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Master of Arts




The construction of railroads in the State of Virginia was perhaps the single most important economic development that affected the growth of the state. Connecting isolated sections of the state, railroads enabled rural and urban areas to share their respective contributions to the economic prosperity of the common-wealth. Beginning in 1836, when Virginia's first line was constructed, Virginia railroading developed rapidly from 676 3/4 miles in 1851 to 1,954 miles in 1880.

One of the lines that contributed to this economic development was a short thirty-eight mile track that ran from Richmond to West Point at the head of the York River. Constructed to provide an eastern terminus for storing and shipping products and transporting passengers, the line opened in the fall of 1860. Connections were immediately established with Baltimore by steamers, and the company hoped to soon expand the railroad's route.

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