The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway

The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway (HM1QZR)

Location: Piney River, VA 22964 Nelson County
Country: United States of America

N 37° 42.483', W 79° 1.333'

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The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail

The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway was formed in 1914 to haul American Chestnut timber for local lumber companies. As a short-line railroad of 16 miles, the Railway was intended to connect to larger rail systems with national reach. By the 1920s, the Railway fell on hard times due to World War I, the Chestnut blight, and the Great Depression—all of which greatly reduced the amount of freight available for hauling.

In the early 1930s, mining and ore processing plants began operating in the Piney River area and used the Railway to haul titanium dioxide, aplite, and other products. Beginning in 1944, American Cyanamid Company was for 20 years the Railways's largest customer.

The Railway began to decline in the l970s when American Cyanamid closed its local plant. A general loss of freight customers led the Railway to stop functioning in 1981 and the tracks were abandoned in 1984, thus ending the Railway's 70-year history as the longest continuously running profitable shortline railroad in the United States.

(top right) The original route of the Railway ran from Massie's Mill to Tye River. When timbering halted and mining and ore production began, the Railway condensed to run between Piney River and Tye River.

(bottom right) The original purpose for the Railway was to haul timber no local sawmills for processing into lumber. Above is the Leftwich Timber Company Mill in Woodson, VA in 1916. Courtesy of Carl Lathrop.
Placed ByVirginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, March 9th, 2016 at 9:04am PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 674339 N 4175264
Decimal Degrees37.70805000, -79.02221667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 42.483', W 79° 1.333'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 42' 28.98" N, 79° 1' 19.98" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)434
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail, Piney River VA 22964, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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