Railway Preservation News

Historic rail sites around Willimasburg, VA
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Author:  ebtrr [ Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:22 am ]
Post subject:  Historic rail sites around Willimasburg, VA

We are taking a vacation to Willimasburg, VA and I'm looking for historic rail sites to stop and see. Heading down from Ohio via Charleston, WV, Charottsville, VA and Richmond VA. Plan to stop at the New River Gorge and C&O Heritage Center in Clifton Forge. Know about VMT and OWL museum in Roanoke but will likely not be able to stop there and also Clifton Forge. Already visited Broad Street Station and Main Street Station in Richmond recently. Know about the museum in Norfolk and will try to stop there. Hitting Cass and Durbin on the way back. Looking for other sites that would be of interest to non-railfans who still think railroads are interesting. Suggestions are appreciated.

Author:  J3a-614 [ Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic rail sites around Willimasburg, VA

I'll have to do some looking up, but there is a 1930s or so vintage railroad station in Williamsburg, built in the Colonial style C&O favored for a while; still in use for Amtrak on the route from Richmond to Newport News.

There is also an amusement park--I believe it's a Six Flags property--that operates a three-foot gauge railroad with Crown steam locomotives modified to look like European engines. I might be off on that; perhaps someone can correct or confirm that.

Author:  Matt_Viar [ Fri Apr 29, 2016 10:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic rail sites around Willimasburg, VA

Here are some suggestions (from proximity to Williamsburg) that weren't included in your message:

Hull Street Station in Richmond (owned and operated by the Old Dominion Chapter of the NRHS).

The Theme Park in Williamsburg is Busch Gardens. It's almost annually wins the "Most Beautiful Theme Park" award each year and is definitely a few notches above the Six Flags parks. It does have a train ride that circles the park. They have 3 narrow-gauge, propane powered steam locomotives that were built for the park in 1974:
https://seaworldparks.com/en/buschgarde ... des/Train/
http://www.steamlocomotive.info/vlocomo ... splay=3895
http://www.steamlocomotive.info/vlocomo ... splay=3896
http://www.steamlocomotive.info/vlocomo ... splay=3897

C&O Lee Hall Depot in Newport News - this is where C&O 2756 will be moved:
http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/r ... 10,3911808

RR Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth - contains one of the 'lost engines of Roanoke'

US Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis
http://www.transportation.army.mil/muse ... museum.htm

NS Museum at their headquarters in Norfolk:
http://www.nscorp.com/content/nscorp/en ... useum.html

Author:  J3a-614 [ Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic rail sites around Willimasburg, VA

Brain cells getting tickled here--

Don't know if you'll have the time, but you might want to check out the station in Huntington, W.Va., and C&O 1308 on display in Ritter Park (she's a 2-6-6-2 built in 1949 and a sister to the 1309 under restoration in Ridgeley for the Western Maryland Scenic). There is also the big locomotive shop at Huntington, though I suspect activity is reduced there with the downturn in coal traffic.

If you do get there, check out the Frost Top root beer stand. It's a classic drive up restaurant (do you have a car with fins?) in which you get the food brought to your car and served on a tray that hooks into an open window. The root beer is served in glass mugs that come out of a freezer, and if they've been in long enough, part of the root beer or other drink will freeze as it's poured, giving you the "frost top."

There's a cool station in St. Albans, too, and another (though very much out of the way) in Thurmond, though the latter town is very much downhill with a lot of things missing from the past.

I should also mention the out-of-the-way station at Prince, W.Va., built in 1947, which is noted for a huge coal mining mural on one end and Chessie the Cat inlaid in the concrete floor. It and the stations at Thurmond and Huntington, as well as Charleston, are served by Amtrak's Cardinal.

The former Union Station in Charleston is gone (it served trains from the B&O (Coal and Coke), New York Central (Kanawha & Michigan) and Virginian (trackage rights on the NYC)), but the freight house is still very much in use as the Capitol Market, and the last time I was there, still had tracks connected to the outside world.

Alderson, W.Va. is also an Amtrak stop with another wooden C&O station; the town itself, the last time I was there, looked like it could be a movie set for a classic film about small towns in the 1930s. It's also the site of two penitentiaries (state and federal) for women (Martha Stewart spent a bit of time there).

The station at Staunton, Va. is a restaurant now, and is in a town that is attempting to restore itself; I seem to recall a lot of antique shops in the area.

Charlottesville has two stations. I believe the former C&O Main Street station is a restaurant now, but the Union station (served by Southern and C&O--and it's only a mile away from C&O's Main Street facility) is an Amtrak stop.

Author:  ebtrr [ Fri May 20, 2016 8:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic rail sites around Willimasburg, VA

Thanks to all who replied. We were able to hit some neat railroad places that we were not aware of before. Unfortunately we were not able to hit them all.

Author:  J3a-614 [ Sun May 22, 2016 10:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic rail sites around Willimasburg, VA

Great!! Where did you get to go?

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