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Virginia Railfanning

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Virginia Railfanning
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 5, 2006 11:42 AM
What are some hot spots in Virgina to railfan. I would perfer central of western.
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 5, 2006 11:46 AM
Along the New River is very nice.
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 5, 2006 11:52 AM
Where is that?
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, July 5, 2006 2:52 PM
Look on a map in western VA, between Christiansburg, VA and Bluefield, WV.

However, I was thinking more in terms of photography. I'm sure there are "hotter" spots, like Roanoke, for pure train watching.
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Posted by penncentral2002 on Wednesday, January 3, 2007 6:29 PM

Roanoke does have quite a bit of action and you can see the NS Shops as well.  For an interesting perspective, drive up Mill Mountain - you can see the trains go through Roanoke and even take pictures if you want to take a picture showing more of the surrounding area and use some zoom.

Bluefield also has some good spots - including a bridge over the yard which has a pedestrian walkway.  Also they have the locomotive shops - but that is West Virginia.

Also, don't forget a drive up U.S. 340 which largely runs along the former N&W Valley Line.  O. Winston Link took some of his most famous pictures along this line and if you can find a place to pull off safely (a definite problem), there would be some fanastic photo locations.

Zack http://penncentral2002.rrpicturearchives.net/
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Posted by Railfan1 on Saturday, January 20, 2007 9:32 AM
 penncentral2002 wrote:

 you can see the NS Shops

How well can you see the shops? Good enough for pictures?

"It's a great day to be alive" "Of all the words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, It might have been......"
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Posted by penncentral2002 on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 5:23 PM
 Railfan1 wrote:
 penncentral2002 wrote:

 you can see the NS Shops

How well can you see the shops? Good enough for pictures?

The main NS shops yes - getting individual locomotives can be difficult (and need to watch for fences/obstructions), but you definitely can take pictures - the shops are literally right in the middle of the city - just take I-581/US 220 into town and you can't miss them - get off at the downtown exit.  Plus, if you cross from the VMT and turn left, you can pass some more NS shops/yards and they are also close enough for photos if you have some zoom and can find a place to park along the road (need to shoot around trees).

You can actually walk up on public sidewalks right next to the shops!

Zack http://penncentral2002.rrpicturearchives.net/
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Posted by penncentral2002 on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 5:50 PM

If you really want to see locomotives, the NS Bluefield locomotive shops are better - again, its right in the town (and I realize that Bluefield is WVA, not Virginia, but its literally right on the border - easy access on I-77 then follow signs to Bluefield Historic District).

I also noted the original question was for central Virginia too - In Virginia, that could mean the Richmond area which is full of rail hotspots.  Take your pick - Richmond has ACCA Yard and the beautiful Main Street Station, plus several lines.  Petersburg has major NS rail action.  Crewe has a NS Yard and a RR museum.  Ashland features what is almost street running.  Doswell has the Buckingham Branch yard and the CSX double track mainline.

Other places with bigtime rail action in western/central - Bristol has a NS yard.  Danville and Lynchburg have the former Southern DC-Atlanta mainline.  Lynchburg should have some good spots, but not really sure since the former N&W mainline and Southern mainline cross there

Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't list Point of Rocks and Brunswick, MD as possibilities - yes, they aren't Virginia, but they are literally right across the Potomac - and the Brunswick yard rivals.

But, really, even if you just stick with Roanoke, your trip will be worthwhile (especially if you add in Bluefield - they aren't too far apart!)

Zack http://penncentral2002.rrpicturearchives.net/
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Posted by Railfan1 on Thursday, February 1, 2007 7:41 AM

Thanks.

"It's a great day to be alive" "Of all the words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, It might have been......"
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Posted by JamesRiver on Thursday, March 1, 2007 7:50 PM

There are quite a few around Lynchburg, particularly if you are looking for scenery and don't mind medium train densities (10-20 daily).

RIVERSIDE PARK- Hike to the northwest corner of the park, and you will be greated with a beautiful view of Southern Railway's old trestle above the James River.  If you play around with mapquest, you can find your way to a grade crossing on the other side of this trestle, which offers great angles as well.  CSX's James River line is below, but you don't really get good angles from Riverside Park.

There are a ton of great spots along CSX's James River line.  Check out Balcony Falls (near Glasgow, where the line crosses the Maury River), Galt's Mill (east of Lynchburg, a scenic bend) or Major (underneath the where the Blue Ridge Parkway crosses the James).  Drive 501 from Glasgow to Lynchburg, and you'll see plenty of great spots. 

Another interesting spot is where Norfolk and Western's abandoned 6 mile bridge across the James crosses CSX's line (just east of the 29 bypass's bridge over the James, off of 460).  This offeres great angles of CSX, and is a fascinating look at a very scenic old bridge.  If you want to take a closer look at that abandoned line, go into downtown Lynchburg, where that line becomes a bike trail.  It features tunnels, and bridges to an island in the James that used to be a yard.

http://www.railpictures.net is a great resource.  I recommend searching for pictures, in VA, with the key words "James River."  You will not be disapointed!!!

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Posted by Railfan1 on Friday, April 13, 2007 4:16 PM
Thanks for the great info.
"It's a great day to be alive" "Of all the words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, It might have been......"
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Posted by wayno on Friday, January 11, 2008 3:53 PM
How about in the Hampton roads area?
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Posted by amsr on Sunday, March 2, 2008 12:47 AM
This site:

http://www.frograil.com/

Has a lot of online "railfan tours" for the area. They have a list of self guided tours with spots for VA.

I used to live in DC, so I have done some railfaning in VA near DC. I agree 100% with the web sites recommended locations for that area. Just south of DC you can catch a glimpse of CSX, NS, Amtrak, and VRE trains. I used to go to crystal city and you can see a bunch of trains just hanging out at the VRE station. If you are lucky, you might catch the Tropicana Juice train.

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