The Virginia General Assembly chartered the Louisa Railroad, the predecessor of the Virginia Central Railroad, in 1836. The line’s eastern terminus was at Hanover Junction (present-day Doswell), about twenty miles north of Richmond, where it joined the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad (RF&P), and Charlottesville was the western terminus. Construction proceeded slowly, and in 1850, after the line had been extended westward of Louisa County, the name was changed to the Virginia Central Railroad. At first, the railroad had shared track to Richmond with the RF&P, but in 1851 it began constructing its own line to the city. Eventually the western terminus was extended to Covington in the Allegheny Mountains, linking the line with the Covington and Ohio Railroad. By the time of the(1861–1865), the Virginia Central Railroad was about two hundred miles long, from Richmond to Covington, and traversed the heart of the state.