The Danville Railroad Company

September 21, 1870


While railroads have been rapidly growing in popularity, that does not make them perfect. In this article, the various pros and cons of the Danville Railroad Company, and the railroad it plans on building, are laid out.


The Danville Railroad Company. The Danville Railroad Company promises to become one of the most wealthy in the State. Its present condition is good, and its prospects are admirable. When the connections now in progress are finished to Atlanta, the Danville railroad will be the most direct line of communication with the Gulf States, and must become the most traveled of all southern lines. We look forward to the time when these connections will be finished for a more thorough establishment of the Danville road upon the basis of modern enterprise and that sort of liberality in the charges for transportation that, when wisely regulated, never fails to bring rich rewards to a com- pany. The policy of cultivating freight as a man cultivates land to increase its production should begin from the period a railway is put into operation. Nothing that lies idle in the country traversed by a railway - no- thing that maybe converted into money if taken to market, and that will entirely perish if not so taken to market - should be allowed to be lost. Freights should be re- duced until such articles are lifted up, as it were, and put into the cars and carried where they may be saved and added to the common wealth. Thus a railway benefits the community, and is constantly increasing its own business and prosperity - i. e., suc- cessfully cultivating freight. This policy has not been pursued by Vir- ginia roads; but, as their connections are extended, as the volume of transportation is increased, and, of course, the competition becomes more active, they will be forced to liberalize their schedules and increase the activity, punctuality, and expedition of their system of management. We shall not make any special complaint about the Dan- ville railroad. It is best to assail them in the general. These roads are exceedingly well fortified, and are very apt not only to defend themselves, but to convict you of having wronged them, however right you may be. So we make these remarks gene- ral, and have an abiding faith that as most railroads in Virginia, when local, have been narrow and contracted in their manage- ment, as they are extended and become what we may call national, they will be liberalized and modernized by the com- petition they will encounter, and will give a new spur to trade and industry. We are aware that the Danville railroad has made considerable reductions in its freights, and have no doubt that it has already begun to feel a growing vigor from the progress of its connections and its en- couraging prospects. We desire to see this road prosper. It is a road whose trade will necessarily be given to Richmond, and we are especially inter- ested in seeing such additions to its power and energy as will make its operations in the highest degree active and successful. The company has recently made a pur- chase of the stock of the State in its road. This purchase must redound greatly to the advantage of the stockholders, unless they part with it at some period before the busi- ness of the road shall have the value of the stock to a price worthy of a highway of such magnitude. The State had originally twelve thousand shares in the road. The company has since directed an issue of new stock to an amount equal to that of the original number of shares; but, as that does not change the aggregate amount held by each stock- holder (an original share being worth as much as two of the new Issue), we may count the States interest at twelve thousand shares, or $600,000 of that being near the pre- sent value of $1,200,000 of State bonds, with which the company must pay for the stock. The company has six years to pay this $600,000. This can be managed in sev- eral modes, quite plain to moneyed and business men, and a large gain may be secured to the present stock- holders. They should not part with the State stock or any material part of it, as that would endanger their subjection to the control and influence of possibly stran- gers whose interests may be incompatible with those of Virginia. We heard a very practical and sensible gentleman declare the other day that he wished to see the stock sold and passed into the hands of active strangers, whose great energy and know- ledge of railroad management would im- part new lite and prosperity to the Dan- ville road. We have no objection to the increase of these valuable qualities in the management of the road, but there in peril in submitting to outside influences. We trust to the moral effect of the ex- pansion of business, and competition, to correct many things needing reform, and expect to see the Danville road in a few years quite up to the requirements of the age. If this can be accomplished, and the stockholders can make such use of the newly-purchased State stock as will enure to their advantage, it will be just to all and well for the State. The credit of the road, which President Buford is managing with success, is quite sufficient to enable it to maintain easily the $000,000 debt for six years. The bonds of the company, or a preferred stock, would soon raise the means to absorb all the State stock, through State bonds at their present low quotations. There can be no difficulty about the matter, and there is no good reason for the uneasi- ness of the stockholders, shown at their late meeting, on the subject to increasing the debt of the company.
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Travis Terry




“The Danville Railroad Company,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed November 27, 2021,