Martinsburg in Berkeley County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Roundhouses and Shops / Railroad Strike of 1877
Railroad Strike of 1877. On July 16. 1877, workers of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad went on strike and closed this railroad yard to protest a cut in wages. Their action sparked the largest nationwide strike the country had seen. Extensive damage was done to company property at Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Wheeling, and over 50 workers were killed before the strike was crushed. Federal troops were used for the first time in a labor dispute. As the countryís first general strike, it focused national attention on labors grievances and made workers aware of the power of collective action.
Erected 1978 by West Virginia Department of Culture and History.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) marker series.
Location. 39° 27.492′ N, 77° 57.642′ W. Marker is in Martinsburg, West Virginia, in Berkeley County. Marker is on East Martin Street near White Avenue. Click for map. Marker is at the railroad station. Marker is in this post office area: Martinsburg WV 25401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 9 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Berkeley Hotel (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Belle Boyd House (about 600 feet away); Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Shop Complex (about 600 feet away); Martinsburg Roundhouse (about 600 feet away); Baltimore and Ohio Roundhouse and Shop Complex (about 600 feet away); a different marker also named Belle Boyd House (about 600 feet away); Avenue of Flags Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); Civil War Martinsburg (approx. 0.2 miles away); Gen. Adam Stephen (approx. ľ mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Martinsburg.
More about this marker. Today Martinsburg is just a railroad stop. The roundhouses and shops are empty and the yard is gone. But the buildings are being refurbished and repurposed as an arts venue. A pedestrian overpass over the tracks will soon connect Martinsburg historic district with the shops.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. 1877 Strike marker in Baltimore, MD
Also see . . .
1. Martinsburg B&O Roundhouse History.
2. B&O Railroad Strike of 1877. 1877 articles in the Martinsburg Statesman
3. East End: B&O's Neck of the Bottle. Harpers Ferry to Cumberland 1842 - 1992.
4. Baltimore and Ohio in West Virginia (Images of Rail).
5. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (Railroad Color History).
6. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (MBI Railroad Color History).
7. Baltimore and Ohio's Capitol Limited and National Limited (Great Passenger Trains).
8. Route of the National Limited (Baltimore and Ohio Passenger Service, Volume 1).
9. Route of the Capitol Limited (Baltimore and Ohio Passenger Service, Volume 2).
10. The Great Road: The Building of the Baltimore and Ohio, the Nation's First Railroad 1828 - 1853.
11. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in the Potomac Valley (Golden Years of Railroading).
12. Chessie System: Railroads in West Virginia.
13. Chessie System (MBI Railroad Color History).
14. CSX (MBI Railroad Color History).
1. A Lot of Passenger Trains
Martinsburg was well connected to the rest of the country during the 75 or so years that railroads dominated transportation in the 19th and 20th century. Both the B&O Railroad and the Cumberland Valley Railroad, later the Pennsylvania, transported passengers to and from Martinsburg. The B&Oís main line from Washington to the west ran through Martinsburg. In the 1940s and early í50s twelve passenger trains stopped here in each direction, including The Capitol Limited, The Washingtonian, The Columbian, The National Limited, The Diplomat, The Shenandoah, The West Virginian, the Washington-Cleveland Night Express, and the Blue Ridge Limited. Thru first class and coach cars could be boarded to Washington, Baltimore, and New York eastbound, and westbound to Wheeling, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis. Today the Capitol Limited, now run by Amtrak, stops in Martinsburg every day on its way between Washington and Chicago. And a number of Marylandís Department of Transportation MARC commuter trains begin and end their runs here in Martinsburg.
2. Another Railroad Book
Hollis, Jeffrey R. and Charles S. Roberts (1992) East End B&O's "Neck of the Bottle:" Harpers Ferry to Cumberland (Barnard Roberts, Baltimore)
3. Amtrak and Commuter Rail Passenger Service
All long-distance rail passenger service to Martinsburg came to an end when Amtrak was created on May 1, 1971. There was only one commuter train to Washington DC weekday mornings and one commuter train coming back to Martinsburg in the evening.
There is (or was) a provision in Amtrak's charter that required Amtrak to operate experimental service. Amtrak's attempt to comply with this provision resulted in a train named the "Potomac Turbo." This train went between Washington DC and Parkersburg WV. The train used turbotrain equipment built by United Aircraft (UA) for the New Haven Railroad passenger service between New Haven CT and Boston MA.
This service did not last long. The UA turbotrain required too much maintenance to be economical. The "Potomac Turbo" was soon replaced by a train called the "Potomac Special." The "Potomac Special"
Additional changes came fairly quickly. The "Potomac Special" was replaced by a train with a shorter run. This was the "Blue Ridge," a train that ran between Washington DC and Martinsburg WV. The "Blue Ridge" had a P30CH diesel electric locomotive and Amfleet cars.
There was also a train called the "Shenandoah." The "Shenandoah" was an overnight train between Washington DC and Cincinatti OH. The "Shenandoah" used a P30CH diesel electric locomotive, too. The "Shenandoah" had a Heritage Sleeping Car, an Amcoach and an Amfleet food service car.
So, for a time Martinsburg was served by two Amtrak trains, the "Shenandoah" and the "Blue Ridge."
Neither train attracted enough passengers to last long. Amtrak was required to eliminate service whose cost recovery was too low.
One of the results of this cost cutting was to change the Washington DC section of the "Broadway Limited." The "Broadway Limited" had operated as a single train between Chicago IL and Harrisburg PA. The "Broadway Limited" was split into two parts at Harrisburg. Most of the cars went on to New York, NY. A few cars went to Washington DC.
Amtrak decided to create an entirely new train that would use a shorter route. The new train began
So this brings us up to date. Martinsburg sees one Amtrak train a day - the "Capitol Limited." This train has the numbers 29 (westbound) and 30 (eastbound).
Martinsburg also has several MARC commuter trains that operate Monday through Friday. There are two MARC trains that go into Washington DC in the morning. There are three MARC trains that operate to Martinsburg weekday afternoons.
Categories. • Labor Unions • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page originally submitted on June 19, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 4,973 times since then. This page was the Marker of the Week September 23, 2007. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on June 19, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. 4. submitted on April 17, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on June 19, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.