In its infancy in America, the railroad came to Bladensburg. In 1833, construction began in Baltimore on the 32-mile-long Washington line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. It originally passed directly through Bladensburg, however, the main line was later altered to bypass the town, leaving it serviced only by a secondary line. The first train on the new Washington line ran on August 25, 1835. Eight hundred passengers, including numerous dignitaries, boarded 18 cars pulled by four new locomotives. They rode to Bladensburg where they were met by a trainful of Washington city officials, who then accompanied them to the terminal in Washington, D.C.
On April 29, 1851, Bladensburg once again witnessed railroad history. On that day, a railroad car powered by electricity from batteries (in a sense, a locomotive) traveled from Washington to Bladensburg and back again. This first electric railroad car was the invention of Dr. Charles Grafton Page, senior examiner for the U.S. Patent Office, professor of chemistry and pharmacy, and public treasurer.
Text with far upper-right photo: The very early B & O Railroad locomotive named the Tom Thumb, with a single passenger car.
Text with upper-right portraite: Charles Grafton PageText with middle photo: The B & O Railroad station in nearby HyattsvilleText with middle-right illustration: B & O Railroad regulations for the 1835 opening of its "new" Washington line
Text within the middle-right illustration: Opening of the Washington Rail Road
The Committee of Arrangments for opening the Washington Rail Road respectfully inform the invited guests that they have adopted the following regulations to be observed on the occasion.
1. Every gentleman must present his ticket before taking his seat in a Car.
2. Gentlemen will be permitted to introduce not more than ONE LADY. This regulation is rendered indispensable by the limited number of seats.
3. The Cars will leave the Depot in Charles Street at NINE o'clock PRECISELY.
4. It is requested that no persons leave the Cars until the arrival of the party at Washington.
5. The party will leave the Depot at Washington at FOUR o'clock PRECISELY.
6. The first two cars are reserved for the Executive of Maryland, Members of the Legislature of Maryland and the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore and other Public Functionaries.
7. Ladies and Gentleman in returning are requested to take the same Car in which they leave Baltimore.
Text with lower-right drawing: Page's electric locomotive