The Ancora, Maryland, and Fairmont was built west by business interests from the
port city of Ancora, Virginia in the years following the Civil War. With the development
of the West Virginia coal fields the AM&F built and aquired branches and became a
very profitable Applachian coal hauler. World War I convinced management of the
advantages of having a route into the developing industrial center of Pittsburgh,
and led to the purchase of the regional carrier Western Pennsylvania Railroad. This
completed the "classic" AM&F which existed in this configuration through World War
The Chicago Great Eastern Railroad was put together in the early 1900's by industrialists
who wanted to see rate competition develop for the Pennsynvania and New York Central
Railroads. Never able to compete with those giant systems on an equal footing, the
CGE endured bankruptcy following Word War I, and never prospered. The growth of
the highway system after World War II left the CGE teetering on the edge of bankruptcy
once again by 1960.
The expansion of the competing N&W and C&O railroad systems made it necessary for
the AM&F to expand in order to survive. The struggling CGE was thus aquired by the
Ancora, Maryland, and Fairmont in the early 60's. The combined system retained the
AM&F coporate name, but took on the public moniker of Lakeside Lines in order to
advertise its new Great Lakes connections. The abandoment of the lightly used eastern
portion of the old Western Pennsylvania left the Lakeside Lines in its 1979 configuration.
Unfortunately the tight curves and frequent grades of the Lakeside Line's main line
through the Applachian mountains will soon lead to its absorption by the Chessie
System, which will cut it up into branches. This explains why we never hear of the
Lakeside Lines today.