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Baltimore and Ohio Railroad

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad or B&O was a 19th century railroad which operated in the east coast of the United States. The B&O was the first railroad to offer commercial transportation of both people and freight. It was incorporated on February 28, 1827. The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad or C&O took control of the B&O in 1963, and incorporated it, along with the Western Maryland Railroad, into the Chessie System in 1973. In 1980, the Chessie System merged with the Seaboard System to create CSX. In 1984, the B&O finally went out of existence when it formally merged with the C&O (which itself formally merged with CSX later that same year).

On July 20, 1877 there was bloody rioting in Baltimore, Maryland from Baltimore and Ohio Railroad workers. Nine rail workers were killed at the hands of the Maryland militia. The next day workers in Pittsburgh staged a sympathy strike that was also met with an assault by the state militia ; Pittsburgh then erupted into widespread rioting.

Early Engineering

When construction began on the B&O in the 1820s, railroad engineering was in its infancy. Unsure of exactly which materials would suffice, the B&O erred on the side of sturdiness and built many of its early structures of granite. Even the track bed to which iron strap rail was affixed consisted of the stone.

Though the granite soon proved too unforgiving and expensive for track, most of the B&O's bridges have survived until the present, and many are still in active railroad use by CSX. Baltimore's Carrollton Viaduct, named in honor of Charles Carroll of Carrollton is the world's oldest railroad bridge still in use. The Thomas Viaduct in Relay, Maryland was the longest bridge in the United States upon its completion in 1835, and remains in use as well.


In the board game Monopoly, the B&O is one of the 4 railroad properties on the board; see: Monopoly game.

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