Where was the "other" depot down along the James River?

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sun Jul 2 10:04:02 EDT 2017

Thank you Aubrey for those images you have so kindly shared with us. Now
for the proverbial follow up questions.

In the first months 1860, the Orange & Alexandria RR made its entry into
the Lynchburg scene with the trackage, then just completed across the James
River. This was completed just in time for the events of 1861-1865.
Nevertheless, the O&A built a station, according to what I have read, about
100 yards from the South Side/Virginia & Tennessee depot. Since the SS &
V&T were of the prevalent Southern gauge of 5' and the O&A's 4' 8.5", that
was what they did as there was no way to interchange even if they were
closer and apparently whatever connections were handled by express
companies, hacks, omnibuses, teamsters and the like.

After the war the various facilities were rebuilt and/or relocated to more
feasible connections I presume. By about 1871 or so, the O&A, now renamed
OA&M for its consolidation of the old Manassas Gap RR started building
south from Lynchburg and opened the line to Danville in May 1874.

In 1911 I think it was, Southern built their new line, then called a
"beltline" much as we see it today thru Lynchburg, but they kept using the
old line down at river level until October 1931 (I have that date
confirmed), when the last 2 passenger trains were eliminated from that
route. At that time, the old line was placed out of service and sat unused.
I read somewhere that the old iron bridge crossing the James was not
removed until WW 2 as a part of steel/iron reclamation wartime scrap drives.

That said, where was the old O&A depot (1860's and later) located when they
first arrived and was it changed and consolidated with the N&W when it came
into being in 1881?

The Southern line was all being modernized during the first 20 years of the
20th century as it was double-tracked all the way from Washington, DC to
Atlanta in stages, but as stated above the 2 lines were continued for 20
years after the line we see today was implemented in 1911.

The R&A (Richmond & Allegheny) RR came thru replacing the canal in
1880-1881, not without a lot of fussing and fuming by the N&W and Virginia
Midland, successor to the old Orange & Alexandria. The R&A became part of
the C&O in 1890 and continued passenger service on the James River line
until around 1957-1958..

We know the N&W built their beltline in the 1910-1915 era and kept both it
and the Percival's Island routing into the 1960's when it closed the old
Union Station and opened the Woodall Rd. facility in 1965 or 1966,
abandoning the old route in the process.

I think that covers the questions and bases.

Bob Cohen

 Message: 4
Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2017 21:37:31 -0400
From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>
To: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>
Subject: Re: Where Did V&T Meet the Southside RR in Lynchburg ?
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 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

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

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