The 16-mile Buckingham Branch is a former C&O operation which
runs from Bremo south to Dillwyn. The line, which once extended to Rosney, at one time intended to reach the N&W at Farmville. The Bryant family purchased the line from CSX in 1989. The interchange with CSX is
at Strathmore yard, where the abandoned Virginia Air Line headed north to Lindsay. Daily CSX manifest trains Q302/303 switch the yard and Buckingham Branch trains run over CSX trackage between Bremo and Strathmore to reach the yard.
The line crosses the James River on a high
bridge just east of the US15 bridge. From there it heads east briefly, paralleling the
river, to a switchback at New Canton. Trains reverse direction to continue on to Dillwyn. The locomotives point "north," so the train backs up to Dillwyn with the caboose in the lead.
The line is unsignalled and limited to 10 miles per hour. Railroad crews have been working continuously to repair the physical plant since the acquisition of the line from CSX in 1989. A major tie, ballast and bridge replacement program was completed last summer.
The Buckingham Branch Railroad usually operates three days per week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The other days are reserved for operating the Shenandoah Valley Railroad, between Staunton and Pleasant Valley and for maintenance activities. The Buckingham Branch's
offices and shops are in Dillwyn. Trains originate at Dillwyn in the morning, and after switching industries in the town, head north to the CSX interchange at Strathmore. Stops are usually made along the way to pick up loaded cars outside of Dillwyn. The engineer on Buckingham Branch train will identify himself as the "Z710" when requesting permission to enter CSX rails. On the return trip, empties are spotted at various spurs. Commodities shipped include pulpwood, untreated ties, sand, and solite. There are four locomotives on the property, all early GP's. These include ex-Seaboard (ex-A&WP) GP16 #1857, ex-Seaboard 1818 and 8851 and ex-RF&P 101. [UPDATE: The BB's motive power has been repainted in the gray and red scheme. The units are now numbered one through three. The RF&P 101 retains its historic livery.] The last unit is the property of the Old Dominion Chapter NRHS and is used primarily on excursions. The Buckingham Branch has an active excursion program throughout the year, including Santa Claus trains in December. For more information about the excursion program visit the Old Dominion Chapter's web site. You will find the railroad to be very railfan friendly. You may contact the Buckingham Branch Railroad at (804) 983-2663.
(1) Bremo: Thrice-weekly Buckingham Branch train crosses the James River bridge.
(2) Dillwyn: Buckingham Branch #8851 (ex-Seaboard) at rest adjacent to station.
(3) Dillwyn: Buckingham Branch #1857 works the Westvaco yard at Dillwyn.