ExCon90 wrote: ↑Fri Dec 27, 2019 3:54 pm
According to the PRR Centennial History (commissioned by PRR in 1946 from Coverdale & Colpitts), on June 21, 1870 Congress extended to the Baltimore & Potomac perpetual use of the Long Bridge free of cost, the B&P being required to maintain the bridge and grant access to other railroads seeking to connect with roads in Virginia. This took possession from the B&O, which had had control until then. Nothing is stated about who built it in the first place, but Congress had control of it. (Would have been interesting to be the proverbial fly on the wall during some of those negotiations.)
The Cloverdale & Colpitts narrative on the Long Bridge referenced by ExCon90 is available in full on the Hagley site here
Additionally, for those interested, extensive details on the very complex political and economic factors, actors and events can be found in Albert Churella's The Pennsylvania Railroad Vol 1
in Chapter 10.
In 1831 the Federal Government acquired the rights to a bridge at this location from the private owners of the first (1809) bridge. There were no rails across the river until 1862, laid by the Union military. I believe it is these bridge rights that were transferred to the B&P in the 1870 act of Congress.
Private Union side investors built a new, parallel bridge in 1864 (presumably with the blessing of the Union government). The original bridge was apparently removed soon after being badly damaged in 1865. After the Civil War. court decisions also c.1870 awarded the bridge and trackage north from the state line at the Virginia shore to these union investors and the trackage south of the bridge to pre-war Virginia interests. Exactly how the B&P acquired the investors interest is not clear, but clearly they did as from that point forward the B&P then the PB&W and eventually the PRR itself (through various consolidations) paid for all further maintenance (and several replacements) as well as operated the bridge - to the Virginia state line.
While CSX is retaining ownership of the existing bridge, it would seem one of the things they might be conveying in the deal are rights to construct an additional bridge, derived from those granted to the B&P in 1870.