Railroad History
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Norfolk Southern merger family tree

A genealogy of the well-known railroads that make up today's system
Published: June 2, 2006
Norfolk Southern Railway
Norfolk Southern Railway
Norfolk Southern Corp. was created as a new holding company to acquire Norfolk & Western Railway and Southern Railway, effected June 1, 1982. Full merger effected Dec. 31, 1990, as N&W became a subsidiary of Southern, and Southern changed its name to Norfolk Southern Railway.
Conrail (Consolidated Rail Corporation)
Conrail (Consolidated Rail Corporation)
After the failure of Penn Central in 1970, the government formed the United States Railway Association in 1973 to develop a plan to save railroading in the Northeast. The result: Consolidated Rail Corp., which on April 1, 1976, took over the properties of PC and six smaller roads. On August 22, 1998, Norfolk Southern and CSX purchased 58% and 42% percent of Conrail stock, respectively, dividing the railroad between them. Each owner began operating their portion on June 1, 1999. In three jointly-owned "shared asset" areas, Conrail still exists as a local freight provider.
Norfolk & Western Railway
Norfolk & Western Railway
Norfolk & Petersburg chartered in 1850; it and two companions renamed from Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio to Norfolk & Western Railroad in 1881. Pennsylvania Railroad began purchasing interest in 1900, and by 1964 owned one-third. PRR bowed out as the Penn Central merger pre-planning precipitated N&W expansion by merger of NKP, Wabash, et al, in October 1964. N&W and Southern Railway assumed common ownership under Norfolk Southern Corp. in merger of June 1, 1982.
Illinois Terminal Railroad
Illinois Terminal Railroad
The Champaign-Urbana (Ill.) streetcar system bought by William B. McKinley in 1890 was the foundation of an electric interurban system that expanded and became Illinois Traction System. Parent Illinois Power & Light bought Illinois Terminal Railroad, an Edwardsville-Alton line, in 1928. In the post-interurban era, nine Class 1's formed a company to jointly acquire IT, done in June 1956 as the Illinois Terminal Railroad Co. ITRC was purchased solely by Norfolk & Western on September 1, 1981, and operations were integrated on May 8, 1982.
Virginian Railway
Virginian Railway
Deepwater Railway incorporated in West Virginia, acquired in 1902 by Henry Huttleston Rogers, who incorporated Tidewater Railway in February 1904 to build to Norfolk. Name changed to Virginian Railway in 1907. Acquired by Norfolk & Western on December 1, 1959.
Wabash Railway
Wabash Railway
First track in Wabash system, Northern Cross Railroad, chartered in Illinois about 1837. The name "Wabash" first appeared in 1853 with organization of Lake Erie, Wabash & St. Louis. Assembled as system by Jay Gould in 1879. In 1915, one of a series of reorganizations created the Wabash Railway. Majority interest later owned by Pennsylvania Railroad. In pre-planning for Penn Central merger, Wabash leased to Norfolk & Western, and effected with merger of Nickel Plate, et al., on October 16, 1964.
Pittsburgh & West Virginia Railway
Pittsburgh & West Virginia Railway
Line completed in 1904 by George Gould as the Wabash Pittsburgh Terminal Railway to link the Wheeling & Lake Erie in Ohio with Pittsburgh. WPTR was succeeded after receivership by Pittsburgh & West Virginia in 1916. P&WV leased by N&W in October 1964 in conjunction with the N&W merger of Nickel Plate Road; lease transferred to the new Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway on May 17, 1990, a spinoff by N&W successor Norfolk Southern.
Akron, Canton & Youngstown Railway
Akron, Canton & Youngstown Railway
Akron, Canton & Youngstown incorporated in 1907, completed its line in 1913. Purchased by N&W at time of Nickel Plate merger in October 1964. Dissolved by N&W successor Norfolk Southern Corp. on January 1, 1982. Trackage included in May 17, 1990, sale to new regional Wheeling & Lake Erie.
New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad
New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad
Lake Erie & Western assembled in 1879-1880 from Fremont, Ohio, to Bloomington, Ill. New York, Chicago & St. Louis incorporated in 1881 for a Buffalo-Chicago line, a project reported as the "great double-track nickel-plated railroad," a nickname that stuck. Nickel Plate Road system, including NYC&StL and W&LE, merged into Norfolk & Western on October 16, 1964. This N&W expansion included purchase of Pennsylvania Railroad's Columbus-Sandusky (Ohio) line to connect existing N&W with the NKP-Wabash network.
Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway
Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway
Wheeling & Lake Erie Rail Road began construction from Martin's Ferry, Ohio, northwest in 1873. Leased by Nickel Plate Road on December 1, 1949. W&LE merged into NKP successor Norfolk & Western, by then a Norfolk Southern subsidiary, on September 16, 1988; spun off in sale on May 17, 1990, by NS to a group which used Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway name.
Southern Railway
Southern Railway
First ancestor, South Carolina Canal & Rail Road Company, was completed from Charleston to Hamburg in 1833. Southern Railway was chartered in 1894. Under Southern Railway System, many components retained a corporate identity (e.g., Alabama Great Southern; Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific; New Orleans & Northeastern). Southern merged with Norfolk & Western Railway on June 1, 1982, to form the Norfolk Southern Railway, a component of Norfolk Southern Corp.
Central of Georgia Railway
Central of Georgia Railway
Construction began from Savannah as Central Rail Road & Banking Company of Georgia in December 1835. Controlled by Illinois Central 1909-48, and by Frisco 1956-61. Became a subsidiary of Southern Railway on June 17, 1963, and merged into Southern Railway system on June 1, 1971.
Savannah & Atlanta Railway
Savannah & Atlanta Railway
Construction began from Savannah as Brinson Railway in 1906. Savannah & Atlanta incorporated in 1915 as a connection. S&A purchased by Central of Georgia August 22, 1951 and merged into CofG in 1971.
Georgia & Florida Railroad
Georgia & Florida Railroad
Formed as Georgia & Florida from four short lines in 1906. Acquired by Southern Railway in February 1962, and merged into Southern's Central of Georgia when Southern absorbed CofG on June 1, 1971.
Norfolk Southern Railroad
Norfolk Southern Railroad
Elizabeth City & Norfolk began construction in 1880, renamed Norfolk Southern Railroad in 1883, renamed Norfolk Southern Railway in 1942 after receivership. NSR was bought by Southern Railway on January 1, 1974, and merged into Southern's Carolina & Northwestern, which assumed the NS name. Carolina & Northwestern name reinstated in 1981 so NS name could be used for the big N&W-Southern merger.
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