Gore, VA to Wardensville, WV


GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

This engine is sitting in weeds near the Winchester & Western diesel shop in Gore, VA. Somewhere in this area, the WW main used to continue several miles to Wardensville, West Virginia. Photo by Mike Palmer, August 2003.

The Winchester & Western was initially constructed in the 1910s, to tap local forests to supply railroad ties to the Baltimore & Ohio. The line was eventually extended to Wardensville, WV in the early 1920s.

Freight traffic on the outer reaches of the branch dwindled during the depression, and the line was cut back to Capon Springs in the mid 1930s. Around WWII the line was cut back further to Gore, and the station of Rock Enon Springs lost service at that time. The rest of the line down to Winchester remains in service, with a sand quarry near Gore providing most of the freight.

The abandoned segment travels through remote valleys along the border of Virginia and West Virginia. Topo maps indicate parts of the abandoned railroad grade but they are difficult to locate. Rock Enon is now a Boy Scout camp.

The "engine" pictured here is really an Alco RS11, converted into a slug. See <http://www.thedieselshop.us/Winch&West.HTML>.

Jeff Wieland
West Lafayette, IN


The railroad was chartered in 1916, and completed to Rock Enon Springs in 1919. It was extended to Wardensville by 1921. As the Great Depression hit, and the region's timber reserves were being exhausted, the line was cut back in 1934 to Capon Springs. Later in that same year, the line was cut back to Rock Enon Springs (now the site of a Boy Scout camp that I attended as a kid). In either 1942 or 1944, it was cut back further to Gore. This section is still in use for the WW's parent company, the Unimin Corp. which uses it to haul sand from its quarry. In 1986, WW bought the "Winchester Secondary" from Conrail. Its Virginia Division now covers 54 miles. In 1987, WW bought three shortlines in southern New Jersey. One of them was from the Central Railroad of New Jersey, I can't remember what the other two were (although I THINK I read once that that they had been part of Conrail. This may bear checking.). They serve Unimin sand interests in that area, along with some other freight.

Here's a nice YouTube four-part segment on the "Sandman" train from Gore to Winchester.


Jeffrey Hege
Strasburg, VA


The Wardensville passenger station and freight in are still standing and in good condition. Both have been repurposed. They are on the left heading west into town on rt55. They are just past the red brick school building that is now a pharmacy.

ernest bellinetti
strasburg, VA


The map on your website was a big help. I see where the old rail trail follows pretty closely to Back Creek Road near Capon Springs, so maybe I will get up that way over the winter and do some snooping. I also located online the old railway depot at Capon Road Station, on the outskirts of Strasburg, VA, which was the end of the B&O line. It was opened around 1887 and passengers disembarked there and rode a coach to Capon Springs Resort, with baggage carts following. That was pretty standard for the time.

The Strasburg Museum has a website and on it a link to the old Capon Road Station photo on rt 55 going out of town almost to I-81. Cal Sonner of the musuem said the Capon Road Station is now boarded up.


Mrs. Mercine Marshall
Chesapeake Beach, MD


Shortened Link: http://a-r.us/wr4

Do you have any pictures or information about Gore, VA to Wardensville, WV? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.