Waiting For The Train


The waiting room at the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway’s Huntington
station featured a combination snack bar and newsstand.

Photo courtesy the C & O Historical Society


HUNTINGTON — When rail tycoon Collis P. Huntington purchased a mostly
 vacant stretch of river bottom to be the western terminus of his Chesapeake
 & Ohio Railway, he ordered the immediate construction of extensive
 car and locomotive shop facilities, two rows of houses for the
railroad’s workers and a three-story passenger station.

The station was completed and ready to greet the first
train from Richmond, Virginia, when it arrived in
Mr. Huntington’s new town on Jan. 29, 1873.

The C&O’s first Huntington station would continue to welcome
passengers for the next 40 years. But by 1913, the old depot
was showing its age and so the railroad built a new
station of Georgian design, similar to stations it
built in some of the other large communities
it served. The old station was
 then demolished.

For decades, the C&O’s passenger trains were part
of the daily fabric of life in Huntington. Untold
thousands of rail journeys began and ended
at the C&O’s vintage 1913 station in
Huntington, where its waiting
room was always
 a busy place.

But in the years after World War II, growing competition
 from the airlines and the nation’s new interstate
highways pushed railroad passenger
 service into a virtual freefall.

In 1971, most U.S. railroads, including the C&O, conveyed their
 passenger operations to the National Railroad Passenger
Corporation, the quasi-governmental operation better
known as Amtrak. The last C&O passenger train
pulled out of the Huntington station just
 hours before Amtrak took over.

Today, CSX Transportation, the corporate
 successor to the old C&O, uses the
 former station to house
various offices.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Mar. 14, 2023.


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