Saturday, January 12, 2008

two railroads

One interesting problem arose in shipping orders to some areas. Charlottesville, being located at the junction of two railroads, offered transportation facilities north and south, and east and west. The east-west route was served by General Willlam Mahone's Atlantic, Mississippi, and Ohio Railroad. About 1873 Mahone refused to come to terns with the Adams Express Company, and express service along the route was disrupted. When loud complaints went up in Richmond, the Charlottesville Woolen Mills joined the clamor as its east-west trade in Virginia began to dry up. "Today," a mill spokesman cried, "we ship a bale of woollens [sic] - to Bristol, which has to go via Danville, Charlotte, Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Knoxville to reach its destination." Some buyers even requested that orders be sent by freight because that method was faster than the circuitous express system. No doubt others preferred to make purchases from mills not located on such undependable transportation systems. The outcome of the problem is not known, but the episode is an interesting commentary on railroad abuses in that day. --Harry Poindexter

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