The Early Days


1896 – 1912

Everything has a beginning.  The Hagerstown & Frederick Railway began in 1896 as two seperate companies:  The Hagerstown Railway and the Frederick & Middletown Railway. 

The Hagerstown company also formed subsidiaries branching out of Hagerstown while the Frederick & Middletown operated various ventures in Frederick County under various names.

By December of 1904, a connection had been made over the mountain from the Hagerstown & Boonsboro route to the Frederick system’s western terminus at Myersville.  Service between the cities had begun.  During the next year rumors of something much bigger began as a group of investors purchased the Frederick & Middletown Railway and began talk of turning it in to a high-speed heavy freight main line between Baltimore & Cumberland.

In 1908 those rumors died as the Frederick & Middletown was once again a locally managed company now headed by Middletown banker Emory Coblentz.  Mr. Coblentz himself had a great vision for the company and in December of 1909 merged with the Washington, Frederick & Gettysburg Railway (that company itself having purchased the Monocacy Valley Railroad a few years earlier) to form the Frederick Railroad.

Over the next two years Coblentz oversaw a massive infrastructure investment replacing stations, facilities, power systems and rail yards as well as taking the route of the steam powered WF&G and turning it in to a fully electric powered system and retiring the company’s steam locomotives.

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Below are several photographs and artifacts from the H&FRHS archives related to the first 15 years of operation