Proposed Roanoke-Blacksburg Passenger Rail Service

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Fri Jul 22 14:24:08 EDT 2022

On Fri, Jul 22, 2022 at 1:50 PM Frank wrote:

> Maybe we will live long enough to see its completion...

Interesting report on the tour of the rail lines. Apparently no one in the
group knows that the Huckleberry crossing of the Virginian is not on the
original route of the Virginia Anthracite Coal & Railway line to
Blacksburg. The cuts and trestle were put in at the request of (and at a
cost to) the Virginian when it was being constructed. The original line
dropped down a drainage toward Slate Branch, made a large loop, then
climbed up another drainage to reach the Merrimac Mines and on to
Blacksburg. The line was relocated to provide enough clearance for the VGN
to cross under. The line on the north, removed from service, was later
restored to provide a connection between the VGN and the Blacksburg Branch.
The original grade, including the fill to reach the bridge across Slate
Branch, still exists. In the scheme of things, if the line between Roanoke
and the New River Valley is dedicated as, for lack of a better term, an
interurban connection, the original VAC&Ry grade could be used to get from
the VGN to the Blacksburg Branch. The line that is now the Huckleberry
Trail could be used to move to Blacksburg with a terminus at the Corporate
Research Center. This would be more feasible (and less expensive) than the
new line from Ellett into Blacksburg.

I have in process an article for The Arrow that covers the history of the
dispute between the VGN and the VAC&Ry over the crossing. I hope to have it
completed in the next few months.

Bruce in Blacksburg
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