Where Did V&T Meet the Southside RR in Lynchburg ?

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sun Jul 2 07:26:32 EDT 2017


Thank you for the reference to Allen Chamber's definitive work on Lynchburg architecture which corrects my association of the Durham branch with the Southside Railroad.

The Lynchburg Union Station was indeed a union  station of the N&W, Southern, and C&O and was quite a busy place until Southern built its new line through Lynchburg about 1912. This removed about half of the forty or so passenger trains using Union Station at this time, although for some reason unknown to me two Southern passenger trains daily continued to use the old line and Union Station until in 1930s when the old line was abandoned from the James River north (most of the remainder is still in use today).

By the time of my hanging out with Aubrey Wiley, Howard Gregory, Jerry Bullington, and others "stalking" Lynchburg area railroads in the late 1950s, Union Station passenger traffic had declined to eight, then, six N&W passenger trains and two C&O doodlebugs (until 1957) daily. The restaurant in the western end of the station was popular with working people and lasted until the early 1960s and the station was closed December 31, 1964 as remaining passenger traffic was rerouted to the Lynchburg belt line and the new station at The west end of Kinney Yard where the connection with the Southern Railway interchanged the Tennessean, Pelican, and Birmingham Special. There was media coverage in the early 1960s of the possible construction of a new union station serving Southern (which still had 18 passenger and mail trains daily through Lynchburg) and N&W near the double wye connector at Kinney/Montview but this never occurred.

Freight traffic through Lynchburg Union Station in the late 1950s/early 1960s was primarily interchange between the three railroads and all this was directed from the operator in NC "tower", actually a one story cinderblock building on the north side of the track at Union Station. An exception was the westbound Phoebe Turn which went west most nights soon after the eastbound Powhatan Arrow left Union Station.

Ray Smoot

Sent from my iPad

On Jul 1, 2017, at 9:42 PM, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org<mailto:nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>> wrote:

I have been through Allen Chambers' mammoth book, Architectural History of Lynchburg, Va., which is considered the quintessential reference for the subject of its title.

He states that a station was started for the Virginia & Tennessee in 1849 and completed by November 1852. The railroad operated its first train as far as Forest, Va. in 1852 as well. Chambers describes the station as being on the southeast side of Ninth Street, at the foot of the hill. Ninth Street still exists and crosses the site of the James River & Kanawha Canal on the same bridge as was used in 1852. This means that the V&T station was about where the parking lot is for Depot Grill Restaurant today, which  has its own railroad history.

Continuing from Chambers's book, the V&T depot was replaced in 1875 by a Union Station on the northwest side of Blackwater Creek, about 2/10's of a mile to the west. This new station would serve the Virginian Midland Railroad (nee Orange & Alexandria) as well.

In 1890 the magnification Union Station was built on the site of the V&T shops and roundhouse.  In addition to N&W, passenger trains of Chesapeake & Ohio, Southern Railway and the street cars of Lynchburg Traction & Light Company called there. After World War II, N&W massacred the structure in an effort to modernize it. As a little child, I remember going there with my parents for the grand reopening and was amazed by one feature, ........ the mosaic tile floor in the waiting room.

I am attaching a post 1890 post card view of the Union Station and a 1959 view of the modernized station.

About the Southside Railroad (nee Petersburg & Lynchburg),  Chambers states that on March 21, 1853, "title was obtained for Percival's Island in the James River for a yard and depot, and a temporary depot was soon erected. The first train arrived Nov. 2, 1854...although V&T and Southside did not connect."

Aubrey Wiley
"Our stories give our lives meaning." Rudyard Kipling, 1928

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