The Norfolk and Western Railway 1870–1981


Map Code: Ax01992

The Norfolk and Western Railway (NW) began life as the Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio Railroad and operated from 1870, after damaged railway systems were restored following the US Civil War. The Railway was owned by William and Otelia Mahone, Virginians, rumoured to have created the acronym, AM&O, to mean ‘All Mine and Otelia’s’. The Railway was the result of three railroad mergers and ran westwards across southern Virginia and northwards to Columbus, Ohio. After financial problems in 1881, it was purchased by a private banking firm and renamed the Norfolk and Western. The NW rapidly expanded and incorporated further lines, which enabled its steam locomotives to transport coal from coal-mining districts in southern Virginia to Norfolk. It also connected Roanoke to Shenandoah Valley-Hagerstown, Maryland, after purchasing the Shenandoah Valley Railroad in 1890. In the 1950s it merged with the Virginian Railway and teamed up with Southern Railway in 1980, becoming the Norfolk Southern Railway.

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