Rural Retreat, VA station update

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sun Jul 17 11:42:53 EDT 2011

I guess this mean I really need to hurry up and get off my butt and go
railfanning down there in the next couple weeks to get a shot of a train at
the station before it moves.


On Sun, Jul 17, 2011 at 1:00 AM, NW Mailing List
<nw-mailing-list at>wrote:

> RR depot move in the works

> By Staff

> Published: July 15, 2011




> The whole process has been like a slow-moving train, long and black.

> And Jack Weaver has decided to leave the station, figuratively speaking.

> He’s finally pulling up his stake in trying to preserve the train depot in

> Rural Retreat.


> “My love for it is the only reason it’s still here,” Weaver said.

> This isn’t the first time Weaver’s threatened to demolish or move the

> depot. This struggle over ownership, property rights and historic

> designation has been going on for years.


> It appears, though, he’s as serious as he’s ever been.


> He’s already paid more than $30,000 in advance to have the depot moved, he

> said. Within the past week or so, crews have begun digging earth from under

> the decrepit building, supporting the structure with steel beams.

> The only hang-up now, Weaver said, is waiting to meet at the end of next

> week with engineers to discuss the feasibility of moving electrical and

> telephone lines along West Lee Highway so the tall building can be moved to

> the property he owns just a few miles away.


> Once he can get the details from the engineers, the move will begin

> promptly, hopefully in August.


> It will be moved in two parts, Weaver explained, the long narrow part and

> then the square front section.


> “If, for whatever reason, it can’t be moved,” Weaver vowed, “it will be

> destroyed.” Salvage crews will take any usable pieces from the depot and

> reuse them in historical restoration projects.


> Even if the town were to acquire the land before Weaver finished moving it,

> he isn’t sure he’d consider selling it to them at this point. The legal

> battle for ownership in 2009 and 2010 left a sour taste in his mouth.


> After a heated public hearing in 2009, the town decided to condemn the

> depot in an effort to try and restore it, which is what many

> people—including Weaver and council members—ultimately wanted to see happen.

> The action of the government seizing land under the guise of eminent domain

> was ruled illegal by Judge Josiah Showalter in Wythe County Circuit Court a

> year later.


> “The Town of Rural Retreat cannot condemn this property for historical

> purposes,” Showalter wrote in his ruling. He deemed the building Weaver’s

> personal property that “can be removed/transported anywhere or relocated to

> another place.”


> Weaver, who has owned the building since the late 1980s said he might

> consider selling the depot if the town agreed to pay him for everything he

> has invested in the building, which Weaver said totals about $135,000. It

> was appraised at $6,000 at the time, according to Wythe County tax records.

> Weaver declined the town’s offer of $30,000 for the depot in March 2009.


> What it really comes down to, Weaver said, is being sick and tired of

> bureaucracy. For years, he said, he’s been trying to determine if the depot

> is eligible for an official historic designation since he doesn’t own the

> land it sits on. Norfolk Southern Railway Corporation owns the 0.3 acres of

> land the depot sits on, leased on a year-to-year basis at $660 per year.


> He’s also trying to get a guaranteed mortgage to restore the depot.

> Letters, e-mails and phone calls to state officials, elected leaders and

> department heads requesting guidance and clarification have largely gone

> without answer.


> And he’d love for the town to get historical tax credit for the building,

> he said, but he’s not going to just give them the building.


> “The red tape is entirely around the depot,” Weaver said.


> So that’s why Weaver said he’s finally come to these measures—move the

> building onto his personal land to begin an herbal winery business or

> demolish the building and take his herbal winery business plan elsewhere.

> “After two decades, I’m ready for [the depot] to go out or down.”

> Amanda Evans can be reached at 228-6611 or aevans at



> Source:



> As of: July 17, 2011

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Nathan Simmons
trainman51 at
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