Clarksville, VA to Oxford, NC

The Oxford and Clarksville Railroad

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The Oxford and Clarksville Railroad was chartered in 1884 and completed by 1888. In 1894, it was sold to the Southern Railway. Date of abandonment of the line is not known. Photo by Roy Graham, March 2012.

The line north of Oxford was abandoned in the mid 1980s.

RK
Warrenton, VA
4/15/2012

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the line north of oxford was abandoned in late 1997 by the virgina southern. norfolk southern took the line back a couple of years ago. they have no plans to use it nor take up the tracks.

jim renn
oxford, NC
2/12/2013

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update on the oxford to clarksville line buckingham branch rr runs from burkville,va via keysville, to clarksville to the va nc state line. south of same ns took back the track and still uses oxford to durham with one 5 day roadswitcher the p20 job out of east durham.

jim renn
oxford, NC
2/15/2013

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Is the track intact the whole distance from Oxford to Clarksville, and is bridge on the VA side able to carry a train? Has a dinner train ever been considered for this section of rail? I drive from Oxford to Clarksville and it seems a waste not to use the rail line.

Is there rail traffic of any kind from Oxford, NC to anywhere else that sees any type of rail traffic at all. The tracks near downtown Oxford would indicate that some trains pass through as they are not totally rusted such as south of Broad St. and where the tracks cross College St. near the hospital.

SM
Oxford, NC
7/29/2013

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Would be interesting to conduct a drive along and survey the suitability of a rail bike route. Would like to contact others interested. Some of the sections have grown up and would require clearing.

Norman Dean
Oxford, NC
10/5/2013

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Great idea on survey and clearing. What types of permissions are needed to do this. What is a reasonable distance to clear per day and are there volunteers willing to do this?

I was thinking a dinner train on the route might be of interest. Something that would contribute to economic development of the area.

SM
Oxford, NC
10/6/2013

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I think the first place to start would be the Map Office of the county to see who still owns the land. Second would be to contact the county Green Trails organization and talk up the Rail Bike idea, they may already have plans for this section. Someone may be interested in rental units for use, peddle powered and motor powered. I work at the National Guard Armory, please stop by and we'll talk. We're trying to get a model train club started also in the area.

Norman Dean
Oxford, NC
10/6/2013

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Checked with the map section of the county and the Railroad still owns the property. I think she said NS. Of, from the rubber plant on the bypass always to Clarkton is not in use but the NS got an exception to maintain ownership of the right-of-way back a couple of years ago. Talked with the Mayor of Oxford and they have been round and round with NS to use it for a bike path and they said NO, and again NO. We're toing to ask some more questions but the picture of the track above is exceptional. Most of the track is overgrown and some trees growing up between the ties are a foot in diameter. Pave crossings have three inches of pavement over rails. Some rails have been dismounted or are missing all together but there are a couple of sections it would be working at getting the use of.

Norman Dean III
Oxford, NC
10/7/2013

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In looking at the tracks, if permission was obtained, I think local pulpwood cutters might be interested in clearing the track down to tie level and ten foot or so wide and up to fifteen feet. Would be a great little profit to the guys doing the work, wouldn't have to pay for the wood and the railroad could get the major stuff out of the way. They would have to have a major project to reopen this section of rail.

Norman Dean III
Oxford, NC
10/7/2013

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Spent about an hour and a half checking the line. From the Virginia side down to about Bullock the rails could be made usable for rail bikes or rail cycles with clearing that could be done by hand. Some of the paved crossings riders would have to walk their bikes or cycles across. From Bullock to Stovall the clearings could be a little heavier and it would take equipment to clear dirt piles and larger trees (could be done with chainsaws). From the river on the Virginia side to the NC line there are basically no major clearing problems, just a few walk overs at crossings and a couple of those could be cleaned up and usable.

Norman Dean III
Oxford, NC
10/12/2013

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RK in Warrenton, VA, I have a few pictures but can't get the email click at the bottom or the page to work. Please send me an email address I can forward pictures to. deancrof@centurylink.net

Norman Dean III
Oxford, SC
10/12/2013

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Prior to the Buckingham Branch RR acquiring the lease to the line from Burkeville to the VA/NC line, Rail America held the lease. During the last several years of the RA's lease I had the opportunity to clear the right of way for them from Burkeville South. I eventually had the line clear past the crossing South of Stovall. I have talked to several representatives of NS in hopes of getting permission to be on the right of way for the purpose of rail preservation. So far I haven't gotten very far but I am still attempting to find the "right" person to talk to.

AC
Clarksville, VA
10/17/2013

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Thank you AC for your efforts. It is my understanding that taxpayers in Granville County, NC pay taxes on the land the railway is on if it is on their property and that is at least a local government issue at county level. The situation could be analogous to recycling. Here is an asset, the railway, that has been abandoned, so would there not be some sort of salvage rights by others to use it as salvage. Yes they own it but should there not be a requirement for it to be maintained so as not to forfeit that ownership. I am not a lawyer but there are many ways one could argue the case. I have found the School of Government at UNC Chapel Hill helpful on legal issues in the past. Though it would be a conflict of interest for them to be legal representation they can when asked demystify and relevant law. One wonders could there not be action under an interstate commerce act as the line runs between NC and VA. Just some thoughts that maybe someone reading this might advise or act on. I will put the situation to the School of Government at Chapel Hill and give them the link for this site and maybe they might post a response.

SM
Oxford, NC
10/17/2013

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AC and SM, we are working on the possibility of a recreational use of the rail line from Oxford north to the rail bridge in Virginia. I would like to set up a meeting with both of you and bring a lady that is involved with the discussion with the higher ups with NS. You might have the information she needs to make a go of this. I work at the Oxford Armory daily can receive emails at either deancrof@centurylink.net or norman.g.dean2.ctr@mail.mil Please contact me.

Norman Dean III
Oxford, NC
10/17/2013

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AC I am usually in Clarksville a few hours each Thursday and will be there this coming Thurs Oct 24 if you want to meet or the following Thurs. I will stop by in person at the armory to meet you Norman on Wed or Thurs the Oct 23 or 24

SM

SM
Oxford, NC
10/17/2013

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SM, fine come on down. AC, I could get up to Clarksville on a Thursday if we could plan a place and time.

Norman Dean III
Oxford, NC
10/17/2013

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SM, went by the tax office, Mapping section this morning to check on the railway right of way property. Guess what, the property the right of way lies on is tax exempt from local or state taxes. They don't even have an owner listed at the tax office because they don't have to send a bill. The other parts of the rail system that comes up from Durham is leases, rented and owned by several organizations but I didn't even get into that. I think you'll be interested in the information I have on the Oxford and Clarksville line from the county though.

Norman Dean III
Oxford, NC
10/18/2013

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Norman,

I asked someone to check the NC General Statutes re abandoned railways. Here are two links they sent me

http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_1/GS_1-44.1.html

http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_1/GS_1-44.2.html

SM
Oxford, NC
10/18/2013

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SM - From what I've been told, the line is not abandoned and is clamed by NS. A country group has talked to them about having the line for Rails to Trails and they have said no. The national Rails to Trails has designated the route up and over the river at Clarksville as a designated route but NS said no, no, and no. Liability for the two bridges be changed to foot, bike or whatever traffic was one statement and the power plant utilizing coal another. They need the tracks north of the VA line for car storage as they have in the past.

I think they could be approached for dual usage, leaving the rails in place for future utilization if they needed them (after one hell of a lots or rail crossing upgrades, tie replacement and lots or clearance right of way maintenance). A pathway could be placed between the rails, by design they only need 3 foot for a path, and the existing rails could be used for rail carts or bikes for exercise areas. I think that a small commercial business could run rail cycles over a large portion of the existing rails north of Stovall with a little rail cycle barn built on the end of the siding there. Minimal clearing would be required from there north and the money could go to additional clearing and upkeep of the system. Up in Maine they run their business from May through October and have a full reservation daily when scheduled. This would be a great activity for the lake bunch during the summer and anyone year round wanting to get out and take a rail ride. There would be about eight miles of travel, three hour turn around and two trips a day. Ten dollars a head for adults, two per car, six cars and five for kids that would ride jump seats. That would be about three sixty a day when operating. This would be a great little business for some retired individuals to get into. Rail cycles are between twelve hundred and two thousand each, low maintenance and easy to operate.

AC, how hard would it be to clear to Stovall using volunteers and powered hand tools?

Norman Dean III
Oxford, NC
10/18/2013

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Norman,

I appreciate all the information and your proposals. Could a local person build the rail cars to the specs needed for the track? Say former Corbitt truck employees. There is past know how for building such things locally i.e. the Oxford Carriage Works.

What about having a catered lunch for those that ride once the rail bikes were in operation as part of a day package, and maybe a boat ride or couple it with canoeing/kayaking at Longwood on the VA side. They do this in Western NC with a train trip and rafting.

Others who might be interested outside bicyclists might be those that are inspection car hobbyists i.e. those little gas powered railway cars that those that inspected the rail line used. Just a thought. They might be an organization who might come alongside too.

SM

SM
Oxford, NC
10/19/2013

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SM, I'm sure we have local people that could build or assemble these type vehicles. The needed fiberglass rail tires are about $800 for four (red and blue, black are extra. The axles are available and also plans for the aluminum frames. The complete package would run $1,200 to $2,000 depending on add-ons you would want.

I'm sure boating, say kayak outfits could get in on one end of this venture. Say in the morning a group starts out by rail toward the lake and a group on a kayak tour starts out on the lake and all meet at twelve for lunch on the Virginia end of the rail ride. There they swap modes of transportation going by water or rail. Sure, lots of things would be worked out. Just need to get a section of track to work with, a backer for a chunk of money, build a terminal at Stovall with a little ticket office and get the word out. I think it could make a go or it as a recreational addition of the Granville County Green Trails....

Please try to come by the armory and take a look at the 12" x 17" model railroad we disassembled yesterday in Wake Forest and were going to store it until we can find a place to put it and start a Model Railroad Club.

Norman Dean III
Oxford, NC
10/20/2013

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My bag, I meant 12'0" x 17'0".....about two thousand pounds of layout and equipment.

Norman Dean III
Oxford, NC
10/20/2013

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I'm out of place for a week or so. The plans I'm reading about sound great but there are issues that need to be resolved before making too many plans. One thing there would be no access to the lake unless vehicles are used to transport individuals to a boat ramp. Liability insurance would cost a small fortune and getting permission to use the rails will be a hurdle. My interest is in the preservation of the rail line, hoping it isn't taken up.

AC
Clarksville, VA
10/21/2013

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AC, when you were clearing rail south to Stovall, who was paying for the job? Was it NS or the short line that runs into Clarksville.....I don't have the name handy. How far south do they have permission to operate. The ideas for rail usage just follows want some communities have done to preserve their rail lines, making them earn a little money to keep them clear and in the public eye rather than going to the scrap pile. I don't want to see a Rails to Trail in this situation, but would like to see them used and preserved myself.

Norman Dean III
Oxford, NC
10/22/2013

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Norman: I was not compensated for the cleating to Stovall. I cleared the line North of the state line for the purpose of storing cars and didn't stop. I would have continued on South however Rail America gave up the lease and the Buckingham Branch acquired the lease several years ago. The BB is a VA corporation and they stop at the state line. Norfolk Southern has the line from the state line to just North of the 158 bypass at Oxford. I should be around next week so maybe I can make it to Oxford one day.

AC
Clarksville, VA
10/22/2013

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One day I'll learn to slow down and spell correctly.....

AC
Clarksville, VA
10/22/2013

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Would love to get together with the all of us, Jim Renn, SM, and AC. I work at the National Guard Armory in Oxford, side door if cars are in the lot.

Norman Dean III
Oxford, NC
10/22/2013

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Still would like to meet you guys about the rail line. Come on guys, know you like to talk about it so lets have a cup of coffee.

Norman 919 601-1809

Norman Dean III
Oxford, NC
11/19/2013

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Scott dropped by the office today and we had a great talk. Talked about the raillines north and the New Hope Valley Railroad. Showed him the HO scale layout we have stored here at the armory looking for a place to set it up. Anyone have a 24' x 24' room, heated, etc and need a model railroad? Just asking.

Norman Dean
Oxford, NC
1/9/2014

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Stopped by the armory in Oxford Monday afternoon but couldn't find anyone. I'll try to get back that way in the next couple of weeks.

AC
Clarksville, VA
3/11/2014

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Not working at the armory in Oxford any longer. They are going to pass it along to the county and moved me to an office in Raleigh. Wife still works there till they move her to Roxboro later this month.

Norman Dean III
Oxford, NC
3/11/2014

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Have you seen this 2009 correspondence re the railway that was sent to Washington, DC in May 2009 - see link below

http://1.usa.gov/1hdcaLr

SM
Oxford, NC
3/23/2014

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SM, can't open the link you gave. Any additional information?

Norman Dean III
Oxford, NC
3/23/2014

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Norman,

Try this link for a 2009 correspondence re the railway that was sent to Washington, DC in May 2009 - see link below

http://docs.stb.dot.gov/?sGet&Dl1cTH1WXw1zAAsBXBRWV0x6Sw1xfAMCXAICCW4DFnUCf3ELWAAAAGoBGwgAfBVRAl9CcUsOS1FELBVCO1dAS0ZcQQ0AfQcHS1RbVEpdTl1VcAEAWAMADAoBamB0C20yMjgvMy8wME0zMgw%3D

Scott
Oxford, NC
10/23/2014

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Norman,

Copy and past the link below, as is (don't add anything to the web address below, into a browser, I use Firefox, and you should see the document I refer to in my 3/23/2014 posting on this Abandoned Rails webpage

1.usa.gov/1hdcaLr

Scott
Oxford, NC
10/23/2014

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Couldn't get anything except a link back to this web page.

Norman Dean
Oxford, NC
10/23/2014

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www.trulia.com is a real estate site which has a property line overlay on its maps --- if you zoom in close enough.

Jon Adams
Hampton, VA
9/6/2015

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Re Jon Adams comment on Sept 6, 2015

Jon,

Did you mean to add more detail to your posting? Can you clarify your posting.

Thank you.

Scott
Oxford, NC
9/6/2015

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I was just saying that trulia.com has a feature which shows property lines when you get in close on its maps.

Jon Adams
Hampton VA
9/9/2015

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Thanks Jon. I hadn't thought about that re using Trulia to see the property lines.

I think this section could be made a profitable one on which to run a tourist train and/or dinner train.

Scott
Oxford, NC
9/9/2015

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