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Brief History

I am not the foremost expert on the subject; briefly, the RF&P was chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1834, with the mission to construct a railroad from Richmond north to the Potomac river. The RF&P had exclusive railroad rights for this corridor.

Construction began shortly thereafter. The line was completed to Aquia north of Fredericksburg in the late 1840s, where they interchanged with steamboats to continue on to Washington. This fulfilled the charter, and they were only allowed a branchline up to 10 miles in length.

During the war, the RF&P was torn up at least twice by each side, and rebuilt each time, each side not wanting to give it to the other when retreating.

The top half of the RF&P from Washington south was created as a PRR subsidiary, the Alexandria and Quantico, which met up with the RF&P's "branch" at Quantico, I believe in 1871. This northern half was later renamed the Washington Southern, and was fully merged into the RF&P in 1922.

Sources recommended for more in-depth accounts (unfortunately out of print):

    William E. Griffin, Jr.'s 1984 account, 150 Years of History Along the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad

    Griffin's second book, the 1994 offering, The Capital Cities Route

Both of these accounts are listed on the resources page

Paint Scheme features over time (draft) (Yes, this is roster material... but this index will eventually be a stepping-stone to historical resources onsite, and the brief history at the top will return to being history.html)
Robert G. McKeever, II, 1997-2000 Suggestions to RobMcKII@aol.com
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Last updated 8 August 2000