Orange to Fredericksburg

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(Forwarded from the Orange & Frederick Railroad)

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West End of track facing west in Orange, VA. Note "C&O RY" stamped on the cement marker post. This track is still used as a siding, for loading gondolas with wood products. Photo by Mike Palmer.

Fredericksburg & Gordonsville (standard gauge) graded during the Civil War, built after the Civil War from Fredericksburg to Parker. The line lasted a few years but was sold in foreclosure to the Fredericksburg Orange & Charlottesville, which in turn failed in 1874. The existing line was then converted to narrow gauge (3 feet) and extended from Parker to Orange in 1878, and renamed the Potomac Fredericksburg & Piedmont (PF&P).

The PF&P ran until after WW I, when it was sold in foreclosure in 1925 and then became the Orange & Frederick RR. In 1926 the line was standard gauged and named the Virginia Central, apparently unrelated to an earlier line that was also called the Virginia Central. It had planned to head east from Fredericksburg in 1930, but the line was never built. The main stem of the Virginia Central was abandoned in 1938, except for short segments at either end. The Fredericksburg stub lasted until 1973; the Orange stub (serving a building materials company) probably lasted into the 1980s.

The line roughly parallels Virginia route 20 from Orange to Verdiersville. In the Rhoadsville area, it appears the right of way ran across what are now the front yards of homes. East of Verdiersville, the right of way parallels route 621 as far as Parker. Continuing further east the right of way cuts through the Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania National Military Park, and then joined the RF&P on the south side of Fredericksburg.

Thanks to Mike Palmer for contributing information about this route.

The PF&P ("the Poor Folks & Preachers" RR) has a storied past, at least its right of way does, in three of the four Civil War battles in the area. Generally, the right of way is still visible from here to Orange (40 miles West).

Scott Walker
Fredericksburg
2/19/2010

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2.1 miles of this road have been made available by Spotsylvania County as a public hiking and biking trail and they plan to extend that to cover their entire portion of the road by 2020. What a great way to keep the history of this road alive and to allow alternative transportation between the Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Wilderness battlefield sites! Please let the Spotsylvania County Director of Planning, Wanda Parrish, know of your support for this project at wparrish@spotsylvania.va.us.

Gary Golden
Chancellor, VA
11/3/2010

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I grew up on 40 acres of land right off of Rt 660 or Old Lawyers Rd. The land that my grandfather purchased contained a portion of this railroad that had been a bridge but was filled in ... I believe it was called Long Bridge, Part of our driveway was on the railroad bed. I still have civil war bullets, railroad nails, and other things from this, it was a wonderful story my grandfather would tell as I grew up. If you know of any other sites with information on this railway or events surrounding it would you be so kind as to pass them on? Thank You, Patricia Flint

Patricia Flint
Rhodesville, VA
2/14/2011

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A small part of the historic roadbed is publicly accessible in Alum Spring Park in Fredericksburg. The article in the link below includes a map:

http://www.librarypoint.org/alum_spring_park

Hollen G. Schemmer
Fredericksburg, VA
4/5/2012

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Shortened Link: http://a-r.us/92x
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