A-line Petersburg, Va

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The original A-line passed through downtown Petersburg, Va, I presume. When was the bypass to the west of downtown built, when did passenger trains move to it and the Ettrick station, and when was the original line severed in downtown?

-- Chuck Till (ctill@mindspring.com), July 18, 1999


I'm not sure of the year (probably 1976), but I as told that engineer Ted Trexler ran the last train down the middle of Washington Street during the Christmas season and the train tore down some of the holiday decorations strung across the street. The portion of the line down the street had not been used regularly in some time, and this was a detour move due to a derailment. The remainder of the line (the segment from Dunlop, MP A19.5 to Pocahontas Yard and the N&W Petersburg Passenger Station), and the segment from BX Tower (about to be razed) just north of Collier Yard to Washington Street through Mount Airy Yard, remained active until about ten years ago. I worked as a brakeman relaying the Dunlop/Pocahontas line to a westward connection withthe N&W in 1978. Amtrak paid for the work in order to operate the short lived Hilltopper. As an engineer, I worked yard jobs at Collier that went to Pocahontas to work local industry, even after the Hilltopper was discontinued on 10/1/79. Following a serious derailment at Dunlop in 1980, the southward lege of the wye was not rebuilt. The leg of the wye from the south to Pocahontas, as well as the old main line itself north of the Appomattox River was abandoned and dismantled in the late 1980s. The BX segment remained active until the late 1980s and was used to serve Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company and Seward Luggage.

-- Doug Riddell (railroaddoug@erols.com), July 22, 1999.

My new ACL passenger book has a some information on this. ACL built the bypass around Petersburg in 1895 and built the Ettrick station in 1942. Most through trains started using the bypass at this time but a group of Richmond-Petersburg locals called "The Short Run" continued going into downtown Petersburg through the 1950s. I don't know exactly when the downtown route was abandoned.

-- Larry Goolsby (LGoolsby@aphsa.org), July 18, 1999.

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