Abingdon Branch - a question...

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Mar 9 09:24:35 EST 2010

The book, "The Virginia Creeper, Remembering the Virginia-Carolina Railway,"
by Doug McGuinn, 1998, has a history of the Abingdon Branch, but I do not
recall any mention that it was built as a western connection for the D & W.

Gordon Hamilton

----- Original Message -----
From: "NW Mailing List" <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>
To: "NW Mailing List" <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 9:23 PM
Subject: Abingdon Branch - a question...

> Okay, this is probably a stupid question, but here goes anyway...


> I'm modeling the Danville & Western, which means I'm researching the

> history of the Danville & Western. From the beginning, the plan was to

> extend it from Stuart, VA all the way to the N&W main line in or around

> Bristol. Although the line ended up in the hands of Southern, it was at

> one time an independent (albeit broke) operation, and there is some

> suggestion that it had the backing of the N&W to some degree prior to

> it's falling under the control of the Richmond and Danville. Had it

> ever happened, it would have given the N&W access to Danville, VA, and a

> lucrative Tobacco trade and textiles manufacturing area.


> What's all this got to do with the Abingdon Branch? I was looking at an

> 1895 map tonight, and I looked over toward Bristol to see what it would

> have taken to connect it with Stuart and the end of the D&W. Lo and

> behold, there's a line running east from the N&W main line just east of

> Bristol - what is it? It didn't take long to figure out it was the

> Abingdon Branch, which got me thinking... Was the branch built as the

> western end of the D&W connection? Is it possible that the N&W was

> trying to build that connection itself?


> A little more history, in case it matters or is interesting:

> The D&W was originally the Danville and New River RR, and proposed,

> chartered, etc. around the Civil War. Construction did not start until

> 1880 or so, and by the late '80s it was running as far as Stuart, as a

> 3' narrow gauge line. In fact, it was in Martinsville before the

> Roanoke & Southern, by several years. The plan was always to extend the

> line westward, because it was pretty much a railroad to nowhere as it

> stood. The dream was floated as late as the 1920s, but of course it

> never happened. The railroad was taken over by the Richmond & Danville,

> and eventually by Southern, but operated as its own railroad (albeit

> with borrowed Southern motive power and facilities) until the mid-60s


> Just a little dreaming after dinner... wondering what would have

> happened if the line had ever been finished as originally planned.

> --

> Kenneth Rickman - krickman1 at carolina.rr.com

> Salisbury, NC

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