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Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Historical Markers

Today a 45-mile Rails to Trails path from Alexandria to Purcellville in Virginia.
 
Close Up of the Railroad Map image, Click for more information
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2009
Close Up of the Railroad Map
Virginia (Arlington County), Arlington — Bluemont Junction
In June 1945 the scene nearby would have included the multiple tracks, gas-electric combine, electric substation, and passenger station shown below. As of 1912 Bluemont Junction served as the hub of the multi-line Washington & Old Dominion Railway. . . . — Map (db m24924) HM
Virginia (Arlington County), Arlington — Bluemont Junction, ca. 1934
(Trail Side): Bluemont Junction began operation in 1912 as a part of the newly formed Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Railway. The station was a busy transfer point for passengers and freight from Alexandria and Georgetown to points west, . . . — Map (db m24988) HM
Virginia (Arlington County), Arlington — Glencarlyn StationThe Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park
If you arrived here by train on a summer Sunday afternoon in the 1870s, you would find crowds of people enjoying Arlington's premier amusement park. This wooded spot near the confluence of Lubber Run and Four Mile Run was a natural place for a . . . — Map (db m67491) HM
Virginia (Arlington County), Arlington — Nauck: A Neighborhood History
The Nauck community has a long and diverse history. The area that now comprises the Nauck neighborhood was originally granted to John Todd and Evan Thomas in 1719. The land was later acquired by Robert Alexander and sold to John Parke Custis in . . . — Map (db m2504) HM
Virginia (Arlington County), Arlington — Rosslyn Station
If you were a passenger on the Washington & Old Dominion Railway heading into Georgetown, you would first have to pass through Rosslyn, Virginia, a 15-minute train ride from here. The first Rosslyn Terminal dated from 1906, with the establishment . . . — Map (db m24926) HM
Virginia (Arlington County), Arlington — The Great Falls Line
The Bluemont Branch of the Washington & Old Dominion was not the railroad’s only line. The Great Falls & Old Dominion Railroad arose in 1906 from the vision of two prominent men. Sen. Stephen B. Elkins of West Virginia had prospered through coal, . . . — Map (db m24925) HM
Virginia (Arlington County), Arlington — Tracks Into HistoryThe Washington & Old Dominion Railroad
Time Line March 20, 1847 - Incorporated as the Alexandria & Harper’s Ferry Railroad. March 15, 1853 - The corporate name changes to the Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire Railroad Company. February 25, 1855 - Construction . . . — Map (db m2500) HM
Virginia (Arlington County), Arlington — Tracks into HistoryThe Washington & Old Dominion Railroad
The railroad that became the Washington & Old Dominion was born in Alexandria in response to the competition in shipping posed by the port in Baltimore, which was served by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The B&O was diverting farm produce from the . . . — Map (db m24920) HM
Virginia (Arlington County), Arlington — Washington and Old Dominion Trail
W & OD Trail. The 100-foot-wide Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park (W&OD Trail) features a 45-mile asphalt trail for walking, running, skating, bicycling and other activities and a 33-mile parallel, gravel bridle path for . . . — Map (db m2406) HM
Virginia (Arlington County), East Falls Church — East Falls Church Station
In August 1940, when this photograph was taken, passenger service on the Washington & Old Dominion was losing money and was being phased out. Passenger service stopped altogether in April 1941, but resumed two years later to support the national war . . . — Map (db m55964) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Dunn Loring — Camp Alger
In May 1898 the Spanish-American War came to Northern Virginia with the establishment of Camp Russell A. Alger (below). The 1,400-acre camp, south of where you are now located, encompassed the fields and forests of the former Woodburn Manor . . . — Map (db m24873) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Dunn Loring — Dunn Loring Station
As an attraction for potential home-buyers, the Loring Land and Improvement Company constructed a railroad station on the site just to your right for the planned subdivision of Dunn Loring. An 1880s advertisement notes that "Good railroad . . . — Map (db m24875) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Dunn Loring — Tracks into HistoryThe Washington & Old Dominion Railroad
The railroad that became the Washington & Old Dominion was born in Alexandria in response to the competition in shipping posed by the port in Baltimore, which was served by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The B&O was diverting farm produce from the . . . — Map (db m24874) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Herndon — Herndon Station
Herndon grew up around this railroad station. The town received its name in 1858 when the Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire Railroad (later the W&OD) arrived and a post office was established in the newly built station. Herndon quickly became the . . . — Map (db m152) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Herndon — Mosby’s Herndon Station Raid“My loss was nothing.” — Mosby's Confederacy
On St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1863, Confederate Capt. John S. Mosby and 40 Partisan Rangers attacked the picket post of the 1st Vermont Cavalry guarding this station on the Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad. The detachment commander Lt. . . . — Map (db m151) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Herndon — The Rail Strike of 1916
In the years before motor vehicles came to dominate transportation, business was never better for the Washington & Old Dominion Railway. Demand for passenger and freight service boomed, while the W&OD's owners balked at spending the money necessary . . . — Map (db m44101) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Herndon — Tracks Into HistoryThe Washington & Old Dominion Railroad
The railroad that became the Washington & Old Dominion was born in Alexandria in response to the competition in shipping posed by the port in Baltimore, which was served by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The B&O was diverting farm produce from the . . . — Map (db m153) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Reston — Sunset Hills Station
Sunset Hills Station, shown below in the 1960s, stands as a reminder that today's Reston was not the first "new town" to be planned for this area. In 1886 Dr. Carl Wiehle bought a large parcel of land north and south of the railroad tracks. He . . . — Map (db m25074) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Reston — Train Wrecks
Accidents happened on the Washington & Old Dominion. Mishaps resulted from washouts of the roadbed, loose rails, rotting ties, or from livestock wandering across the tracks. Crew negligence also played a part. One of the earliest and most serious . . . — Map (db m25005) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Vienna — Civil War Action at Vienna
On June 17, 1861, at this bend in the railroad, a Union train carrying 271 men of the 1st Ohio Volunteers was ambushed by nearly 700 South Carolina infantry and cavalry. Amid artillery fire, the Ohioans jumped from the platform cars and took cover . . . — Map (db m26761) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Vienna — Electric Trains on the W&OD
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 . . . — Map (db m2095) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Vienna — Hunter StationCirca 1900
This station was called a flag stop—a passenger would step out and flag down the train to catch a ride. The railroad was owned by the Southern Railway at this time and was operated as a steam railroad. Wires were installed in 1912 when the . . . — Map (db m1933) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Vienna — Hunter Station
The 1860 Alexandria, Loudoun, and Hampshire Railroad station at this junction was called a flag stop - a passenger would step out and flag down the train to catch a ride. At the time that the 1900 picture to the left was taken, the railroad was . . . — Map (db m24791) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Vienna — Strategic JunctionHunter Mill Road and the AL&H Railroad
At the beginning of the American Civil War in mid-1861, Union General Irvin McDowell, Commander, Army of Northeastern Virginia, knew that his army lacked an adequate supply of wagons. The Alexandria, Loudoun, and Hampshire Railroad (today's W&OD . . . — Map (db m24864) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Vienna — Terror by the Tracks
On October 18, 1864 Reverend John B. Read, a lay preacher at the Falls Church Baptist Church, was executed in dense pine woods by the railroad bridge here at Piney Branch. Early that morning a contingent of Confederate Colonel John Singleton Mosby's . . . — Map (db m24865) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Vienna — Tracks into HistoryThe Washington & Old Dominion Railroad
The railroad that became the Washington & Old Dominion was born in Alexandria in response to the competition in shipping posed by the port in Baltimore, which was served by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The B&O was diverting farm produce from the . . . — Map (db m2094) HM
Virginia (Fairfax County), Vienna — Vienna Station
Vienna Station, shown in the center of the photograph below in 1864, has stood here since the arrival of the Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire Railway (later the Washington & Old Dominion Railway) in 1859. The farm community of Ayr Hill consisted of . . . — Map (db m2090) HM
Virginia, Falls Church — Tracks into HistoryThe Washington & Old Dominion Railroad
The railroad that became the Washington & Old Dominion was born in Alexandria in response to the competition in shipping posed by the port in Baltimore, which was served by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The B&O was diverting farm produce from the . . . — Map (db m2902) HM
Virginia, Falls Church — Train Wrecks
Accidents happened on the Washington & Old Dominion. Mishaps resulted from washouts of the roadbed, loose rails, rotting ties, or from livestock wandering across the tracks. Crew negligence also played a part. One of the earliest and most serious . . . — Map (db m2899) HM
Virginia, Falls Church — West Falls Church Station
In 1912, from the station that stood nearby to your right, you could board a modern interuban passenger coach at 7:34 a.m. and arrive in Georgetown by 8:00 sharp. It was a new century and Washington, D.C., was on the move. The demand was heavy in . . . — Map (db m2901) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Ashburn — Ashburn Station
At least two different railroad stations stood where you are now standing. When the Alexandra, Loudoun & Hampshire Railroad (later the W&OD) arrived in 1860, the aptly named crossroads of Farmwell became one of the many rail stops that served . . . — Map (db m20282) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Ashburn — Norman's Station
The shelter or "waiting shed" in the photograph below stood across the road from where you are now located. Crossing the track was Norman's Station Road (now called Smith's Switch Road). These three-sided shelters were typical of many small stops . . . — Map (db m20277) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Bluemont — Bluemont Historic District
Bluemont Historic District has been registered as a Virginia Historic Landmark pursuant to the authority vested in the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission Act of 1966. — Map (db m4023) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Hamilton — Hamilton Station
One of the oldest on the line, Hamilton's train station dates from 1870. It was not in the original plan. When the Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire Railway (later the Washington & Old Dominion) was established in the 1840s, its owners intended to . . . — Map (db m26961) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Hamilton — Tracks into HistoryThe Washington & Old Dominion Railroad
The railroad that became the Washington & Old Dominion was born in Alexandria in response to the competition in shipping posed by the port in Baltimore, which was served by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The B&O was diverting farm produce from the . . . — Map (db m27066) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Clarkes Gap
At 582 feet, Clarkes Gap, up the hill to your left, was the highest point on the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad. The stone bridge dates from the 1870s, when the tracks were completed to Clarkes Gap. The station stood on the site where you are . . . — Map (db m2031) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Diesel Trains on the W&OD
The Washington & Old Dominion Railroad switched from electric to diesel power during World War II. In 1941-42 the railroad bought its first three diesel-electric engines. Each General Electric engine had 380 horsepower and weighed 44 tons. Later . . . — Map (db m2111) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Electric Trains on the W&OD
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 . . . — Map (db m2107) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Leesburg Freight Station
Leesburg’s first railroad depot opened here in 1860 to accommodate passengers, mail, express packages, and freight. All but the freight operations were moved west to King Street in 1887 when the new passenger station opened. An industrial area known . . . — Map (db m2109) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Leesburg Passenger Station
When the Alexandria, Loudoun, & Hampshire Railroad (later W&OD) arrived on May 17, 1860, Leesburg realized a dream. A local newspaper praised the railroad, which “throws us within an hour or two’s ride of the cities of the seaboard, and opens . . . — Map (db m2110) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Norman-Harding Barn(The "Wharf")
"The Wharf" refers not only to the entire two-block area, but also to the Norman-Harding Barn, itself the original "Wharf." This building is on its original site. Since its construction around 1890, the two-story barn served as a storage warehouse . . . — Map (db m5127) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Stationmaster's House
This building of duplex design housed the Stationmaster in one section and other railroad employees in another. The railroad traditionally provided such housing close to switching yards and depots for its always-on-call employees. The . . . — Map (db m5123) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — The Depot
The Freight Depot was built at the turn of the century, replacing a depot gutted by the disastrous fire of 1898. The wooden building is a fine example of railroad station architecture, with its wide overhangs to protect dock workers and freight from . . . — Map (db m11324) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — The Great Falls Line
The Bluemont Branch of the Washington & Old Dominion was not the railroad’s only line. The Great Falls & Old Dominion Railroad arose in 1906 from the vision of two prominent men. Sen. Stephen B. Elkins of West Virginia had prospered through coal, . . . — Map (db m2106) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — The Leesburg Lime Company
The arrival of the railroad in the 1860s spawned new businesses. One such enterprise was the Leesburg Lime Company, which operated at the site where you are now located. In 1868 a local newspaper announced: New Lime Kiln— Messrs. Orr . . . — Map (db m2108) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — The Lost Locomotive
At the outbreak of the Civil War in spring 1861, Maj.Gen. Robert E. Lee sent orders to Col. Eppa Hunton in Loudoun County. Anticipating Federal seizure of the Alexandria to Leesburg railroad, Lee told Hunton to tear up track, burn bridges, and . . . — Map (db m100987) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Paeonian Springs — Paeonian Springs Station
In its heyday, Paeonian Springs attracted folks such as those men gathered for a raccoon hunt sponsored by The Washington Post in October 1912. The station shown at right stood where the three-sided shelter stands today. Two things happened . . . — Map (db m2903) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Purcellville — Beyond Purcellville
The trail ends here but the story does not. The founders of the Alexandria, Loudoun, & Hampshire (later the W&OD) sought to rival the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad for the coal of West Virginia and the trade of the Ohio Valley. By 1900 the railroad . . . — Map (db m24307) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Purcellville — Electric Trains on the W&OD
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 . . . — Map (db m19330) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Purcellville — Purcellville Station
The tracks are long gone, but Purcellville's train station still occupies the ground it has stood on since 1904. It replaced a depot built at about the same time that the railroad arrived in 1874 and accommodated passengers, mail, and freight. The . . . — Map (db m24360) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Purcellville — Tracks into HistoryThe Washington & Old Dominion Railroad
The railroad that became the Washington & Old Dominion was born in Alexandria in response to the competition in shipping posed by the port in Baltimore, which was served by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The B&O was diverting farm produce from the . . . — Map (db m19331) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Sterling — Rails to Dulles Airport
In 1958 the federal government began construction of a new international airport near Chantilly, Virginia. The Washington & Old Dominion Railroad, whose freight business had been on the decline, enjoyed a resurgence of activity. Cement, stone, and . . . — Map (db m20281) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Sterling — Sterling Station
By 1967, when the photograph below was taken, Sterling had grown from a railroad stop known as Guilford to a large residential development. Beginning in 1860, the station served local farmers. Trains carried grain, produce, and dairy products to . . . — Map (db m20146) HM

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