Wheeling Terminal Railway

Railroad / West Virginia

The Wheeling Terminal Railway (WT) is a former 9½ mile railroad between Martins Ferry, Ohio and Wheeling, West Virginia.


History

After a series of bankruptcies and consolidations between 1882 and 1889, the Wheeling Bridge & Terminal Railway (WB&T) was proposed to consist of 10½ miles of track from the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad at Martin’s Ferry, Ohio to Wheeling via a 2,097-foot double-track bridge 3 over the Ohio River, and three tunnels that are 537 feet, 1,203 feet, and 2,406 feet long, respectively. 2

Lineage

  1. Wheeling Terminal Railway (WT) was incorporated on June 20, 1900, as a reorganization of the WB&T, and operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) effective January 1, 1921. 5 6
  2. Wheeling Bridge & Terminal Railway (WB&T) was incorporated on September 12, 1889. The WB&T purchased the MFT on April 17, 1893, and sold under foreclosure to form the WT on June 14, 1900. 5 6
  3. Wheeling & Harrisburg Railway Company of West Virginia, a consolidation of the W&H and the EG&SL, was incorporated on March 25, 1884. It was renamed to the WB&T on September 12, 1889. 5 6
  4. Wheeling & Harrisburg Railway (W&H) was incorporated on March 6, 1882 and consolidated with the EG&SL to form the Wheeling & Harrisburg Railway Company of West Virginia on March 25, 1884. 5 6
  5. Elm Grove & State Line Railroad (EG&SL) was incorporated on November 10, 1883, and consolidated with the W&H to form the Wheeling & Harrisburg Railway Company of West Virginia on March 25, 1884. 5 6
  6. Martins Ferry Terminal Railroad Company (MFT) was incorporated on October 10, 1888, and sold under foreclosure and purchased by the WB&T on April 17, 1893. 5 6

The Ohio River crossing was designed by Job Abbott, a consulting engineer for the WB&T, 2 built by the Edge Moor Bridge Works of Wilmington, Delaware, and opened to traffic on September 11, 1891. After crossing the river, the WB&T crossed under Mt. Wood via a 537-foot and a 1,203-foot tunnel 3 6 before crossing Wheeling Creek on a 320-foot deck truss bridge. The 4.7-mile line then connected with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) at 27th Street in Wheeling. 5 6

Wheeling Terminal Railway

A 2.2-mile extension from the B&O to the Riverside Iron Works, including a 2,406-foot tunnel under Chapline Hill, was finished by May 1895. 5 The WB&T was then extended .38 miles south to 9th Street in Benwood by November 1896. The Mt. Hood tunnels were partially rebuilt in 1904. 4

In January 1921, the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) took over operations of the WT. 6 The Chapline Hill Tunnel saw significant work in 1926.

The line saw two short abandonments. In 1926, the .60 miles of line from the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad junction to the DeHass Bridge in Martins Ferry was dismantled, and in 1929, 1.28 miles of line was disused in Benwood. 6

In 1938, the last passenger train crossed the Ohio River bridge and tunnels and was outright abandoned in 1982. 2 After 11 years of disuse, the Ohio River crossing was removed in 1993.


Gallery

Mt. Wood Tunnel and Wheeling Creek Bridge

Chapline Hill Tunnel


Sources

  1. Titchenal, Stephen. Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad History. N.p.: n.p., 2014. Print.
  2. “Wheeling Terminal Railway Bridge.” Ohio County Public Library. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.
  3. “THE WHEELING, W.VA. BRIDGE AND TERMINAL SYSTEM.” Once A Week 6.16 (1891): 13. Print.
  4. Plaque.
  5. Netzlof, Robert T. “Corporate Genealogy Wheeling Terminal.” Railroad Data primarily related to the Pennsylvania Railroad. 20 Jan. 2008. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.
  6. “The Wheeling Terminal Railway Company.” The Pennsylvania Railroad Company: The Corporate, Financial and Construction History of Lines Owned, Operated and Controlled To December 31, 1945, Volume III Lines West of Pittsburgh 3 (1946): 648-63. Print.