Chessie System (B&O, C&O, WM)

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For all you wee-tykes out there who grew up in the age of GEVOs and SD70 things, the Chessie System was pretty much 1/2 of the muscle that went into the formation of today’s huge CSX system. Seaboard System being the other. Yes, there were several other smaller roads but they came after the fact….

The Chessie (one of my all time favorite paint schemes) was itself a conglomerate of railroads including the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O), the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) and the Western Maryland (WM), affectionately known by us railfans as the Wild Mary.

The important thing to understand about the Chessie System is that it was NOT a railroad…. It was a holding company that controlled the various railroads. Much like Norfolk Southern Corporation, CSX Corporation¬†and Pan Am Railways of today.

The Chessie System itself did not own any locomotives or other rolling stock; rather, equipment was placed on the roster of one of the three component railroads. And while all three companies shared the common paint scheme of yellow, vermillion, and blue, actual ownership of the equipment was denoted by the reporting marks C&O, B&O, or WM.

As seen here, remnants of the “Sleeping Kitten” era of railroading still roam the rails in patched rail cars now serving new owners and industries. I for one am waiting not-so-patiently for CSX to do a heritage unit in the Chessie scheme.

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The Chessie System….