Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. W. Harrison Daniel


The Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad Company (RF&P) is the only American railroad that has operated for over a century and a half under its original name and charter without reorganization. It is also the last remaining company in which the Commonwealth of Virginia held stock that was purchased in 1834 to encourage the development of transportation within the State.

This thesis covers the history of this company with major emphasis on the period 1955-1991. It was during this time that the RF&P was transformed from a "pure railroad" to a corporation that not only owned a strategic 113 mile railroad between Richmond, Virginia and Washington, D.C., but also became actively involved in real estate development, which has become a very important segment of the company's business. The saga over the battle for control of this company had been going on for the last decade. This thesis covers the final contest of control between the CSX Corporation and the Commonwealth of Virginia in which the CSX gained control of the railroad and the state gained control of the company's real estate assets. A great deal of research in primary materials covering the last thirty-six years has been used by the author together with a good bit of oral history through a number of interviews with present and former employees and officials of the company. Newspapers were used extensively to cover the political side of this story. The author was a Director of RF&P and his participation in the events of the last ten years gave him a firsthand insight into the affairs of the company.

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