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Vienna in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Electric Trains on the W&OD
 
Electric Trains on the W&OD Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, July 2, 2007
1. Electric Trains on the W&OD Marker
 
Inscription. Electrification arrived in 1912, after the Great Falls & Old Dominion Railroad and the Southern Railway’s Bluemont Branch were consolidated into the Washington & Old Dominion Railway. The new owners brought modern interurban trolley cars. Wire strung above the tracks carried electricity from the railroad's own power plant in Rosslyn, Virginia. In 1917 service switched to the local utility company.

By 1939, the year this man was photographed departing a trolley near Bluemont, Virginia, the W&OD had been operating on electricity for 27 years. Aging equipment was badly in need of modernization. In the early 1940s the railroad obtained its first self-propelled diesel-electric and gas-electric engines. Diesel power proved so efficient that by 1944 it had replaced electricity.
 
Erected by The Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park, Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad marker series.
 
Location. 38° 54.061′ N, 77° 15.55′ W. Marker is in Vienna, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker is on Park Street, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Roughly 20 feet to the east side of Park Street, along the W&OD Trail. Marker is in this post office area: Vienna VA 22180, United States of America.
 
Electric Trains on the W&OD Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, July 2, 2007
2. Electric Trains on the W&OD Marker
 

 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. On June 17, 1861 (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War Action at Vienna (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); Freeman Store and Museum (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Great Falls Line (approx. 0.4 miles away); Vienna Centennial Park (approx. 0.4 miles away); Vienna Station (approx. half a mile away); Tracks into History (approx. half a mile away); Salsbury Spring (approx. 0.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Vienna.
 
More about this marker. This is one in a set of standard W&OD Trail markers discussing the Electric Train Service, and is duplicated at several locations. The marker has a background photograph described in the text, with the caption, “A passenger gets off of electric car No. 41 just east of Bluemont, Virginia, in February 1939.” An inset picture displays “A portable substation site near Ashburn, Virginia. It was transported wherever needed to convert electricity to correct the voltage for use by engines.”
 
Also see . . .
1. W&OD Railroad History Site - Pictures of Engines and Rolling Stock. Several of the electric powered trains are pictured. (Submitted on August 15, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. Friends of the W&OD Trail - Video Clips. Some video clips of the electric passenger train service. (Submitted on August 15, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

3. The Washington and Old Dominion Railroad. Book by Ames Williams available on Amazon.com (Submitted on May 7, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.) 

4. Rails to the Blue Ridge: The Washington and Old Dominion Railroad, 1847 - 1968. Book by Herbert Harwood available on Amazon.com (Submitted on May 7, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.) 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on August 15, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,858 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 15, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
 
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