Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O), former U.S. transportation company with railroad lines in eight states, Washington, D.C., and Ontario, Canada. Founded as the Louisa RR Company in Virginia in 1836, the railroad changed its name to the Virginia Central Company in 1850. It served the Confederate armies during the Civil War and was severely damaged by Union raids. In 1869 financier Collis P. Huntington purchased the line; it became the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway in 1878. In the 1960s the C&O received nearly all of its net income from carrying freight and was the nation's largest carrier of bituminous coal. The C&O merged with the Baltimore & Ohio RR in 1965 and in 1980 the combined company became part of the newly formed CSX Corporation.
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