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National Railway

National Railway

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The National Railway or National Air Line Railroad was a planned railroad between New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 around 1870. Part of it was eventually built from New York to Philadelphia by the Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad and the Delaware River Branch of the North Pennsylvania Railroad
North Pennsylvania Railroad
North Pennsylvania Railroad was a railroad company formed in 1855, and served Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Bucks County and Northampton County, Pennsylvania.-History:...

, leased by the Philadelphia and Reading Railway in 1879. The line was intended to provide an alternate to the various monopolies that existed along the route, specifically the United New Jersey Railroad and Canal Companies and their Camden and Amboy Railroad, and as such had a long struggle to be built.

History


In Spring
Spring (season)
Spring is one of the four temperate seasons, the transition period between winter and summer. Spring and "springtime" refer to the season, and broadly to ideas of rebirth, renewal and regrowth. The specific definition of the exact timing of "spring" varies according to local climate, cultures and...

 1867, Henry Martyn Hamilton began planning for the National Railway between New York and Philadelphia by getting short lines chartered that would end-to-end form the complete route. The first two sections were chartered in New Jersey as the Hamilton Land Improvement Company and Millstone and Trenton Railroad, forming half of the New Jersey route. The Millstone and Trenton Railroad was authorized to build a line from Trenton northeast to Millstone, and the Hamilton Land Improvement Company could build six miles anywhere in the state, which was enough to bridge the gap from Millstone to the Central Railroad of New Jersey
Central Railroad of New Jersey
The Central Railroad of New Jersey , commonly known as the Jersey Central Lines or CNJ, was a Class I railroad with origins in the 1830s, lasting until 1976 when it was absorbed into Conrail with the other bankrupt railroads of the Northeastern United States...

 at Bound Brook.

The first official proposals for the railway came in 1868 at the federal level, with bills in the U.S. House of Representatives for a line between New York and Washington via Easton, Reading and Lancaster. Later proposals concentrated on the New York-Philadelphia section, and were made both at the federal level and in the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

On September 21, 1868, the Attleborough Railroad, a short branch line chartered April 15, 1856 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
- Industry and commerce :The boroughs of Bristol and Morrisville were prominent industrial centers along the Northeast Corridor during World War II. Suburban development accelerated in Lower Bucks in the 1950s with the opening of Levittown, Pennsylvania, the second such "Levittown" designed by...

, was taken over by Hamilton and renamed to the National Railway, to be part of the through line. The project was first publicized in December of that year.

On January 1, 1869 the Camden and Amboy Rail Road's legislated monopoly
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 over New York-Philadelphia railroads in New Jersey expired. However, the C&A continued to lobby legislators and fight through the courts to prevent the National Railway from being built.

In 1870 various bills in New Jersey to allow consolidation of short lines into the Millstone and Trenton Railroad failed.

In early 1871 the National Railway bill was introduced once again in the U.S. House, this time by John W. Garrett
John W. Garrett
John Work Garrett was an American banker, philanthropist, and president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad ....

 (president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was one of the oldest railroads in the United States and the first common carrier railroad. It came into being mostly because the city of Baltimore wanted to compete with the newly constructed Erie Canal and another canal being proposed by Pennsylvania, which...

), who feared the PRR's proposed lease of the United Companies. It was again defeated.

The Pennsylvania Railroad
Pennsylvania Railroad
The Pennsylvania Railroad was an American Class I railroad, founded in 1846. Commonly referred to as the "Pennsy", the PRR was headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania....

 gained control of the United Companies on May 15, 1871.

On March 30, 1871, the German Valley Railroad was chartered in New Jersey, including a Trojan Horse
Trojan Horse
The Trojan Horse is a tale from the Trojan War about the stratagem that allowed the Greeks finally to enter the city of Troy and end the conflict. In the canonical version, after a fruitless 10-year siege, the Greeks constructed a huge wooden horse, and hid a select force of men inside...

 for the National Railway. The Governor refused to sign the bill, but the company organized anyway. The same strategy was used on March 19, 1872 with the passage of the Stanhope Railroad. The state clerks were bribed to keep the Trojan Horse off the debated version but include it in the signed version. This was soon discovered, and on August 12 the National Railway was sued for fraud. On February 2, 1873 the New Jersey Court of Chancery ruled that the National Railway had no rights to build in New Jersey.

On January 11, 1873 the Excelsior Enterprise Company, a holding company
Holding company
A holding company is a company or firm that owns other companies' outstanding stock. It usually refers to a company which does not produce goods or services itself; rather, its purpose is to own shares of other companies. Holding companies allow the reduction of risk for the owners and can allow...

 incorporated on May 24, 1871, was renamed the National Company, acquiring the National Railway of Pennsylvania (the original Attleborough Railroad) on January 15. The National Railway gained control of the Stanhope Railroad on January 18, but that soon proved worthless.

On March 19, 1873 the New Jersey House of Representatives killed the PRR's opposition bill to create a New Jersey Railway on the land chosen for the National Railway. The PRR and National Railway agreed at that time to support a general incorporation law to break the stalemate, which had been blocked since the 1840s by the Camden and Amboy. That law was passed on April 2, and on April 8 the PRR's company was chartered, running mostly within 100 yards of the planned National Railway. The National Railway of New Jersey was chartered soon after on April 17, as a supplement to the New York and Philadelphia Railroad, chartered 40 minutes after the general incorporation law was passed.

Investors were initially scared off from the project, placed under contract on May 31, due to the various scandals involved.

The Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad was incorporated in New Jersey on May 12, 1874, to build a railroad from the Delaware River
Delaware River
The Delaware River is a major river on the Atlantic coast of the United States.A Dutch expedition led by Henry Hudson in 1609 first mapped the river. The river was christened the South River in the New Netherland colony that followed, in contrast to the North River, as the Hudson River was then...

 to the Central Railroad of New Jersey
Central Railroad of New Jersey
The Central Railroad of New Jersey , commonly known as the Jersey Central Lines or CNJ, was a Class I railroad with origins in the 1830s, lasting until 1976 when it was absorbed into Conrail with the other bankrupt railroads of the Northeastern United States...

 at Bound Brook, along the National Railway's surveyed path. At that time, the North Pennsylvania Railroad
North Pennsylvania Railroad
North Pennsylvania Railroad was a railroad company formed in 1855, and served Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Bucks County and Northampton County, Pennsylvania.-History:...

 took over the National Railway project from Hamilton. On May 14 the North Pennsylvania approved the construction of the Delaware River Branch, splitting from the main line at Jenkintown and running to the Delaware River at Yardley. On May 16 the property of the National Railway was deed
Deed
A deed is any legal instrument in writing which passes, or affirms or confirms something which passes, an interest, right, or property and that is signed, attested, delivered, and in some jurisdictions sealed...

ed to the D&BB, including the Stanhope Railroad and the National Company.

The Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad and Delaware River Branch opened on May 1, 1876, from the North Pennsylvania Railroad to the Central Railroad of New Jersey
Central Railroad of New Jersey
The Central Railroad of New Jersey , commonly known as the Jersey Central Lines or CNJ, was a Class I railroad with origins in the 1830s, lasting until 1976 when it was absorbed into Conrail with the other bankrupt railroads of the Northeastern United States...

. The D&BB had trackage rights
Trackage rights
Trackage rights , running rights or running powers is an agreement whereby a railway company has the right to run its trains on tracks owned by another railway company....

 over the CNJ to their Jersey City
Jersey City, New Jersey
Jersey City is the seat of Hudson County, New Jersey, United States.Part of the New York metropolitan area, Jersey City lies between the Hudson River and Upper New York Bay across from Lower Manhattan and the Hackensack River and Newark Bay...

 terminal. The Trenton Branch of the D&BB opened in 1877.

The original plans carried the National Railway northeast and east past Bound Brook, running north of the CNJ and crossing the New Jersey Rail Road at Waverly to the CNJ terminal. In Pennsylvania, the original plan was southeast of what was built, running directly to the north end of the Junction Railroad
Junction Railroad (Philadelphia)
The Junction Railroad was a railroad in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, connecting lines west of downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It came under Pennsylvania Railroad control in 1881, and was eliminated by merger in 1908.-History:...

 in Philadelphia. http://mapmaker.rutgers.edu/HISTORICALMAPS/RAILROADS/NJ_RR_1873.jpg Part of this route was built in the mid-1900s as the New York Short Line Railroad, connecting the original Delaware River Branch at Oakford
Oakford, Pennsylvania
Oakford is a neighborhood within the boundaries of both Bensalem Township and Lower Southampton Township. It is located in the northwestern section of Bensalem Township and in the south central section of Lower Southampton Township. The zip code is 19053....

 southwest to the Reading's Philadelphia, Newtown and New York Railroad
Philadelphia, Newtown and New York Railroad
The Philadelphia, Newtown and New York Railroad was a railroad in southeastern Pennsylvania that is now a part of the SEPTA commuter rail system...

 at Cheltenham.

The Philadelphia and Reading Railway leased the North Pennsylvania Railroad
North Pennsylvania Railroad
North Pennsylvania Railroad was a railroad company formed in 1855, and served Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Bucks County and Northampton County, Pennsylvania.-History:...

, including the D&BB, on May 14, 1879. The National Company's charter was later used to form the Reading Company
Reading Company
The Reading Company , usually called the Reading Railroad, officially the Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road and then the Philadelphia and Reading Railway until 1924, operated in southeast Pennsylvania and neighboring states...

, a holding company for the Reading system.

The East Trenton Railroad, incorporated in 1884, was taken over by the D&BB as a branch in the Trenton area. The Trenton, Lawrenceville and Princeton Railroad, an interurban streetcar line, was taken over at some point as a branch of the East Trenton Railroad for freight. The Port Reading Railroad
Port Reading Railroad
The Port Reading Railroad was a railroad chartered in 1890 and opened in 1892 by the Reading Railroad.-Origins:The Port Reading Railroad started at a junction in Bound Brook, New Jersey with the Lehigh Valley Railroad and Central Railroad of New Jersey and headed eastward across northern Middlesex...

, opened in 1892, also served as a spur of the D&BB, running to Port Reading on the Arthur Kill
Arthur Kill
The Arthur Kill is a tidal strait separating Staten Island, New York from mainland New Jersey, USA, and a major navigational channel of the Port of New York and New Jersey. Kill is from the Middle Dutch word kille, meaning "riverbed" or "water channel"...

.

Specific challenges


The United Companies, Pennsylvania Railroad, received a charter for the Mercer and Somerset Railway
Mercer and Somerset Railway
The Mercer and Somerset Railway was a short-lived line of the Pennsylvania Railroad in western New Jersey, built to delay completion of the Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad, part of the National Railway line from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to New York City.The railroad ran from Somerset Junction...

 in New Jersey on March 17, 1870 solely to provide a challenge to the planned competitor railroad known as the National Railway. Track began to be laid on January 20, 1871 at the crossing of the National Railway survey in Hopewell. A frog war
Frog war
In American railroading, a frog war occurs when a private railroad company attempts to cross the tracks of another, and this results in hostilities, with the courts usually getting involved, but often long after companies have taken the matter in their own hands and settled, with hordes of workers...

 resulted in early 1876 at the crossing point; a war that was won by the National Railway, thus rendering the Mercer and Somerset Railway redundant and useless. In 1879 or 1880 the Mercer and Somerset Railway was abandoned, having become useless.

On October 22, 1873 the PRR leased the Philadelphia, Newtown and New York Railroad
Philadelphia, Newtown and New York Railroad
The Philadelphia, Newtown and New York Railroad was a railroad in southeastern Pennsylvania that is now a part of the SEPTA commuter rail system...

, a Pennsylvania railroad chartered on November 21, 1860, with the intention to block the National Railway. The line opened as a branch of the Connecting Railroad to Newtown on February 2, 1878, and on November 22, 1879 the North Pennsylvania Railroad began operating it, no longer of use to the PRR.

Another challenge was raised as to whether the company could build a bridge over the Delaware River.