This [railroad] company was met by the most decided and inveterate opposition, on the part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company.
Philip E. Thomas, President, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company
The proximity of railroad tracks by the canal belies the intense battle over the right-of-way between the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The idea route west lay on this narrow strip of land between the river and the mountains. Both the canal and the railroad were convinced that the land should belong to them.
A bitter four-year battle followed that divided the citizens of Point of Rocks and other towns along the river. Merchants and townspeople were forced to choose between the canal and the new and unproven railroad. Citizens participated in boycotts, refused to sell land, or demanded outrageous purchase prices for their property. By the time the courts finally ruled in the canal's favor in 1832, the canal company had almost gone broke with legal fees. Strapped for cash, the canal company agreed to a compromise. In exchange for funds to continue canal construction, the company allowed the railroad to build next to the canal between Harper's Ferry and Point of Rocks.