NW-Mailing-List Digest, Vol 22, Issue 5

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Oct 2 15:35:07 EDT 2007

Absolutely correct that the line crossed thru the
Mall, if we are talking about the same one as I think
we are. It's near the top of the grade traveling
southbound on Route 11 correct?

Here's how the line went south out of Staunton as a
FYI. I can not recite street names but I have followed
much of the route and in places there are ample
evidences if one knows where to look.

Where Greenville Ave. crosses under the C&O where the
big rusty water pitcher is -- there used to be a
second under-crossing the C&O. The Valley RR made
something like an 11 degree curve there from over
Lewis Creek which occasionally over-flowed its banks
and mad a mess of things. In the area of today's Route
11 just north of this under-crossing was where the
B&O's Staunton yards were located next to where the
current Shenandoah Valley RR operates. All that was
changed when the new by-pass was built in the
1947-1949 period and the yards were removed, Route 11
run thru here instead of thru town. Okay, that gets us
at the C&O crossing. Crossing under the C&O, the
Staunton station was immediately south of the C&O
where some other business is presently located. The
B&O line was against the hillside here and departing
town was a stiff 2% grade in a cut in the rocks there.
In winter you can still see the cut which become
largely filled in since the rails were removed in the
Summer of 1943.

After paralleling Route 11 for a quarter-mile or so
still on this stiff grade the line needed to gain
altitude so they curved to west somewhat, going behind
what I think is an elementary school on the west of
Greenville Ave. The line continued thru what is now a
built up neighborhood but there are places where it is
still visible and near the top of the hillside, still
on that 2% grade, it crossed Route 11 over to the east
of it, going behind or nearly so of the shopping mall
to which I think you refer.

As a matter of fact there is a stand of trees to mark
the locale of the fill where the rails one were
located. It continued along there and I haven't
followed it or tried as I presumed it was lost in the
modernization but if you take the by-pass Route to
I-81, the fill emerges on your left as you head south.

It then crosses the by-pass from the east to the west
side and basically follows that until you get to I-81
and I-81's MP 219 which the bridge over Folly Mills
Creek has been preserved as an item on the National
Register of Historic Places. Within a few hundred
yards the old r-o-w becomes gobbled up into I-81 and
is invisible for a mile or so, then re-emerges again
on the WEST side, the same side as the Folly Mills
Bridge, for several miles. It slowly curves slightly
west of the Interstate until about a mile before the
Greenville exit to cross very markedly from the west
to the east side, parallels I-81 until it crosses
Route 11 at the I-81 Greenville exit and becomes lost
in the Pilot truck stop. However, within the confines
of said Pilot Truck stop are a culvert or two which
were prevented from being destroyed when the truck
stop was created several years ago. At one time there
were several graves there, presumable for deceased
railroad workers but who knows now?

If you continue south on Route 11, the r-o-w becomes
PLAINLY VISIBLE to your west (left) until you can
plainly see a couple of large stone culverts over
streams and then it continues thru private
cattle-grazing land and becomes lost in some

That takes us almost to the site of the Greenville

Everything I am repeating here are things I have seen
and followed either on foot or by car.

If we want to go farther south from the Greenville
area, let me know and I'll be happy to continue the
"tour" in another installment. Remember, we've just
travelled between 5 and 10 miles south of Staunton and
it was a total of 37 miles between Staunton and

More later.

Bob Cohen

> ------------------------------


> Message: 2

> Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2007 04:32:14 +0000

> From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>

> Subject: RE: B&O Railroad south of Staunton, Va

> To: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>

> Message-ID:

> <BAY138-W268DD863CF437C0BC05786BCAE0 at phx.gbl>

> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"



> I know for a fact that there was a abandoned

> railroad line on the property now occupied by the

> Staunton Mall, through my research on the history of

> that mall for another historian project. However, I

> have not nailed down where exactly on the mall

> property this abandoned line was located.

> For those not familiar with the Staunton Mall it is

> located on US 11 on the south border of the city of

> Staunton and opened as a open-air shopping center in

> 1969. Its age is the reason for my research project.

> Lois J. Ponton

> > Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2007 16:42:18 -0700> Subject: B&O

> Railroad south of Staunton, Va> To:

> nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org> From:

> nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org> > A friend of mine sent me

> copies of the recent> inquiries of the remnants of

> the former Valley> Railroad of Virginia south of

> Staunton so I'll chime> in on some of what I know. >

> > With regards to the historic bridge near MP 219

> on> I-81, just outside Staunton, this bridge was

> built in> the aborted first attempt by the B&O to

> get south of> Staunton in the 1873-1874 period and

> after spending> about $1.25 million, the B&O pulled

> the plug rather> abruptly and permanently effective

> November 25,1874.> Claiborne Mason's group of

> contractors were the ones I> believe at work in the

> section where the bridge over> Folly Mills Creek has

> been preserved with the date> "1874" emblazoned it,

> hopefully in perpetuity for all> to see and remind

> themselves of what once was in this> section of the

> Valley.> > Due to the B&O's stubbornness and

> inabilit

> y to get> along amicably with ole Billy Mahone of

> the AM&O, (the> B&O wasn't alone on this issue as we

> all know our AM&O> history), even before they

> started committing funds to> the project of

> connecting up at Salem, Mahone was none> too

> hospitable toward any Northern corporation>

> especially one which he felt was going to be

> removing> Virginia's wealth to a northern

> carpetbagging> capitalistic monopoly. These were HIS

> thoughts, not my> opinions. In addition, the

> Financial Panic of 1873> made money really short,

> especially for railroad> mortgages as something like

> 1/3 of the railroads in> the south went into

> receivership in this period.> > The B&O was there

> and before the Shenandoah Valley> could really get

> its act together when Tom Scott and> the PRR pulled

> their money out in a stockholders fight> around 1874

> when the Southern Railway Securities Co.> was broken

> up as a result as well as removing excess> funds

> from everything including their initial backing> of

> the Shenandoah

> Valley RR.> > HOWEVER, and here is something which

> very few have> been aware of until now, the SV

> leased the Valley RR> of Virginia between

> Harrisonburg & Staunton from July> 10,1876 to

> January 10,1877 when the B&O RR and City of>

> Baltimore split over some questioned payments or

> was> it non-payments regarding the VRR. These 2

> together> formed an impenetrable voting bloc on the

> remaining> Valley RR stockholders, and in this ONE

> instance, the> locals prevailed.> > The VRR, all 25

> miles of it was managed/operated by> our good friend

> Milnes of early SV history and then> when the facade

> of the B&O for continuing the line> south of

> Staunton and onto Lexington showed what B&O's>

> motives truly were, they let the lease expire,

> having> paid all their bills as per the requirements

> of the> lease. That is why that the only photos of a

> Valley> engine with the name "Valley" on it

> apparently> occurred during this one brief period.

> Now, you ask,> where did Milnes get his equipment?

> He lease

> d it from> the Western Maryland RR. I can't tell

> you what engine> # it was from the WM but I can tell

> you that when the> engine first appeared at

> Harrisonburg in early July> 1876, a youngster

> replied something along the likes to> a chum "See,

> didn't I tell you Mr. Milnes was> important? He has

> an engine with his name on it; W.M.> RR." True

> story.> > There is more to this 6-month tale but the

> long and> the short of it was that once the SV

> concluded that> the B&O was NOT interested in either

> building it> themselves or permitting his group to

> do so, he wisely> pulled out. Then 2 years later,

> under the exact same> financial constraints as the

> B&O had, the SV built the> line which we all know

> and love today, did it in 3> years and while they

> were over-extended financially in> it which caused

> the receivership, it was the right> move at the

> right time.> > Had the B&O been wiser and more

> aggressive, they could> have been there first and we

> would have no line which> we know today.> >

> The B&O's Valley RR picked up the scaps and pieces

> in> the Summer of 1881 as the Richmond & Allegheny

> built> into Lexington, but even then it took them 2

> years to> start anew on the line which was about

> 25-50%> completed 7 years earlier. Limping, the B&O

> made it to> Lexington and that was as far as they

> would ever get.> > Nearly 60 years later, the B&O

> wanted OUT of the> valley and it was apparently no

> secret. The Chesapeake> Western stepped up to the

> plate and agreed to purchase> the 62 miles of

> completed line plus the 51.23 of never> completed

> right-of-way to Salem on one condition; that> the

> B&O must have prior approval of abandonment of the>

> line south of Staunton before they would take title

> to> the 25-miles which was worth keeping. That

> abandonment> was approved for November 1,1942 and

> the sale was> approved effective midnight, December

> 31,1942/January> 1,1943.> > I have been told that it

> took Chesapeake Western until> July or August, 1943

> to complete the scrapping> o

> perations south of Staunton which means that the>

> Folly Mills Bridge last felt the breath of the iron>

> horse perhaps in July as that is only 5 or 6 miles>

> south of Staunton.> > Today, that is the most

> visible remnant of this failed> effort. Much of I-81

> between there and Salem used the> old B&O

> right-of-way but as has already been noted on> these

> pages, pieces of the old stonework are still>

> visible here and there if one knows where to look.>

> > I look forward to further discussions regrading

> this> whole topic, especially, the SV's operations

> of the> Valley RR for 6 months.> > Bob Cohen>

> ORL96782 at yahoo.com> > >



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