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Leesburg in Loudoun 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 14, 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. 39° 6.636′ N, 77° 34.633′ W. Marker is in Leesburg, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker can be reached from Catoctin Circle Northwest, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Located about 20 feet from Catoctin Circle along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. Overlooks the work yard for the Leesburg High School. Marker is in this post office area: Leesburg VA 20175, United States of America.
 
Marker Near the W&OD Crossing of Catoctin Circle Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, July 14, 2007
2. Marker Near the W&OD Crossing of Catoctin Circle
 

 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Great Falls Line (approx. 0.2 miles away); Leesburg Passenger Station (approx. 0.6 miles away); 1862 Antietam Campaign (approx. 0.7 miles away); Leesburg (approx. 0.7 miles away); Old Stone Church Site (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Tolbert Building (approx. 0.7 miles away); Leesburg Freight Station (approx. ¾ mile away); Norman-Harding Barn (approx. ¾ mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Leesburg.
 
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 17, 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 17, 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 17, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,146 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 17, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
 
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