Virginia/Railroads

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This wiki intends to document all active railroads in Virginia as named districts and subdivisions along with links to their route=railway relations, as well as the status of their ongoing TIGER Review. These relations are largely extant in OSM, but their TIGER Review is not well wiki-documented. Introductions to OSM's basic rail tagging scheme are Railways and railway=*. Please see United_States/Railroads#Editing_Railroads_starting_from_TIGER_data, as TIGER rail data were imported across the USA in 2007-8. TIGER Review, cleanup and this kind of state-level wiki documenting such progress are ongoing, these nationwide efforts will likely continue at least until the 2030s (at our current pace of TIGER Review). The rail-specific renderer OpenRailwayMap (ORM) has yet-more-specific tagging conventions, found at OpenRailwayMap/Tagging. Railroad tagging conventions particular to North America are at OpenRailwayMap/Tagging in North America (under construction). Current efforts in this wiki are documenting TIGER Review in all Virginia route=railway relations. Future efforts will better distinguish "industrial" rail (from existing main and brach rail), document yards, disused, abandoned railways and "railtrails," as well as convey active passenger services in the state like Amtrak®, Virginia Rail Express and Tide Light Rail.

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transport publishes a relatively recent statewide rail map that OSM may use as a useful overview.

Loading map...


Data Sources

Manual cleanup of Virginia railroads from the TIGER import is underway, so we are beyond the point where an additional large geometry import would be helpful (rather than a hindrance). This Overpass Turbo query displays Virginia's unreviewed TIGER rail, now (mid-2020) over 2700 ways. There are already >100 route=railway relations in Virginia, this Overpass Turbo query displays them and allows one-button-easy Export to JOSM. These data are ~5000 ways, "about half" (>2700 ways) have tiger:reviewed=no and ~500 have no usage=*. Eventually, those relations (with their TIGER Review status) will harmonize in these wiki tables; we work on that now. The following information may serve as good references to help improve these data.

Virginia has published the railroads in the state as a Shapefile at GISData.Virginia.gov, generated from 2002 aerial images and other existing maps. The data are likely in the public domain, this needs to be verified.

Shapefile field OSM Tag Description Values
FIPS N/A FIPS county code 51001, 51003, etc
FCC service=yard (B3) or service=spur (B2) Census Feature Class Codes B1, B2, B3, B4, B47
EDITOR N/A Perhaps user who edited feature "AB", null
OPER_EDIT ?? abbreviation (usually Reporting mark) BB, BCR, C&A, CHW, CSXT, CWR, GVT/Military, NCVA, NPBL, NS, SV, VSRR, WMAT, WW,
OPER_VGIN N/A badly-formatted name "CSX RR Dahlgren Spur", "CSX Railroad", "Chesapeake Western Railway", "Clinchfield Railroad", "Conrail Railroad", "EDIT, "EDIT_EXTENSION", "Eastern Shore Railroad", "Interstate Railroad", "Metro Railroad", "Norfolk Portsmouth Belt Line R", "Norfolk Southern Railroad", "Post Railroad", "Princess Anne Railroad", "Railroad", "US Government Railroad", "WMAT", "Winchester and Western RR"
HEARTLAND usage=tourism? For tourism? Perhaps Heartland Corridor? "Y", "N", null
PASSENGER N/A For passenger use "Y", "N", null
MILITARY usage=military For military use "Y", "N", null

Other sources of railroad data:

  • Federal Railroad Administration GIS - a quick source of Operator, Subdivision, and Level Crossing data, compatible with OSM's ODbL.
  • This bts.gov link, goes to arcgis.com. From Blue circle-1, choose SUBDIV, RROWNR or TRKRGHTS. From Blue circle-2, optionally select options from Types and/or Options then click the rectangular blue OK button at the bottom. Wait a long time at wide zooms or zoom in for faster performance. You can even choose OSM as a basemap, handy to compare progress / improvements.
  • CTA Railroad Network - only claims accuracy to 100 meters
  • US Census 2010 TIGER
  • National Atlas (dead link)

Most likely the VBMP data (which? where?) are quite spatially accurate, they were created from 15- and 30-centimeter resolution aerial imagery.

Status of Individual Railroads or Routes

Status is sorted alphabetically first by current operator=*, then by name of route. Guidelines for proper usage=* are given where they've already been determined.

The Status column is an overall summary for the named route. The Status: line in the Notes cell is for brief notes on what has already been done on that line, and what is still known to be required.

Values used in the Status column are based on table cell templates, and have the following suggested meanings:

Status Meaning
no

No review has been performed at all.

maybe

Initial TIGER Review of the main route for name=*, operator=*, reporting marks=* and creation of the route=railway relation only have been done. No corrections to alignment or other details. Tag tiger:reviewed=no has been removed.

partial

Some finish work has begun, including verification of alignment of main route, existence and alignment of spurs and yard tracks, and naming of all critical operating sites such as yards and junctions.

yes

All basic work to complete tagging on elements of the route, including verification of name=* and operator=* values on main tracks is complete for the full route as a route=railway relation, including its name=*. Existence and alignment of all spurs, yard tracks and junctions with correct and current name=*s and tags are completed and verified. Only additional detail work remains, such as noting and naming all Control Points, spur_junctions and other minor infrastructure and facilities.

Buckingham Branch Railroad

operator=Buckingham Branch Railroad

reporting_marks=BB

Also add Goshen Industrial Track, North Anna Industrial Track.

A 2007 Employee Timetable is available online for reference on the two ex-C&O divisions.

In addition, the BB folks are a bit more forthcoming with useful information than most on their website.

Status old_railway_operator=* Relation Route Notes
no

C&O

relation 11264649

Buckingham Division

Bremo Bluff, VA to Dillwyn, VA

  • usage=branch throughout main route.
  • Operations based out of Dillwyn. After crossing James River between New Canton and Bremo Bluff, BB uses trackage rights over CSXT to interchange with them at the remains of Strathmore Yard, just west of Bremo.

Status: ?

no

C&O

North Mountain relation 2259843,
Washington relation 2259854,
Piedmont relation 2259847

Richmond & Alleghany Division

Northeast Richmond, VA to Clifton Forge, VA

  • usage=branch throughout main route.
  • Three subdivisions: North Mountain, Washington, and Piedmont Subdivisions. To-do - break these up into three table rows.
  • Original C&O mainline for 50 years, before the Rivanna and JR subs came to be.

Status: ?

maybe

PRR

relation 11218180

Norfolk Division

Northwest Virginia Beach, VA to Norfolk, VA

  • usage=branch throughout main route (barely).
  • South end of old PRR line to Norfolk via the Eastern Shore and car float operation. Present BB begins at car float at Little Creek, and includes trackage rights over the ex-VGN and N&W to interchange with NS at Portlock Yard.

Status: Added name, operator, and basic route relation only. Saw @Natfoot was also working on more cleanup as well. Chuck (talk) 15:53, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

no

SOU

relation 9841674

Virginia Southern Division

Burkeville, VA to Clarksville, VA

  • usage=branch throughout main route.
  • Was recently the Virginia Southern for about 30 years.
  • Interchanges with NS at Burkeville. Route is a mix of old original railroad routes, part of which is the earliest part of the Atlantic & Danville from Civl War times, which later became the earliest progenitor of Southern.

Status: ?

Chesapeake & Albemarle

name=Main for mainline route, relation 9851099 southbound mainline of the original, historic Norfolk Southern, from Chesapeake to Edenton (abandoned at Chowan bridge and beyond).

operator=Chesapeake & Albemarle Railroad Company

reporting_marks=CA

Status: "Maybe." Main route name and relation only complete so far. Chuck (talk) 16:54, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

Commonwealth Railway

name=Coastal for mainline route relation 11264647, the east end of the old AD/NF&D, from Suffolk to West Norfolk. Sole route of access to APM Terminal, both CSX and NS have trackage rights from Suffolk.

operator=Commonwealth Railway

reporting_marks=CWRY

Status: "No." Zero work started, usage=* isn't even set to get it appearing correctly in ORM. Chuck (talk) 16:26, 29 June 2020 (UTC)

CSX Transportation

operator=CSX Transportation

reporting_marks=CSXT

Here is an Overpass Turbo query which returns all Virginia railway tagged operator=CSX. This may or may not accurately capture "what you might want" OSM's data to be, but rather what those data are at the time the query is run. Such queries are easy to edit and re-run with new parameters.

Status old_railway_operator=* Relation Route Notes
no

ACL

relation 2203672, relation 7426293

North End Subdivision Rocky Mount, NC to NW Richmond, VA

  • usage=main throughout main route, which includes "Belt Line" around Richmond to west.
  • Remnant of "Old Main Line" into Manchester is now "Clopton Lead", which is usage=branch.
  • Part of Florence Division. Moderately recent employee timetable here for reference.

Status: ?

no

C&O

relation 2259845

Peninsula Subdivision Newport News, VA to east Richmond, VA

  • usage=main throughout main route.
  • Part of Florence Division. However, there isn't an accessible copy of a the Florence ETT online since this subdivision was moved, so use Huntington East Division timetable for reference.

Status: ?

no

C&O

relation 2259849

Rivanna Subdivision East Richmond, VA to east Gladstone, VA

  • usage=main throughout main route.
  • Part of Florence Division. However, there isn't an accessible copy of a the Florence ETT online since this subdivision was moved, so use Huntington East Division timetable for reference.

Status: ?

no

C&O

relation 2259830

James River Subdivision Gladstone, VA to Clifton Forge, VA

  • usage=main throughout main route.
  • Part of Florence Division. However, there isn't an accessible copy of a the Florence ETT online since this subdivision was moved, so use Huntington East Division timetable for reference.

Status: ?

no

C&O

relation 2246707

Alleghany Subdivision Clifton Forge, VA to Hinton, WV

  • usage=main throughout main route.
  • Note the spelling. This is the official, proper spelling of the CSXT divison name.
  • Part of Florence Division. However, there isn't an accessible copy of a the Florence ETT online since this subdivision was moved, so use Huntington East Division timetable for reference.

Status: ?

no

RF&P

relation 2259098

Richmond Terminal Subdivision NW Richmond, VA to Washington, DC

  • usage=main throughout main route.
  • Part of Baltimore Division. Moderately recent employee timetable here for reference.

Status: ?

maybe

SAL

relation 2255447

Portsmouth Subdivision Weldon, NC to Portsmouth, VA

  • usage=main from the NPBL Diamond in Portsmouth, all the way to and including the wye in Weldon at North End Subdivision.
  • Part of Florence Division. Moderately recent employee timetable here for reference.
  • Uses trackage rights across NPBL in Portsmouth to get up to Portsmouth Marine Terminal.
  • Uses trackage rights on Commonwealth Railway (CWRY) to access Maersk terminal.
  • Timetable lists trackage rights on NPBL to Berkley Yard, but not indicated on the FRA GIS system.
  • Original SAL continued west to SAL mainline, both of which are now abandoned but have many remnants visible.

Status: Limited work begun, Portsmouth at NPBL Diamond and Old Portsmouth Yard complete. Endpoint of actual route verified ask asked by previous route relation editor. Line segment numbers dug out of FRA crossing reports and added. Otherwise, only relation, name, operator, etc done.

no

SAL

relation 2259095

Bellwood Subdivision Centralia, VA to downtown Richmond, VA

  • usage=main throughout main route.
  • Part of Florence Division. Moderately recent employee timetable here for reference.
  • Was a SAL mainline SW of Centralia, but the portion beyond Centralia is abandoned to Norlina, NC now. Many remaining traces on the abandoned portion.

Status: ?

no

SAL

relation 2259097

Hopewell Subdivision Bellwood, VA to Hopewell, VA

  • usage=branch throughout main route, including wye. Splits off Bellwood Sub near Bellwood.
  • Part of Florence Division. Moderately recent employee timetable here for reference.

Status: ?

no

SAL

relation 2259098

Richmond Terminal Subdivision Downtown Richmond, VA to NW Richmond, VA

  • usage=main throughout main route.
  • Part of Florence Division. Moderately recent employee timetable here for reference.

Status: ?

Also add:

Airbase Industrial Track (CSX), Amoco Industrial Track (CSX), CV Subdivision (CSX), Clopton Lead (CSX), Covington Industrial Track (CSX), Dahlgren Branch (CSX), Fremont Branch (CSX), Glasgow Industrial Track (CSX), Haysi Branch (CSX), James River Industrial Track (CSX), Kingsport Subdivision (CSX), Main Line (Philadelphia to Washington) (AMTK), Nora Branch (CSX), Pennington Gap Branch (CSX), Potts Creek Industrial Track (CSX), RF&P Subdivision (CSX), Shenandoah Subdivision (CSX). Use the route=railway "relations" OT query (above) to get a superset of data containing these relation #s.

Delmarva Central Railway

name=Bay Coast Railroad for mainline route (not sure if this is correct; may be an old name that needs revising)

operator=Delmarva Central Railway

reporting_marks=DCR

Status old_railway_operator=* Relation Route Notes
maybe PRR, NYP&N, BCR, ESHR The single way is entered

Bay Coast Railroad

Hallwood, VA to Maryland boundary

Status: Maybe. A way that was tagged railway=abandoned + operator=Bay Coast Railroad represented the entirety of the line from Pokomoke City (Maryland) through Accomack County and south to Cape Charles. The state rail map linked above (2019) says that this is active DCR line from Hallwood north to Maryland (now represented as the way noted in this table) and "out of service" south of Hallwood to Cape Charles. Visual imagery (Esri World Imagery) suggests this line has tracks along the entire peninsula (from Maryland south to Cape Charles). Accordingly, this line was split at Hallwood (Main Street), set to railway=disused south of there and railway=rail + operator=Delmarva Central Railway north of there to Pokomoke City (Maryland). Tags (name, operator, rail...) and the edge of active / disused may still need to be "tuned up" on both of these ways. Very little else has been done.

DCR also operates Delmarva Secondary line relation 2258990 from Pokomoke City (Maryland) north to Salisbury (Maryland) and Newcastle (Delaware), out-of-scope for this Virginia wiki.

Fort Eustis Military Railroad

operator=Fort Eustis Military Railroad

reporting_marks=USAX

usage=military for the line from the gate to the wye, the training branch, and the utility rail branch all the way down to Harrison Rd. Some basic info on usage=* can be found at OpenRailwayMap/Tagging in North America/Route Importance Examples#Fort Eustis Military Railroad (dead-end, Military Owned and Operated), this line is one of the tag examples there.

Further info to start on the line at Fort Eustis Military Railroad.

Status: Appears to be due for a complete go-through. I corrected two bridge names on Harrison Rd, just because I'm personally familiar with the project, but have not started work on the rest of the base yet. Can contact me with any specific questions, am fairly familiar with this installation. Chuck (talk) 16:52, 11 June 2020 (UTC)

Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line

operator=Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line

reporting_marks=NPBL

  • Has always been a joint-owned terminal railroad since its creation. Currently owned 57% by NS and 43% by CSXT.
  • Info availability isn't great for NPBL, they're small and not terribly communicative.
  • The 1947 system map available here is still surprisingly relevant and informative.
Status old_railway_operator=* Relation Route Notes
yes N&W, C&O/CO, SOU, NYP&N, AD, ACL, NS, SAL, ERR (or none!) relation 11213094

ERR Main Line

Pinner's Point, VA to NS Junction

Status: Fully complete. South/Elizabeth River branch (ERR Main Line on NPBL recent crossing documentation) is done. Cleanup and verification done on ALL yards and spurs where NPBL is the primary operator. Chuck (talk) 15:08, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

yes N&W, C&O/CO, SOU, NYP&N, AD, ACL, NS, SAL, ERR (or none!) relation 11210433

Sewells Point

?, VA to ?, VA

Status: Fully complete. Added the trackage rights along NS, including all the way up the former VGN to NPBL's isolated Sewells Point trackage into NIT. Cleanup and verification done on ALL yards and spurs where NPBL is the primary operator.

Norfolk Southern Railway

operator=Norfolk Southern Railway

reporting_marks=NS

NS names by "Districts" not "Subdivisions".

Status old_railway_operator=* Relation Route Notes
partial

N&W, NS, VGN

relation 11163486

Norfolk Terminal Norfolk, VA to Chesapeake, VA

  • usage=main throughout main route, which runs from the yard limits of Lambers Point Yard, to the Canal Drive CP just west of the South Branch and Gilmerton Bridge.
  • No "District" at the end of the name.
  • Virginia Division, see ETT here.
  • District contains three branch lines, as follows:
    • South Branch (usage=branch, ex-VGN), which branches off at South Norfolk Jct, crosses NPBL at Belt Jct, crosses the Elizabeth on the old VGN lift bridge, and continues west to roughly Cavalier Blvd in Chesapeake.
    • Sewells Point Branch (usage=branch, ex-VGN), which branches off the other side of South Norfolk Jct, crosses the east branch of the Elizabeth, and runs up to the north end of NIT where the VGN coal yards used to be.
    • Berkley/Albemarle District (usage=branch, ex-NS, the OLD NS), which is actually administratively a branch of Norfolk Terminal, despite the confusing naming. This is a tiny, 1.8 mile remnant of what was shown in the 2008 timetable now. All the old NS trackage up to Berkley is now gone, except for what has gone over to NPBL. The diamond at NS Jct is gone. Part of the track from NS Jct to Carolina Jct remains as a spur off of the Sewells Point Branch. What's actually left of this district begins at Carolina Jct, includes Carolina Yard, and ends at the south yard limit, almost right where Campostella Rd crosses. Beyond that south, it's Chesapeake & Albemarle RR, who do have trackage rights all the way around South Norfolk Jct into Portlock Yard.

Status: All main line names and routes (including branches) are done. Mainline alignments largely verified, mainline control points added, branch line control points on all but the scraps of B/A branch added. Lots of spur and yard cleanup left on all portions, for instance the tracks for Carolina Yard are almost completely missing.

maybe

N&W

relation 1440606

Norfolk District Chesapeake, VA to Crewe, VA

  • usage=main throughout main route, which runs from the Canal Drive CP just west of the South Branch and Gilmerton Bridge, to Crewe.
  • Virginia Division, see ETT here.

Status: Started, but it's still very much a mess, both geometry and the relation. There's a lot of work to do on this one compared to within Norfolk. Chuck (talk) 16:18, 29 June 2020 (UTC)

maybe

AD

relation 2258992

Franklin District Suffolk, VA to Edgerton, VA

  • usage=branch throughout main route.
  • Virginia Division, see ETT here.
  • Disused but not yet formally abandoned west of Franklin.

Status: Naming and route fixed, Tiger tag removed. Still needs updating to change the western part of the line to disused, and a lot of other work.

no

N&W

Blue Ridge District Crewe, VA to Vinton

Status: ?

no

SOU

Richmond District Burkeville, VA to West Point, VA

  • usage=branch throughout main route.
  • Virginia Division, see ETT here.
  • Disused but not yet formally abandoned west of Franklin.

Status: ?

no

VGN

Altavista District Abilene, VA to Roanoke, VA

  • usage=main throughout main route.
  • Virginia Division, see ETT here.
  • Former Virginian mainline. Carries most eastbound coal trains (better grades than Blue Ridge District).

Status: ?

no

N&W

Durham District Lynchburg, VA to Roxboro, NC

  • usage=branch throughout main route.
  • Virginia Division, see ETT here.
  • Dead end line. Started as Lynchburg & Durham until 1896, branch still known locally under that name. Formerly a through route, but not for a long time. Has three branches south of the state line to power stations:

Status: ?

no

N&W

Roanoke Terminal Vinton, VA to west Roanoke, VA

  • usage=main throughout main route.
  • Virginia Division, see ETT here.
  • N&W mainline to Roanoke.
  • Includes a second line from "North Roanoke to Starkey".
  • Includes "Demuth to Salem Connection".

Status: ?

Districts west of Christiansburg, up the Shenandoah Valley, and the whole ex-SOU Main still need to be entered into tables, as well. Please include (and separate into "District Tables"): Altavista District (NS), Appalachia District (NS), B-Line (NS), Berkley/Albemarle District (NS), Big Creek Branch (NS), Big Prater Creek Spur (NS), Big Toms Creek Branch (NS), Blacksburg Branch (NS), Blue Ridge District (NS), Bradshaw Spur (NS), Buchanan Branch (NS), CW-Line (NS), Calvin Spur (NS), Catawba Branch (NS), Chesapeake Western (NS), Christiansburg District (NS), City Point Branch (NS), Clinch Valley District (NS), Clinch Valley Extension (NS), Clover Spur (NS), Cloverdale Branch (NS), Coal Creek Branch (NS), DW-Line (NS), Danville District (NS), Dismal Creek Branch (NS), Dixiana Branch (NS), Dry Fork Branch (NS), Dumps Creek Branch (NS), Durham District (NS), Garden Creek Branch (NS), Glamorgan Branch (NS), Hagerstown District (NS), Halsey Spur (NS), Heartland Corridor (NS), Hill Top Branch (NS), Holton Spur (NS), Jacobs Fork Branch (NS), Knoxville District Middlesboro Line (NS), L-Line (NS), Lamberts Point Branch (NS), Levisa Branch (NS), Pardee Branch (NS), Petersburg Old Line (NS), Pine Branch (NS), Pocahontas District (NS), Potts Valley Branch (NS), Pulaski District (NS), Radford Branch (NS), Richmond District (NS), Roanoke District (NS), Roda Branch (NS), Sewells Point Branch (NS), South Branch (NS), St. Charles Branch (NS), Upper Elk Creek Spur (NS), Washington District (NS), Whitethorne District (NS), Winston-Salem District (NS). Use the route=railway "relations" OT query (above) to get a superset of data containing these relation #s. Accordingly, this (NS) will be by far the most complex section of this wiki, containing many tables. The benefit is aiding the wiki reader by logically organizing Virginia NS rail.

North Carolina and Virginia

operator=North Carolina and Virginia, reporting_marks=NCVA

Little is known.

Status: None. Line around Norfolk and southerly into North Carolina.

Shenandoah Valley

operator=North Carolina and Virginia, reporting_marks=SV

Little is known.

Status: None.

Virginia Port Authority

operator=Virginia Port Authority, reporting_marks=VAPX

Status old_railway_operator=* Relation Route Notes
maybe VGN relation 11211841

NIT Lead

Sewell's Point Branch (NPBL, NS) to Norfolk Intermodal Terminals

Status: Maybe.

Winchester & Western

operator=Winchester & Western, reporting_marks=WW

Little is known, though relation 11264694.

Status: None.

Editors and Community

If you are working on railroads in Virginia, and are willing be listed and to help other local editors, please add your information below with your areas of interest and signature for contact. If we're able to build a state rail community this way, it might make it easier for us to work through the large amount of work left to do in VA.

  • Chuck (talk) 19:26, 15 June 2020 (UTC) most familiar with railroads in central and eastern VA (lot of local familiarity in that region). Currently starting in Hampton Roads and working my way out and west to attempt to get as much main line TIGER review done as possible. Also working on the wiki here, on improving OpenRailwayMap/Tagging in North America, and have started developing a tagging preset for JOSM specifically for North America that is consistent with our rail tagging wiki, in an attempt to make us faster and more consistent.
  • Steve (talk) 20:09, 29 June 2020 (UTC) Contributor to United_States/Railroads, state-level wikis (especially California/Railroads), TIGER rail improvement sprinkled about the fifty states, also improving OpenRailwayMap/Tagging in North America. I'm only very superficially / lightly editing Virginia rail in OSM, rather I'm making some contributions to this wiki like adding Relation columns to tables and sprinkling in some Overpass Turbo queries where they might be helpful.