Richmond and Alleghany Railroad

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Richmond and Alleghany Railroad
Locale Richmond - Buchanan, Virginia
Dates of operation March 4, 1880–1888
Predecessor James River and Kanawha Canal
Successor Chesapeake and Ohio Railway
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Headquarters Richmond, Virginia

The Richmond and Alleghany Railroad was built along the James River along the route of the James River and Kanawha Canal from Richmond on the fall line at the head of navigation to a point west of Lynchburg near Buchanan, Virginia, and combined with the Buchanan and Clifton Forge Railway Company to reach Clifton Forge, Virginia.

History[edit]

Long a dream of early Virginians such as George Washington, the canal was never completed as envisioned to link the James and Ohio Rivers. Beginning in the 1830s, railroads overtook canals as a preferred technology for transportation in Virginia. The canal was conveyed to the new railroad company by a deed dated March 4, 1880. Railroad construction workers promptly started laying tracks on the towpath.

Led by Major James H. Dooley of Richmond, the new railroad offered a water-level route from the Appalachian Mountains just east of West Virginia near Jackson's River Station (now Clifton Forge) through the Blue Ridge Mountains at Balcony Falls to Richmond. In 1888 the railroad was leased, and later purchased, by Collis P. Huntington's Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. Major Dooley built a mansion on an estate west of Richmond (just east of the current Boulevard Bridge) overlooking the railroad. He and his wife Sallie became benefactors for many philanthropic causes around Richmond, and their estate in Richmond became Maymont.

Today, the former Richmond and Alleghany Railroad is a major route of CSX Transportation. It forms the Rivanna and James River subdivisions. The eastern terminus is Richmond's Main Street Station. It meets the former Virginia Central Railroad (now operated by the Buckingham Branch Railroad, a short-line operator) at Rivanna Junction.

1884 map of the Richmond and Alleghany overlaid on a geological map of the route and connecting routes

References[edit]

  • Publisher of Trains Magazine (2000). Kalmbach Publishing, ed. The historical guide to North American railroads (2nd Ed. ed.). Waukesha, WI: Kalmbach Publishing. ISBN 0-89024-356-5. 

External links[edit]