Rural Retreat Depot / Railway Station

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Thu Oct 24 17:20:25 EDT 2013

The last passenger train to and from Bristol did last until Amtrak day, May 1, 1971. My memory is that it was Bristol to Washington, with Southern providing service from Lynchburg to Washington.
Jim Nichols

From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
To: nw-mailing-list at
Sent: Thursday, October 24, 2013 1:43 PM
Subject: Re: Rural Retreat Depot / Railway Station

Can anyone advise the year if not the precise date that Rural Retreat closed for passenger service use and/or all railway purposes?

By 1970 (and maybe before then) Marion became the governing agency for Rural Retreat.
Translated, that means the agent at Marionwas responsible for billing freight shipments
to and from Rural Retreat.  The public timetable for 4/28/68 shows that Nos. 41, 42, and 18
would make conditional stops at Rural Retreat.  By October, 1970, Southern Railway no
longer provided a connection with the N&W trains.  In other words, passenger service
terminated at Bristol.  In November, 1970, passenger service was down to one train each
way and no stop was made at Rural Retreat.  I don't believe the remaining service lasted
until May 1, 1971.  In early November of 1970, I had to ride Roanoke to Bristol for an
assignment there.  The train--one GP9, abaggage car and a coach arrived with ONE
revenue passenger who was transferring to bus to get to his final destination. 

I take it that this would have been no later than the takeover of passenger services by Amtrak at which point of course N&W  Railway bowed out completely from passenger services on their own account let alone providing house room for Amtrak.
On May 1, 1971 and for a timethereafter, N&W provided passenger service 5 days a week
fromOrland Park, IL to Chicago.  Known on the Decatur Division as "The Poor Boy",  the
crew would leave Decatur early on Monday mornings, layover at Orland Park on work
days, and bring the train back to Decatur for service on Friday nights.  Eventually, the
City of Chicago bore the expense of the commuter train.   Harry Bundy

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