Norfolk Railroad

Short History of the Norfolk & Western Railway

 The history of the Norfolk & Western Railway had its beginning in the 1830’s when the state of Illinois planned a railroad Indiana line near Danville, Illinois. Its first name was Northern Cross. When it reached Naples, Illinois the name changed to the Great Western Rail­road of Illinois.

Other men and other lines were added and connected to this system. When Ohio joined the name changed to the Toledo and Illinois Railroad company (1852). Another company in the same area was called The Lake Erie, Wabash & St. Louis Railroad Company (1852). In 1856 these two consolidated and became known as the Toledo, Wabash & Western Railroad company.

In 1870 the Hannibal & Naples Railroad Company was completed and operated by The Toledo, Wabash & Western Railway.

In August, 1871 the Hannibal and Central Missouri Railroad was comple­ted between Hannibal and Moberly, Mo. through Monroe City, Mo. This line was leased to The Toledo, Wabash and Western Railway Company. The following is quoted from The Railroad Gazette of September 2, 1871:

“Hannibal and Central Missouri Railroad Company.

“This road, which was been for sometime in progress from Hannibal westward, seventy miles, to Moberly, Missouri, on the North Missouri Road Company was completed on the 21st of August, the road forms an important western connection for the Toledo, Wabash & Western Road, being on nearly and exact air line between Toledo and Kansas City and making the distance between these places, via The North Missouri, 660 miles - 42 miles shorter than the present route via The Hannibal & St. Joseph Road.”

The Hannibal & Central Missouri Railroad was conveyed to the Mis­souri, Kansas and Texas Railway Com­pany in June, 1873. Traffic of The Toledo, Wabash & Western Railway was then interchanged with and ban­died by the M. K. & T. Railroad until November, 1897 when the Wabash Railroad was given joint use of the line between Moberly and Hannibal. In August, 1923, the Wabash was given exclusive use of the line and it was purchased by the Wabash Railroad in 1944 and opened and operated by the Wabash. Passenger service was discontinued many years ago.

In Missouri the Norfolk & Western Railway, formerly the Wabash Railroad had its origin when on March 3,1851 the North Missouri Railroad was chartered to build a line of railroad from St. Charles, Mo. to the Missouri-Iowa state line. Later the charter was amended to extend the line from St. Louis.

On October 25, 18779, the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railway Company was incorporated and the several segments east and west of the Mississippi River were consolidated into one great railroad system. On August 1, 1889 the name was changed to the Wabash Railroad Company.

Between World War II and 1963 the Wabash Railroad has been improved in every area from signal devices to diesel engines to better passenger train equipment where it serves passengers.

In 1963 the Wabash Railroad Company merged with the Norfolk & Western Railway Company. After the merger the railroad retained the name Norfolk & Western Railway Company. Since 1963 much track work has been done to improve the railroad line.