"Burgess Connection" Question

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I have a question concerning the S-Line. At Collier Yard, the SAL split for Norlina and the ACL continued to Rocky Mount. I have heard about the "Burgess Connection". Where was it located? I believe it was built in '71-'72, just looking for information...where was it (near Collier I believe), why did the then-SCL build it, and is any portion of it still there? Any help would be appreciated.

-- Nick McKinley Jr. (Nicholas.McKinley@beale.af.mil), December 13, 1999


Doug Riddell's account reference the sequence of events concerning each of the SCL connections in the Petersburg area is right on target. Good work Doug......

Herman Wilkins

-- Herman Wilkins (Railrdn@aol.com), December 19, 1999.

Thank you all for your assistance and insightful answers to my question. It is much appreciated!

-- Nick McKinley Jr. (Nicholas.McKinley@beale.af.mil), December 15, 1999.

Interestingly enough, the first post merger connection from the former SAL to the former ACL in the Richmond area was made at South Dunlop, (ACL MP 20), behind the (abandoned) Nichols Department Store on US 1/ 301 in Colonial Heights, where the SAL used to pass under the ACL (a power line is now the only visible sign of what was once the SAL right of way). While this still allowed the continued use of SAL's Commerce Street Station in Petersburg until operations could be consolidated at the ACL depot in Ettrick, it thankfully ended the practice of having to back former SAL trains into Broad Street Station from the former SAL through the connection at Hermitage since the former ACL could now be accessed north of Petersburg by Norlina Subdivision freight and passenger trains. Unfortuantely, two head-on collisions (one involving the East Coast Champion) took place almost immediately, both times when the slack ran in on a former SAL freight train attempting to stop clear of the new connection switch, shoving it into the path of a former ACL train. The old SAL line from Bellwood to the interchange with the N&W at Ryan (the west end of what is now called Seacoast) stayed busy long after the merger due to the large amount of coal that was used by industries on the former SAL in the Bellwood and Hopewell areas, but once Collier Yard was extended south nearly a mile and enlarged from 5 short tracks to 14 long ones, it was necessary to get Norlina Subdivision trains into the south end of Collier for switching and interchange as Hermitage Yard in Richmond was closed and it's local industry and classification functions were transferred to Collier. Then, the Burgess Connection itself (MP S-31 to MP S-25) was constructed, there was need for only a short section of the foremer SAL from Central State Hopsital, across the Appomattox River to the campus of Virginia State University (accessed by a connection, still in very limited use, behind the Pepsi bottling plant at MP A-23.5) to serve industries. Only a couple fo years old, the original connection at South Dunlop was taken up, as was the SAL from Burgess to Bellwood. This was a very interesting piece of railroad, believe me. I miss it.

-- Doug Riddell (railroaddoug@erols.com), December 13, 1999.

The Burgess Connection was built to reroute the SAL away from downtown Petersburg, Va. and the campus of Va.State. It also allowed the SCL to route all of its passenger traffic through one station, the ACL Petersburg/Etrick station.The rerouting actually began at the South end of Bellwood Yard, with a short run to the ACL at Centrailia. From here, the trains would cross the Appomattox River on the ACL mainline, to South Collier Yard. Here, the "Burgess Connection" would branch off of the mainline and run in a sort of S shape, to the North end of the Burgess,Va. passing track, where it would rejoin the original SAL RofW.

-- Russell Underwood (Jay611@home.com), December 13, 1999.

The connection was built when SCL abandoned most of the ex-SAL trackage through the Petersburg and Richmond area. The new track allowed the ex-SAL to join the ex-ACL main south of Petersburg. I believe it tied in about at the mid-point of the yard, but am not positive. Even the new connection, along with the ex-SAL from that point south to Norlina, was also abandoned in 1987.

-- Larry Goolsby (LGoolsby@aphsa.org), December 13, 1999.

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