Remembering The W&OD Railroad

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West Falls Church Station, built 1859, demolished 1939.
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 Self-Guided Tours of Towns On Trail
Falls Church
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Vienna
Herndon
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Ashburn
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Round Hill
 Old Towns
  Falls Church
  Dunn Loring
  Vienna
  Reston
  Herndon
  Sterling
  Ashburn
  Leesburg
  Waterford
  Hamilton
  Purcellville
  Round Hill

Del Ray, a neighborhood in Alexandria, hosts one of the best sites on the W&OD

Click here to see inside Herndon Station.


Station agents accepted packages for REA, the United Parcel Service of the railroad age.


Purcellville station


Round Hill station, photo c. 1912

Leesburg Station


Herndon


Cabooses | US Presidents | Trivia | List of Photos | RR Suburbs | Photos

World Wide Web Pages on This Railroad's Past
Paul McCray's site on history of the railroad.
Del Ray (Alexandria)
More pictures of rolling stock

Scratch the surface of the W&OD Trail and you will find a railroad -- quite literally in some places. Ask the older residents of the towns along the trail, and they will tell you that they remember it. Known as "The Virginia Creeper," in a reference to the speed of its trains, the W&OD Railroad ended passenger service in 1951, lost its contract to carry mail in 1951 and expired in 1968.



Stations Still Standing

All of the above stations had telegraph offices. The station agents knew Morse code. The telegraph linked these towns to the outside world. Not until 1897-1900 did the wealthiest residents begin to install telephones in their homes and stores here.

A Quartet of Cabooses

  • Bluemont Bypass/Bluemont Park (Arlington) -- Southern donated this caboose after the Federal government allowed railroads to operate trains without cabooses. Alexandria and Arlington's only railway museum which interprets the history of these old communities that grew up around rail lines of the RF&P, the W&OD and two trolley lines: Washington, Alexandria and Mt. Vernon Railway, and the Arlington and Fairfax Railway is found at the caboose at Bluemont Junction Park. The Bluemont Historical Railway Junction Display is in a former Southern Railway caboose (X-441, built 1972) at Bluemont Junction Park, 601 N. Manchester St. at Wilson Blvd., Arlington VA 22203. It is operated by the Arlington County Dept. of Parks and Recreation, and is open on weekends to visitors in the summer, 10 am to 5 pm. (Mile 3.2)

  • Vienna -- open to the public, weekends, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., beginning in April. (Mile 11.9) Vienna obtained this caboose from the Norfolk Southern Railroad, paying only for its transportation. Operated by Optimist Club of Vienna. Open some Saturdays and a few Sundays during Summer.
  • Herndon (Mile 20.3) moved by truck from Manassas in 1989.
  • Bluemont, Loudoun County. About seven miles beyond the end of the trail in Purcellville, Bluemont was once the terminus of the railroad. It now has a caboose, behind the community center.

US Presidents Who Rode The RR

  • President Buchanan travelled to his summer White House in Sterling, 1859.
  • Ulysseys S. Grant travelled to a fair in Leesburg, 1873.
  • William McKinley reviewed the troops at Camp Alger, Dunn Loring, 1898.
  • Grover Cleveland travelled to Leesburg to go fishing.

Railroad Trivia

Did this railroad operate trains to Great Falls? Yes, on another line, which catered briefly to picnicers and amusement seekers going to the falls. Where was the steepest grade on the railroad? Hunter Mill.
Where was the highest bridge on the line? Goose Creek Trestle.
Where was the highest point on the line?Clark's Gap, not counting the Purcellville-to-Bluemont segment.

Railroad Links



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