors for capital to begin builds that didn't get as far as originally hoped.
    And model railroaders have been doing the same thing ever since!
    Daniel Dawson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim R View Post
    The main line didn't go through Atchison, KS, either. The passenger line did go through Topeka, but the freight line missed it. There was a major shop in Topeka.
    A little off topic, but there is a neat little museum in Atchison KS in what I thought was the old Santa Fe depot. The museum covers all kinds of area history, not just trains (including Amelia Earheart, who was raised there) and does talk about how the ATSF didn't even try to actually reach Atchison for years. There's also a 2-8-0 you can climb in the cab of, and quite a few cars and cabooses on display outside. The tracks still run right by the depot, but it's all UP.

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    The Atlantic & Pacific Railroad. It went 0 for 2.


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    The Akron Canton and Youngstown went 1 for 3. It didn't make it to Canton or Youngstown. The line was purchased by the N&W in 1962. Then in 1990 NS spun-off the route to present day Wheeling and Lake Erie.

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    Duluth,Winnipeg and Pacific, Duluth.South shore and Atlantic...

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    How about the Decatur, Chesapeake, & New Orleans Or more commonly know as the D C & N O? Short story on this one was a line intended to run the Chesapeake Bay area to New Orleans diagonally through the south with my home town of Decatur, AL as the center point. Construction was started in Elora, TN south to Taft, TN. Later extended to Capshaw, AL ( Lax ) in the late 1880's. That is is far as it got and was absorbed into the N,C,& StL as the Capshaw branch. Abandoned in 1927. The railroad was pulled up and a road built on the ROW. They even used the bridges. I can remember as a child daddy taking us out there and riding on it in the mid 70's. The tell tells where still up at the Elk River bridge. Two depots are still on the line one at Capshaw Al and the last time I was there at Taft TN. My grand daddy actually rode the train to and from school for a time. They called it the Short Dog. The senior engineer on the line was Archie Pylant. Line saw 4 trains a day for a while.

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    A subsidiary of the Southern, the Cincinnati, New Orleans, and Texas Pacific (CNO&TP). This was known as the Rat Hole Division. It was an organization created to lease the Cincinnati Southern RR, which was (and still is) owned by the city of Cincinnati. Ran from Cincinnati to Chattanooga and didn't come anywhere close to New Orleans, much less Texas or the Pacific Ocean.
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    Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo

    Algoma Central got a little too ambitious and briefly added "and Hudson Bay" to their name before realizing their goal is unrealistic and reverting

    Marinette, Tomahawk & Western
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    How about the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway?
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    Oh how about a modern line..

    PanAm Railways...... Collectively, the Americas: North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean
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