Santa Fe Railroad

Santa Fe Railroad, former U.S. railroad, chartered in 1863 as the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe RR; opened to traffic in 1864. Construction continued, and in 1880 it reached Santa Fe, N.Mex.; the following year the railroad connected with the Southern Pacific RR. The railroad acquired several small lines, and further construction followed; by the early 1890s the Santa Fe, with its 9,000 mi (14,480 km) of track and connections to Chicago and Los Angeles, became one of the world's longest railroad systems. Poor management and a reckless dividend policy combined with the depression of 1893, however, to bankrupt the railroad company, which in 1895 was reorganized as the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company. In the 20th cent. the railroad increased its holdings; by 1929 it had 13,000 mi. (20,917 km) of track in the Southwest. In the 1960s a holding company, Santa Fe Industries, was created for the railroad and various subsidiaries. After the Interstate Commerce Commission blocked a merger with the Southern Pacific Company (1988), Santa Fe Industries reorganized, and the railroad emerged as a part of the newly named Santa Fe Pacific Corporation. In 1995 the Santa Fe Pacific Corporation merged with the Burlington Northern RR to become the Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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