Beautifully engraved antique bond certificate from the Maryland and Pennsylvania Rail Road Company dating back to the 1870's. This document, which is signed by the company President and Treasurer, was printed by Brueker & Kessler of Philadelphia and measures approximately 15 3/4" (w) by 18" (h) - which includes the first four rows of coupons as pictured.
This certificate features two vignettes - a train scene at the top and the Liberty allegory at the bottom.
Very rare piece, with a Cox valuation of $500 - $750.
The Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad was formed from two earlier 19th-century 3 ft narrow gauge railways: the Baltimore & Delta Railway, later the Baltimore and Lehigh Railway, and the York and Peach Bottom Railway, later the York Southern Railroad. Construction of the Baltimore & Delta Railway started in 1881, and passenger trains between Baltimore and Towson, Maryland, began on April 17, 1882. Later that year the company was merged into the Maryland Central Railroad. The line was extended northward to Bel Air, Maryland on June 21, 1883, and the following January, the line was completed to Delta, Pennsylvania.
In Pennsylvania, the Peach Bottom Railway was incorporated in 1871. The railway's Middle Division laid narrow gauge track between York and Red Lion by August 1874 and completed its line southward to Delta in 1876. It went bankrupt in 1881 and was reorganized as the York and Peach Bottom Railway (Y&PB) in 1882. The Y&PB merged with the Maryland Central Railway (successor to the Maryland Central RR) in 1891, becoming the Baltimore and Lehigh, and the new company operated trains on the combined track between York and Baltimore.
Both railroads struggled with light freight traffic and financial difficulties in the 1890s. Because of their narrow gauge construction, the Baltimore and Lehigh Railway and York Southern Railroad could not interchange freight cars with other lines. The two companies finally converted to standard gauge between 1898–1900 and subsequently merged to form the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad on February 12, 1901. The result was the circuitous, 77.2-mile "Ma and Pa" route between Baltimore and York, compared to the competing Pennsylvania Railroad's more direct 56-mile distance between the two cities on its Northern Central Railway division. The completed line had grades up to 2.3 percent and 55 sharp curves of 16–20 degrees (most mainline railroads seldom exceed six degrees, and even the former Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad's mainline through the Rocky Mountains does not exceed 12 degrees).
Following the merger, the Ma and Pa operated through passenger and freight trains between York and Baltimore, as well as local trains at each end of the line, hauling mail and express, slate, marble, anthracite coal, lumber, furniture, and agricultural products to market. Particularly on the Pennsylvania Division (Delta–York), slate from Delta and manufactured goods from Red Lion and York were mainstays of the railroad's outbound freight traffic in the early years. On the Maryland Division, inbound anthracite coal deliveries accounted for a significant volume of carloadings, along with milk from the many dairy farms in the area. One early morning train from Fallston boarded more than 1,100 gallons of milk daily and was dubbed the "Milky Way". The line was profitable and traffic volume was such that additional locomotives were necessary.
With increasing competition from trucks and automobiles in the 1920s, passenger volume began to decline along with less-than-carload freight, such as milk from the many dairy farms along the Ma and Pa's pastoral route. The Ma and Pa substituted more economical, self-propelled gas-electric passenger cars for steam-powered passenger trains in 1927–1928. Carload freight volume increased in the 1920s, however, as more industries located along the line, and earnings were strong enough for the company to declare dividends in 1930 and 1931. The Ma and Pa's relative prosperity ended with the economic downturn during the Great Depression, which cut the railroad's gross revenues by half from 1932 to 1935.
In the mid-1930s, the Ma and Pa became an early favorite of railfans, attracted by its hilly, curving line through rural Maryland and Pennsylvania. The railroad offered several popular fan excursions pulled by its elderly steam locomotives.
Following the end of World War II, the Ma and Pa acquired four diesel locomotives for more economical operations, but traffic declined significantly. When the Ma and Pa's mail contract was cancelled by the U.S. postal service, the railroad discontinued all passenger service on August 31, 1954. One person on the last passenger train recalled that many riders came from as far away as Boston, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C., to participate in the historic event, along with members of the National Railway Historical Society. The picturesque line's last steam engine dropped its fire for the final time on November 29, 1956.
The lack of traffic on the railroad's 44-mile Baltimore–Whiteford Maryland Division in the 1950s was particularly acute. One of the last major shipments to occur was Indiana limestone for the construction of Baltimore's Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in 1956. The Baltimore–Whiteford segment in Maryland was finally abandoned altogether on June 11, 1958, leaving only the stone abutments where the tracks crossed York Road in Towson on a steel girder bridge. A local group of history buffs placed a bronze plaque on the west abutment in 1999, commemorating the departed railroad's place in Towson history.