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Bluemont Branch

Southern Railway
& Predecessor Railroads


Washington/Alexandria - Bluemont, Virginia


Bluemont Branch Train at Vienna, Virginia Before 1912

From 1847 until 1968 there was a railroad that ran across several counties in Northern Virginia from Washington and Alexandria out to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hopes were high that this railroad would restore Alexandria's former position as a major shipping port on the East Coast. Being able to easily and cost-effectively bring agricultural produces from the Shenandoah Valley, and coal from the western Virginia counties (later West Virginia) would allow the City of Alexandria to compete on an equal footing with it's neighbors to the north at Baltimore, and to the south at Norfolk. Despite the best efforts of a number of railroad iterations, these goals were not to be achieved. This is the story of the effort to achieve lofty goals.

Based on the works of Ames W. Williams, “The Washington and Old Dominion Railroad”
and Herbert H. Harwood, “Rails to the Blue Ridge”
with extensive information provided by Bernard Berne and Paul McCray
Unless otherwise noted, credit photos to W&OD Railroad Collection, NOVA Park
Note: Many pictures from NOVA Park Collection are originally from the Herbert H. Harwood Collection.

Kenneth W. McIlvoy
Amissville, Virginia






Passenger and Freight Equipment


Track Plans

Along the Right-of-Way