Dayton to North River Gap

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  • States: Virginia   
  • Railroads: CW   
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These bridge piers are on the north side of Bridgewater, where the Chesapeake Western crossed the North River. This section of line was abandoned before the 1930s. Photo by Mike Palmer, February 2004.

The Chesapeake Western was a shortline that ran in the foothills west of the lower Shenandoah Valley. The remnant of the original route that remains in service is now part of Norfolk Southern.

The track originally extended west from the current end-of-track at Dayton, through Stemphleytown, Bridgewater, Spring Creek, Mossy Creek, Mount Solon, Stokesville and North River Gap. The track beyond Bridgewater has been gone since the 1930s or earlier, although the right of way can still be located in some areas. The right of way on the south bank of Mossy Creek is still visible, and some cuts and fills near Mount Solon are still in place but overgrown.

The last section of the right-of-way between Stokesville and North River Gap is now used as a road, so named the C and W Railway Road.

The route through Bridgewater can still be traced in some parts. Former rail customers Ethan Allen furniture and Perdue Poultry are at the end of Depot Street.

A tressel in the city Harrisonburg was recently removed and a section line relocated to make way for reconstruction of the Garbers church Rd. Erickson Ave. and State Route 42(South high St.)http://www.whsv.com/home/headlines/89604717.html

Clay Wiseman
Greenville
4/11/2010

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Ethan Allen went out of business several years ago. As far as I'm aware, Perdue did not use rail service, according to a now retired CW employee. There still is one or two no trespassing N&W Railway signs in Bridgewater, along with a tie plate or two at one of the old Bridgwater Warehouse buildings closest to the old Ethan Allen plant. There are also still some ties in the ground at the Rockingham Coop, too.

Joel Spitzer
Harrisonburg, VA
5/9/2010

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there are several railroad buildings still standing behind Purdue Foods and the ROW is still very decercernable

donnie collier
staunton, VA
2/10/2012

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The C&W Railway transported freight in Bridgewater to and from the Rockingham Cooperative Farm Bureau, Ethan Allen (formerly Thumas furniture factory), Thumas Coal Company, and the Bridgewater Plow Corporation. Though the tracks ran beside of the poultry plan that is now Perdue, the train never carried freight of any kind for the poultry plants there.

Greg Owen
Bridgewater, VA
9/15/2013

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