January 31, 2009

Railroad System Maps on Certificates

Illinois Central Railroad certificateI just added a new page to the Coxrail site where I collected images of route maps used on stock certificates of the Illinois Central Railroad. I can confirm that the company used five, possibly six, versions of maps of its system between 1883 and 1947. To my knowledge, no other company used as many different maps as the IC.

A quick check of the database suggests twenty companies used system maps on at least one certificate variety. While one might think companies would have decorated their certificates with system maps more extensively, we must remember that maps would have offered little security against counterfeiting. Even crude vignettes of human forms are harder to counterfeit than simple line maps.

Another reason we see so few route maps is that railroad companies were constantly modifying their systems. Their systems were in a constant state of flux as their built new lines, abandoned others and bought and sold companies with connecting lines.

Companies that are known to have used line maps on their certificates:

  • Alaska Central Railway Co (stocks)
  • Boston & New York Air Line Rail Road Co (stocks)
  • Canada Southern Railway Co (bonds)
  • The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Co (stocks)
  • Chicago & Canada Southern Railway Co (bonds)
  • Eastern Railway Co of Minnesota (bonds)
  • The Electric Signagraph & Semaphore Co (stocks)
  • Estados Unidos de Mexico (Ferrocarril Nacional de Tehuantepec aid bonds)
  • Florida Atlantic & Gulf Central Rail Road Co (bonds)
  • Illinois Central Rail Road Co (stocks)
  • Interborough Rapid Transit Co (stocks)
  • Jacksonville Traction Co (stocks)
  • The Mississippi & Atlantic Rail Road Co (bonds)
  • The New York Central Railroad Co (bonds)
  • New York & Coney Island Railroad Co (stocks)
  • The New York Elevated Rail Road Co (stocks)
  • New York Ontario & Western Railway Co (stocks)
  • Norfolk & Western Railroad Co (bonds)
  • Seaboard Air Line Railway (bonds, on back)
  • Southern Railway Equipment Trust (bonds)

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