The Bill to Regulate Express Transportation

February 8, 1867


There was a disconnection of trade and transport between the city of Washington and the other cities the railroad would connect to after the bridge over the Potomac river was destroyed. After the decision to remodel and rebuild was made, decisions on where the terminuses would be located and to what cities they would benefit became the main question.


This bill which was ordered to be engrossed in the House yesterday, in Section 1st allows all railroad companies to do express business to the extent of fifteen thousand pounds of freight to be sent with each passenger train. If an amount excedding this is offered it shall carried in ratable proportions-as we read the bill, even if offered by an express company They may charge forty percent. addition to the usual charge for freight:; and on packages of less than five pounds, twenty cents for all distances: of more than five and under twenty pounds, fifty cents for all distances; (no charge for five-pound packages.) Upon money, &e., one-tenth of one percent, of the value for one hundred miles transportation, and ratably for longer distances. Express companies are allowed to charge fifty per eat. upon ordinary freight charges, twen-ty-five and fifty coats for small packages as above, and the same price as the railroads, for carrying money, &e. No additional charge allowed for "delivering," or for "insuring" goods, " or for any other consideration whatever." Section 2d is a provision requiring nonresident express men or companies to deposit $50,000 of Virginia (State or individual, secured by trust-deed upon land) bonds with the State Treasurer, so that such non-residents may be sued to some purpose. Of course the depositors will draw the interest. Section 3d declares that railroad companies "shall not in any manner be liable common carriers" in respect to articles or things entrusted to an express company for transportation. Section 4th prohibits any railroad company from letting its freight trains to third parties. These it must run itself, for itseIf, and on them carry all descriptions of freight for everybody. Section 5th undertakes to secure what is now termed in most abominable English "prorating" as to goods sent long and short distances by express companies. Section 6th prescribes a fine of $100, half to the informer, for each violation of this law.
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Walker Black




“The Bill to Regulate Express Transportation,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed November 28, 2022,