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CHAPTER XVIII

FIRST BRIGADE OF CARS

 

Some of the newspaper notices of the events of that day, and the schedules advertised by the company, will no doubt be interesting to our readers and to railroad men of the present time. We will give them as we copied them from old files of the Baltimore newspapers. The Baltimore Americans, May 20, 1830, said: "We understand that a critical examination of the entire line of the first division of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, between this city and Ellicott's Mills, was made on Thursday last, by the president and engineer of the company, for the purpose of testing the solidity of the work. A car was loaded with double the weight intended hereafter to be transported on a single wagon, and was passed over the whole of the first and those parts of the second track which are finished, and it is highly gratifying to learn that, notwithstanding the recent heavy rains, which have placed the work in the most unfavorable condition, it sustained the pressure to the entire satisfaction of those interested in the work. About seven and a quarter miles of the single track are laid on wooden sleepers, and the remaining six and three-quarter miles on stone slabs. Such is the stability of this mode of construction that, in about 16,000 blocks, only forty were observed to be the least affected by the pressure. The horse-path and 'turnouts' are finished, and the necessary arrangements for horses and drivers having been already made, we understand that it is the intention of the company to open the road for public travel on Monday next, the 24th inst."

The Baltimore American, May 24, 1830, said:

"A brigade of cars will run three times a day each way from Baltimore to Ellicott's Mills—passage 25 cents.

"This morning at nine o'clock, in pursuance with previous arrangements of the mayor and the members of the two branches of the City Council, the president, directors, engineer, and officers, of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the editors of the different papers of the city, and a number of strangers, left the depot at the intersection of the railroad with Pratt Street, on an excursion to Ellicott's Mills. The procession was headed by the splendid car Pioneer, in which, together with a number of others, rode the venerable Charles Carroll, of Carrollton. Although the brigade was of large dimensions and filled with passengers, it was drawn with great ease by one horse at a rapid rate. The appearance which they presented was novel and interesting in the extreme. A great number of persons, attracted by the novelty of the sight, many attended at the depot and along the course of the road, and all, as far as we could learn, were unanimous in the expression of the opinion that the experiment was calculated to dissipate the doubts of those (if there be any such) who are yet skeptical as to the manifold advantages of this over all other modes of fostering our internal commerce.

" P. S.—Since the above was written, we learn that the party of excursionists had returned, accomplishing the distance (thirteen miles) in one hour and four minutes."

Another extract reads as follows:

"The weather yesterday being remarkably mild and pleasant, vast numbers availed themselves of the opportunity to examine the road and viaduct, and enjoy the gratification of a ride in one of Winans's carriages. The Hon. Postmaster General, having reached the city, and being desirous of visiting the road, accompanied the gentlemen attached to the road. It carriage being brought out, the party, consisting of twenty-four ladies and gentlemen, including the Postmaster-General, were drawn to the viaduct by one horse, in actually a little less than six minutes. After alighting to view the magnificent granite structure, the party again seated themselves, and were conveyed back to Pratt Street at the extraordinary rate of fifteen miles per hour. In order to show the perfect ease and rapidity with which heavy loads can be transported over well-constructed railroads, three carriages were attached to each other, and, being filled with more than eighty persons, were rapidly drawn by one horse, at the rate of eight miles per hour. Average each person at 150 lbs., and estimate the carriages at two and a half tons, a single horse actually drew a load of eight and a half tons, at a speed of eight miles per hour, and this extraordinary result was accomplished without any apparent distress to the animal, or indeed uncommon exertion on his part."

In another number of the American, we read that an experiment was made for the transportation of two hundred barrels of flour, with a single horse, with the most triumphant success. The flour was deposited in a train of eight cars, and made, together with the cars of the passengers, an entire load of thirty tons. The train was drawn, from Ellicott's Mills to the Relay House, six and a half miles in forty-six minutes. The horse was then changed, and the train, having again started, reached the depot on Pratt Street in sixty-nine minutes, thus accomplishing the thirteen miles in one hour and fifty-four minutes, or at the rate of six and three-fourths of a mile an hour.

We will close these extracts with the following copy of an advertisement, made forty years ago, for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad:

"RAILROAD NOTICE.—A sufficient number of cars being provided for the accommodation of passengers, notice is hereby given that the following arrangements for the arrival and departure of carriages have been adopted, and will take effect on and after Monday morning, the 5th inst., viz.: A brigade of cars will leave the depot in Pratt Street at 6 and 10 o'clock A.M. and at 3 to 4 o'clock P.M., and will leave the depot at Ellicott's Mills at 6 and at 8 o'clock A.M., and at 12 and 6 o'clock P.M.

"Way-passengers will provide themselves with tickets at the office of the company in Baltimore, or at the depot at Pratt Street or Ellicott's Mills, or at the Relay House, near Elk Ridge Landing.

"The evening way-car for Ellicott's Mills will continue to leave the depot, Pratt Street, at 6 o'clock as usual.
"N.B.—Positive orders have been issued to the drivers to receive no passengers into any of the cars without tickets.

P. S.—Parties desirous to engage a car for the day, can be accommodated after July 8th."

When we compare our present mode of travelling from one city to another, over hundreds and thousands of miles by railroads, being comfortably seated in the most magnificent cars by day, and snugly resting by night in commodious sleeping-cars, we cannot refrain from wonder in attempting to conceive how our forefathers, Forty years ago, could content themselves to make a journey even in the most urgent cases, and at all seasons of the year, in the old-fashioned stage-coaches over a rough turnpike, or in canal-packets. But at that time nothing better was known; and the fast line of stages, and the packet-line on the canal, were the best the country could boast of, if we except the beautiful steamers that navigated some of our rivers. The early methods of travelling when railroads were first brought to notice were only one remove, in convenience and improvement, from those we have just described.

In connection with the early operations of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, as compared with the present, the following "travelling memoranda,'' published in the New-York Gazette, in May, 1831, furnish some reminiscences worthy of preservation.

"Having, last week, business in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and the city of Washington, I started at six P.M. on Monday. In order to show the facilities afforded at the present day to do much business in a short time, I send you a sketch of my excursion.

"Left New York at six A.M. on Monday. Arrived in Philadelphia at five P.M. called on four persons. Settled my business with them by nine. Went to bed; and started on Tuesday morning at six for Baltimore, where I arrived at five P.M. Got through with my business there at half-past nine. Went to bed. Started at four on Wednesday for Washington, and arrived a little after nine A.M. Dressed, called on the President, and finished my business with him. Dined at Gadsby's. Took a hack in the afternoon, rode several miles, and completed my business with four persons. Took tea with a friend. Slept at Gadsby's. Started at four A.M. on Thursday, on my return. Arrived at Baltimore at ten, visited the cathedral, Washington Monument and the waterworks, before dinner. Dined at Barnum's splendid hotel. Partook of a bottle of wine with three Albanians; at three mounted a car, with seventy-two passengers, on railroad. Visited Ellicott's thirteen miles from Baltimore. Returned to Baltimore before dark. Took tea, and afterward, in a hack, visited the venerable Mr. Carroll, of Carrollton. Returned to Barnum's. Went to bed; and started for Philadelphia, where I arrived at half-past six. Made several friendly visits. Went to bed. Started on Saturday and reached New York at half-past five the same day. Was thus absent nearly six days—traveling about six hundred miles, and completing all my business at the expense of forty dollars and seventy cents.

"The observations that I made were, that Baltimore and Philadelphia are looking up. In both places the bustle of business reminded me of home, that is to say, New York. The canal which connects the Delaware with the Chesapeake, through which I passed in two hours, is a great and useful work. The railroad, which already passes several miles beyond Ellicott's Mills, is a most delightful and useful mode of conveyance. The car in which I took my passage to Ellicott's Mills (four others in company) contained twenty-two passengers, drawn by one horse, and the time going the thirteen miles was one hour and a quarter. By the 1st of July the locomotives will be in operation upon the railroad, when the same distance will be traveled in thirty minutes.

Those who have seen and traveled only in the comfortable and convenient passenger-cars of the present day cannot comprehend the tedious progress with which such improvements have been made. The first passenger-car was like a market-car on railroad-wheels. Then came cars resembling the old-fashioned stage-coach, with the same springs and leather braces, and carrying nine passengers each, with a driver's seat perched upon either end, as there was no such contrivance as a turntable at that early day. For long time the cars were gaudily painted, with a small increase in the size. One of those, built by Mr. Richard Imlay, is thus described in the Baltimore American, August 4, 1830:

"A number of persons visited Monument Square, yesterday, for the purpose of examining a very elegant railroad passenger-carriage, just finished by Mr. Imlay, and intended to be immediately placed on the road.

"The arrangement for the accommodation of passengers is, in some respects, different from any other which has yet been adopted. The body of the carriage will contain twelve persons, and the outside seats at either end will receive six, including the driver. On the top of the carriage is placed a double sofa, running lengthwise, which will accommodate twelve more. A wire netting rises from two sides of the top of the carriage, to a height which renders the top seats perfectly secure. The whole is surmounted by an iron framework, with an awning to protect from the snow or rain. The carriage, which is named the 'Ohio,' is very handsomely finished, and will, we have no doubt, be a great favorite with the visitors to the railroad, the number of whom, we are gratified to learn, continues to be as great as it was at the opening of the road."


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