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Book: Rails to the Blue Ridge



Subtitled: “The Washington and Old Dominion Railroad, 1847-1968,” author Herbert H. Harwood, Jr. tracks the history of the railroad and its impact on Arlington and Northern Virginia.

For a time in the early 1900s the paved path we know as the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park (or hike and bike trail), was known as the Washington & Old Dominion Railway. Wealthy entrepreneurs John McLean and Stephen Elkins formed the new corporation as a successor to their already acquired Great Falls and Old Dominion Railroad with plans to lease the Bluemont branch of the Southern Railway. The larger section of rail that travelled from Washington, D.C., through Herndon and on to points further west was called the Bluemont Branch, while the separate Great Falls branch was a shorter line that ran just north of the Bluemont branch, connecting Washington to Great Falls. The two lines, however, did not connect. McLean and Elkins started making plans to lease the Bluemont branch, electrify it and connect it to their successful Great Falls Branch.

  • Softcover
  • Publisher: Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, 2000

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