Decades ago, the Washington and Old Dominion Trail was a vital route for a far different group of travelers. Then known as the Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad, this route was once considered vital following its inception in 1847, with a primary goal of spreading commerce from the Alexandria seaport inland to the growing communities to the west. And while its life as a commercial route never quite evolved the way the railroad’s developers envisioned, the route saw more than its fair share of history.
The route was the site of a few skirmishes during the Civil War, and was truly witness to the development of Northern Virginia based largely on its route. The tracks wound through what is today Arlington, Falls Church, Vienna, Reston, Herndon, Sterling, Leesburg and Purcellville – all significant modern sites, many of which are key for economic development.
When the railroad finally encountered its demise in 1968, it underwent a series of changes – first at the hands of VEPCO – which had formerly been the local Virginia Power Company – and then later in 1974 by NOVA Parks. The ribbon on the first section of the W&OD Trail was cut on Sept. 7, 1974 by then Falls Church mayor Harold Miller – the first of what would be many events as the park expanded in both directions. On November 5, 1988, NOVA Parks celebrated the opening of the Trail’s final nine miles into Purcellville. Today, the Trail is an artery for visitors and commuters year-round.
W&OD Railroad Maps
These map images are considered to be in the public domain and may be downloaded and made available on other websites.
Diagram and Profile: 1/26/1965
This map shows the track from Alexandria/Potomac Yards to Purcellville and depicts some interesting features of the railroad including:
- Industrial customers of the railroad
- Carloads in and out of each station in 1964
- Road crossings and the type of electric warning, if present, either a lighted signal or flasher
- Location of each mile marker
- The approximate location and percentage of each grade on the railroad
- A chart of the car capacity and length of each side track.
Courtesy David Marcham
Rosslyn Spur Plats
These plats are property boundaries for the spur line that ran from the Great Falls & Old Dominion Railroad to the Bluemont Branch at Bluemont Junction and were drawn during August of 1911. They do not feature any structures and might have served as a record of the property acquisition.
**Please note: Map 13 and 22 are intentionaly missing**
Courtesy Herndon Historical Society
W&OD Railway Track Plats
These plats show the rail line’s property boundaries as well as existing buildings, side rails and other features. They were probably created around 1911 - the time that the line was being transferred from the Southern Railway to the newly named Washington & Old Dominion Railway. Some of the features are different on these than on the 1916 Valuation Maps (at Wiehle a 6 foot by 14 foot waiting shed is shown rather than the station that was there in 1916) and help to pinpoint a window of time during which they were probably created.
Courtesy Herndon Historical Society
W&OD Railway 1916 ICC Valuation Maps
These maps start in Alexandria and go to Purcellville. Maps from Purcellville to Bluemont had been probably removed from this set when that section was abandoned and sold. Stations listed are those on the line when the ICC valuation was performed. Other stations may have existed before or after.
Map 1 – Mile 0 to 2 Alexandria
Map 2 – Mile 2 to 4 Cowdon
Map 3 – Mile 4 to 6 Barcroft
Map 4 – Mile 6 to 8 Glen Carlyn, Bluemont Junction
Bluemont Junction Wye
Map 5 – Mile 8 to 10 Fostoria, Falls Church (East), Rothsay
Map 6 – Mile 10 to 12 West Falls Church
Map 7 – Mile 12 to 14 Dunn Loring, Wedderburn
Map 8 – Mile 14 to 16 Vienna
Map 9 – Mile 16 to 18 Clarks Crossing
Map 10 – Mile 18 to 20 Hunter
Map 11 – Mile 20 to 22 Wiehle
Map 12 – Mile 22 to 24 Coral, Herndon
Map 13 – Mile 24 to 26 Herndon Heights
Map 14 – Mile 26 to 28 Sterling
Map 15 – Mile 28 to 30 Smiths
Map 16 – Mile 30 to 32 Ashburn
Map 17 – Mile 32 to 34 Belmont Park
Map 18 – Mile 34 to 36
Map 19 – Mile 36 to 38 Lawson, Leesburg
Map 20 – Mile 38 to 40
Map 21 – Mile 40 to 42 Clarks Gap, Paeonian Springs
Map 22 – Mile 42 to 44 Hamilton
Map 23 – Mile 44 to 46 Ivandale
Map 24 – Mile 46 to 48 Purcellville
GF&OD Railroad 1916 ICC Valuation Maps
These maps start in Rosslyn and go to Great Falls. Stations listed are those on the line when the ICC valuation was performed. Other stations may have existed before or after.
Map 1 – 0+00 to 15+46.9 Aqueduct Bridge
Map 2 – 0+00 to 94+02.4 Rosslyn
Map 3 – 94+02.4 to 204+33 Dominion Heights, Cherrydale, Harrison, Greenwood, Maplewood, Livingston, Lyonhurst, Rixey
Map 4 – 194+4.5 to 303+65 Jewell, Vandewerken, Franklyn Park, Chesterbrook
Map 5 – 303+65 to 408+71.4 El Nido, Selva, Viresco, Lawnvale, McLean, Ingleside
Map 6 – 408+71.4 to 512+36.5 Ball’s Hill, Hitaffer, Jackson
Map 7 – 512+36.5 to 614+00 Spring Hill, Prospect Hill, Bellview
Map 8 – 614+00 to 728+48 Glendale, Peacock, Fairview, Elkins, Great Falls