Front Royal Junction to Front Royal

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  • States: Virginia   
  • Railroads: SR   
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The former Southern station in Front Royal, VA, at the south end of a one-mile spur from the wye at Front Royal Junction. It is now used as a visitors center. Photo by Mike Palmer, August 2001.

This branch to the town of Front Royal was built in the 1850s. Destroyed during the Civil War, the railroad was entirely rebuilt by the 1870s.

The last passenger train ran in 1946, with the last freight train following in 1959.

Not surprised to find this branch added to the list of abandoned lines. I rode one of the Southern steam special excursion trains back in the early 1970s from Alexandria to Front Royal. I remember the wye at Front Royal Jct. We pulled in the southern leg of the wye and traveled to end of track in Front Royal. There was a Southern diesel helper on standby at the wye. Once we came to a stop, the diesel followed us in and hooked onto the rear of the train. The train was broken in half and the diesel spotted the back half on another siding coming off the branch near end of track. This was done to keep our long train from fouling the street crossings for a long while. When departing, the procedure was done in reverse, and the whole train backed out the north leg of the wye. Once clear of the switch the diesel uncoupled and we were on our way.

The reason I'm not surprised to see it's abandonment is because, even though the line appeared in good shape back then, it didn't appear to have much traffic at all to justify it's existance. Glad to see the station has survived and found usefulness as a Visitors Center.

David

David Earp
Baltimore, MD
12/26/2010

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The track is still in place from the wye to Commerce Street. The last portion down to the RR station has been gone since the late 80's, early 90's. NS will occasionally tie up work trains on this piece of track.

Donnie Biggs
Arlington, VA
6/10/2011

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Appreciate this listing. I live in Strasburg, VA and travel to Front Royal on a regular basis. Although the track from the station to Commerce St are gone. The rails are still in place east of Commerce St. to the wye. NS work trains occasionally use them when working on the mainline.The wye is use from time to time in local switching moves. The wye is easy to get to and a good spot for train watching. I have some recent photos of work train and track laying equipment that were parked on the stub. Will post once I figure out how to add photos on this sight. ErnieBell

Ernest Bellinetti
Strasburg, VA
10/11/2011

[Ernest, please email any pictures to me at the email address at the bottom of the page, thanks!  —Greg Harrison]

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NS was still using the wye in the early 90's for steam excursions. I have video of the N&W 1218 backing on the wye. The rails were creaking and groaning with that monster on them.

Steve Kneipp
Flattop Mtn , VA
8/21/2013

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Did trains on the mainline detour to Front Royal between Riverton Junction and Happy Creek, or was there a shuttle? The timetable isn't specific. I'm asking because of a mapping project I'm doing on old rail service in the DMV.

David Edmondson
Washington, DC
4/23/2015

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