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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lynchburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Kemper Street Station

History

 
 
Kemper Street Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 30, 2012
1. Kemper Street Station Marker
Photograph on the marker is by G. Howard Gregory with this caption “Kemper Street Station / Southern Railway Train 135 / September 28, 1958.” Southbound train is on the far platform which no longer exists.
Inscription. The new Kemper Street Station, which opened on October 31, 1912, was one of many improvements made in Lynchburg by Southern Railway to double track its mainline between Atlanta and Washington, D.C. The Rivermont Tunnel, the James River Bridge, and the high steel trestles like those over Fishing Creek and Blackwater Creek were built to bypass the congestion in Lynchburg’s Lower Basin where Southern Railway and its predecessors had been located since before the Civil War. Architect Frank P. Milburn (1868-1926) designed this unique two-level station which once served as many as 18 daily passenger trains bearing names, such as the Birmingham Special, the Southerner, the Tennessean, and the Crescent Limited. In 1979 Southern Railway turned over its passenger service to Amtrak.
 
Location. 37° 24.377′ N, 79° 9.412′ W. Marker is in Lynchburg, Virginia. Marker is on Kemper Street just north of Park Avenue, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at the Amtrak station for Lynchburg, on the information kiosk, on the far side. Marker is in this post office area: Lynchburg VA 24501, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Kemper Street Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 30, 2012
2. Kemper Street Station Marker
It is in the small park to the left of the station.
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Inner Defenses (approx. ¼ mile away); John Warwick Daniel (approx. ¼ mile away); Camp Davis (approx. ¼ mile away); Amelia Perry Pride’s Dorchester Home (approx. 0.3 miles away); C.W. Seay (approx. 0.3 miles away); Pauline Weeden Maloney (approx. 0.3 miles away); Chauncey E. Spencer, Sr. (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named Inner Defenses (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lynchburg.
 
Regarding Kemper Street Station. Today the Amtrak station is on the lower level of the building, trackside. The the platform for the far track has been removed along with the stairway and the passenger overpass. The far track of the two-track main line can no longer handle passenger boarding and detraining. A third stub track with its own platform is just to the north of the station. Greyhound’s bus station is in the upper level, streetside, as is Greater Lynchburg Transit’s customer service center. Lynchburg Parks and Recreation has offices in the building as well as The Nature Zone, a hands-on staffed naturalist museum and live animal display.

Four
Kemper Street Station Streetside image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 30, 2012
3. Kemper Street Station Streetside
Covered bus platforms are on the right.
daily Amtrak trains serve Lynchburg from this station today. A Northeast Regional train originates here in Lynchburg in the morning and travels to Boston via Washington and New York with the return train from Boston arriving late in the afternoon; and the southbound and northbound Crescent, trains No. 19 and 20, arriving at 10 PM from New York and Washington en route to Atlanta, Birmingham, and New Orleans and at 6 AM northbound.

The December 1925 Official Guide to the Railroads lists 16 Southern Railway trains stopping at Kemper Street Station every day. (Six other Southern passenger trains stopped at Lynchburg’s Union Station downtown along with Chesapeake & Ohio and Norfolk & Western trains.) The May 1944 OGR lists 22 trains a day. The March 1957 OGR list 20 trains.

In December, 1925, The first train of the day just after midnight at 12:18 AM was the combined trains Nos. 15 and 31, the southbound Augusta Special, from New York via Washington. It had left New York at 1:10 PM would later split at Salisbury SC with No. 15 continuing to Asheville NC and No. 31 to Augusta GA. It was followed at 1:40 AM by train No. 38, the northbound all-Pullman (first
Kemper Street Station Trackside image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 30, 2012
4. Kemper Street Station Trackside
Amtrak station waiting room and ticket office is through the center set of doors. Train platform is the lighter colored pavement to the right, open to the elements.
class only) Southern Crescent from New Orleans to New York via Atlanta and Washington.

Train No. 42, the northbound Washington, Chattanooga and New Orleans Limited was next at 2:17 AM (it continued to New York from Washington) followed at 2:30 by the combined Trains No. 16 and 32 the northbound Augusta Special from Asheville NC and Augusta GA to Washington and New York. At 2:50 AM train No. 33, the southbound Piedmont Limited, from New York stopped en route to New Orleans via Montgomery AL.

At 3:10 AM it was Train No. 40 from Atlanta to Washington and New York followed 5 minutes later by train No. 41, the southbound Washington, Chattanooga and New Orleans Limited. Still before dawn at 4:05 AM train 39 southbound from New York and Washington to Atlanta made a stop at the station. Then at 5:35 AM train No. 37, the southbound Crescent Limited was due.

Most likely there were very few passengers boarding or detraining from these overnight trains. There would be plenty of trains arriving during the day and early evening hours at this and at Union Station downtown that were more convenient for Lynchburg patrons.

The
Kemper Street Station Train Platform image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 30, 2012
5. Kemper Street Station Train Platform
View is east with the tracks heading southbound. Platform continues quite a ways past the end of the station behind the photographer. Park Avenue crosses over the tracks above the short tunnel.
city was waking up when train No. 30, the northbound Birmingham Special, to Washington and New York stopped at the station at 7:15 AM. It was followed an hour later by train No. 25, the southbound Memphis Special from New York and Washington with connecting service to Nashville at Chattanooga.

After all that activity no passenger trains were scheduled at this station until 4:23 PM when train No. 36, the southbound New York - Washington - Atlanta - New Orleans Express, stopped at Kemper Street Station. Two minutes later, its northbound version, train No. 35 was expected on the other platform.

The last two trains of the day in 1925 left at 7:17 PM northbound and 8:05 PM southbound. They were train No. 26, the Memphis Special, and train No. 29, the Birmingham Special.

In 1944 the named trains stopping at Kemper Street Station included The Southerner, the Aiken-Augusta Special, the Asheville Special, The Crescent, the Birmingham Special, the Washington, Atlanta and New Orleans Express, The Tennessean, and the Piedmont Limited with their parlor cars, dining cars, and sleepers.

In
Sign Outside Amtrak Station Entrance image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, November 14, 2008
6. Sign Outside Amtrak Station Entrance
The current platform-level passenger station originally served as the freight depot.
1956 it was the Washington, Atlanta and New Orleans Express, the Birmingham Special, the Crescent, The Augusta Special, the Asheville Special, The Southerner, The Peach Queen, The Pelican, the Piedmont Limited, and The Tennessean.
 
Categories. Railroads & Streetcars
 
Amtrak's Kemper Street Station Interior image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, November 14, 2008
7. Amtrak's Kemper Street Station Interior
Southern Railway Baggage Cart image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, November 14, 2008
8. Southern Railway Baggage Cart
Evidence of the station's former occupant is found outside the Amtrak waiting rooms.
Kemper Street Station at Night image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, November 14, 2008
9. Kemper Street Station at Night
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 8, 2012, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 583 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 8, 2012, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.   6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on July 9, 2012, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida.
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