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Virginian Railway Company


SKU: 798
Product Details

Beautifully engraved antique bond certificate from the Virginian Railway Company dating back to the 1960's. This document, which is signed by the company Vice President and Secretary, was printed by the American Bank Note Company, and measures approximately 13 1/2" (w) by 9 1/2" (h).


This certificate features a great vignette of a steaming train flanked by a pair of allegorical male figures.

You will receive the exact certificate pictured.

    Historical Context

    Early in the 20th century, William Nelson Page, a civil engineer and coal mining manager, joined forces with a silent partner, industrialist financier Henry Huttleston Rogers (a principal of Standard Oil and one of the wealthiest men in the world), to develop the Deepwater Railway, a modest 85-mile long short line railroad to access untapped bituminous coal reserves in some of the most rugged sections of southern West Virginia. When Page was blocked by collusion of the bigger railroads, who refused to grant reasonable rates to interchange the coal traffic, he did not give up as they no doubt had anticipated. As he continued building the original project, to provide their own link, using Rogers' resources and attorneys they quietly incorporated another intrastate railroad in Virginia, the Tidewater Railway. In this name, they secured the right-of-way needed all the way across Virginia to reach Hampton Roads, where a new coal pier was erected at Sewell's Point.

    The two projects were legally joined and renamed the Virginian Railway in early 1907. Despite efforts to stop them, they then built the "Mountains to Sea" railroad right under the noses of the big railroads and the elite group of a few industrialists (so-called "robber barons") who controlled them. Completed in 1909, the Virginian Railway was largely financed through Rogers' personal fortune. It was a modern well-engineered railroad with all-new infrastructure and could operate more efficiently than its larger competitors.

    The last spike in the Virginian Railway was driven on January 29, 1909, at the west side of the massive New River Bridge at Glen Lyn, near where the new railroad crossed the West Virginia-Virginia state line.

    In April 1909, Henry Huttleston Rogers and Mark Twain, old friends, returned to Norfolk, Virginia together once again for a huge celebration of the new "Mountains to the Sea" railroad's completion.

    Rogers left the next day on his first (and only) tour of the newly completed railroad. He died suddenly only six weeks later at the age of 69 at his home in New York. But by then, the work of the Page-Rogers partnership to build the Virginian Railway had been completed.

    During World War I, the Virginian was jointly operated with its adjacent competitor, the Norfolk & Western Railway (N&W), under the USRA's wartime takeover of the Pocahontas Roads. The operating efficiencies were significant. After the war, the railroads were returned to their respective owners and competitive status. However, N&W never lost sight of VGN and its low-grade routing through Virginia.

    After World War I there were many attempts by C&O, N&W, and others to acquire the Virginian Railway. However, the US Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) turned down attempts at combining the roads until the late 1950s, when a proposed Norfolk & Western Railway and Virginian Railway merger was approved in 1959.