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Purcellville in Loudoun County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Electric Trains on the W&OD

 
 
Electric Trains on the W&OD Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, February 3, 2008
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.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the NOVA Parks
Electric Trains on the W&OD Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, February 3, 2008
2. Electric Trains on the W&OD Marker
, and the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad series lists.
 
Location. 39° 8.485′ N, 77° 42.208′ W. Marker is in Purcellville, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker is on North Maple Avenue (County Route 722), on the right when traveling west. Located beside the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Trail, at the crossing for a business driveway. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Purcellville VA 20132, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ambush at Purcellville (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Tracks into History (approx. half a mile away); Mother of the Wright Brothers (approx. 0.6 miles away); Killed in Action Memorial (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Case Building (approx. 0.7 miles away); A Little History (approx. 0.7 miles away); Purcellville Station (approx. 0.7 miles away); Beyond Purcellville (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Purcellville.
 
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.
 
W&OD Trail image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, February 3, 2008
3. W&OD Trail
Maple Avenue passes over the trail a few hundred yards east of the marker.
Old Railroad Grade image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, February 3, 2008
4. Old Railroad Grade
Opposite the marker is a good example of the old railroad grade, preserved as part of the trail park.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on May 25, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,515 times since then and 43 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 25, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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