The old James river "Orange Bridge" location

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Wed Jul 5 08:14:37 EDT 2017

Where was the original Southern crossing over the James River you ask?

That one is E Z.

It was a short distance downriver from the present much higher bridge. The
original line crossed under the new line and the went down to near river
level before crossing. I have copies of maps and suspect the society might
have them as well. I think one may have been reproduced for the last N&W
society convention in Lynchburg. Might even have been in the society's
Arrow magazine which had the big Percival's Island story close to 15 years

Let's remember that the bridge went out of service on October 1, 1931 when
the last Southern trains using the Union Depot, #135 & #136 were shifted up
to the current Southern station, Kemper. Kemper opened in 1912, the new
line began operations a year earlier and the 2 lines were operated
simultaneously for 19 years. Trains going to one station did NOT stop at
the other as that would have entailed a backup maneuver after pulling the
hard grade out of the river bottom region, not to mention a bunch of other
operational issues.

Bob Cohen

Where was the original Southern bridge at that crossed the James River? ?I
haven't found a map yet that tells me where the original bridge was at.
-Evan Miller
      From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
 To: nw-mailing-list at
 Sent: Monday, July 3, 2017 9:27 AM
 Subject: Where was the "other" depot down along the James River?
"In 1911 I think it was, Southern built their new line, then called a
"beltline" much as we see it today thru Lynchburg, but they kept using the
old line down at river level until October 1931 (I have that date
confirmed), when the last 2 passenger trains were eliminated from that
route. At that time, the old line was placed out of service and sat unused.
I read somewhere that the old iron bridge crossing the James was not
removed until WW 2 as a part of steel/iron reclamation wartime scrap
Bob Cohen

?Message: 4
 Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2017 21:37:31 -0400
 From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
 To: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
 Subject: Re: Where Did V&T Meet the Southside RR in Lynchburg ?
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 ?I have been through Allen Chambers' mammoth book, *Architectural History
 of Lynchburg, Va.*, which is considered the quintessential reference for
 the subject of its title.

 He states that a station was started for the Virginia & Tennessee in 1849
 and completed by November 1852. The railroad operated its first train as
 far as Forest, Va. in 1852 as well. Chambers describes the station as being
 on the southeast side of Ninth Street, at the foot of the hill. Ninth
 Street still exists and crosses the site of the James River & Kanawha Canal
 on the same bridge as was used in 1852. This means that the V&T station was
 about where the parking lot is for Depot Grill Restaurant today, which
 has its own railroad history.

 Continuing from Chambers's book, the V&T depot was replaced in 1875 by a
 Union Station on the northwest side of Blackwater Creek, about 2/10's of a
 mile to the west. This new station would serve the Virginian Midland
 Railroad (nee Orange & Alexandria) as well.

 In 1890 the magnification Union Station was built on the site of the V&T
 shops and roundhouse.? In addition to N&W, passenger trains of Chesapeake &
 Ohio, Southern Railway and the street cars of Lynchburg Traction & Light
 Company called there. After World War II, N&W massacred the structure in an
 effort to modernize it. As a little child, I remember going there with my
 parents for the grand reopening and was amazed by one feature, ........ the
 mosaic tile floor in the waiting room.

 I am attaching a post 1890 post card view of the Union Station and a 1959
 view of the modernized station.

 About the Southside Railroad (nee Petersburg & Lynchburg),? Chambers states
 that on March 21, 1853, "title was obtained for Percival's Island in the
 James River for a yard and depot, and a temporary depot was soon erected.
 The first train arrived Nov. 2, 1854...although V&T and Southside did not

 Aubrey Wiley
 "Our stories give our lives meaning." Rudyard Kipling, 1928
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