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Nostalgia & History > Depot Friday: W&OD in Rosslyn, VA

Date: 05/26/23 01:19
Depot Friday: W&OD in Rosslyn, VA
Author: santafe199

I ran this Art Gibson image through Photoshop quite some time ago. But according to my file I never got around to posting it, mainly because I didn’t know anything about it. I still don’t know anything, but that won’t stop me from posting it. Nosireebub! The ol’ caveat emptor applies here. Any further information on this depot will be on a need-to-know basis. Unless you wanna step up and supply it yourself... ;^)

1. W&OD depot in Rosslyn, VA on May 30, 1956. Lots of bricks piled around...
Original Kodachrome slide by the late Art Gibson. Formerly “wag216”. Now in the James T. Wilson collection.

Thanks for looking!
Lance Garrels

Date: 05/26/23 04:12
Re: Depot Friday: W&OD in Rosslyn, VA
Author: GPutz

Thank, Lance, for posting this very interesting picture.  There's a Metro station somewhere under there now.  Gerry

Date: 05/26/23 05:59
Re: Depot Friday: W&OD in Rosslyn, VA
Author: santafe199

Thanks, Gerry! I gotta believe all those bricks were put to good use on a worthy project, somewhere…

Posted from iPhone
(at Cassoday on the BNSF Emporia Sub)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/26/23 06:01 by santafe199.

Date: 05/26/23 06:24
Re: Depot Friday: W&OD in Rosslyn, VA
Author: SeaboardMan

Box car is Seaboard Air Line.  Between Raleigh and Hamlet along the main line is the town of Sanford, NC which was the home of a few brick factories, one being Cherokee Brick.  So I'd guess that's where the bricks came from and how they got there.

Date: 05/26/23 08:48
Re: Depot Friday: W&OD in Rosslyn, VA
Author: pwh

Whats with the stacks of brick? Did they load them into a box car one by one?

Date: 05/26/23 15:33
Re: Depot Friday: W&OD in Rosslyn, VA
Author: njmidland

The car barn in Georgetown is in the background. This is back when Roslyn had lumber yards, brick factories, and houses of ill repute…

Date: 05/26/23 17:33
Re: Depot Friday: W&OD in Rosslyn, VA
Author: bigsavage

njmidland Wrote:
> The car barn in Georgetown is in the background.
> This is back when Roslyn had lumber yards, brick
> factories, and houses of ill repute…
Wrong, that is the Consumers Brewery Co., the car shop was across Lee Highway from the brewery.
See pg.113 in this book (pic attached)
Building shown in pic is the Rosslyn freight station.
Trackage into this area was abandoned in 1963, and the whole rail terminal was obliterated in 1969 for the new I-66 project.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/26/23 17:37 by bigsavage.

Date: 05/26/23 20:40
Re: Depot Friday: W&OD in Rosslyn, VA
Author: cr7998

Lance - thanks for sharing this fine photo from the lens of Art Gibson.  I've only seen this building in grainy black and white photos, great to see it in decent and sharp color.  This view is looking east toward the stub end of W&OD's branch to Rosslyn.  As already noted in post by bigsavage, the W&OD shops were a block to the east, and beyond that was W&OD's Rosslyn passenger station and general office building.  The Pennsylvania Railroad also had a branch to Rosslyn that terminated at a freight station and team tracks a block east of the W&OD's station, but there was no connection between the two railroads.  The old Lee Highway (U.S. Route 29) is to the left of the freight station, and was between the railroad and the brewery buildings in the background.  Interestingly, the brewery had some architectural details similar to the Capital Traction carbarn across the river in Georgetown.  

The W&OD had an interesting history, starting out as a "steam" railroad but became an electric interurban railroad in the early years of the 20th Century.  Electric operations ceased in the late 1940's, and the W&OD dieselized with GE 70-ton and Whitcomb 75-ton switchers.  Passenger service (gas electrics) ended in 1951.  W&OD interurban cars once crossed the Potomac River to the Georgetown area of Washington DC, using the old Aqueduct Bridge, until the Key Bridge was built in 1923, and the Aqueduct Bridge was subsequently removed.  From 1923 on, W&OD operations terminated at Rosslyn, but Capital Traction streetcars crossed the Key Bridge and made connections at Rosslyn with the W&OD.  As noted by bigsavage, Herb Harwood's excellent book provides a detailed history and many interesting photos of the W&OD.  

At the time of this photo, Rosslyn was still an area of light industry and commercial activity centering around the team tracks of the PRR and W&OD.  That would change in the 1960's.  The W&OD would cease running to Rosslyn in 1963, and PRR not long afterward.  Today, Rosslyn is full of high rise office buildings, and Interstate 66 runs on a portion of the W&OD right of way, including the area of this photo.  The remainder of the W&OD would be abandoned in 1968, with much of the right-of-way now occupied by I-66, or converted to a trail.  Rosslyn still has passenger rail service, as there is a WMATA Metro station about two blocks to the south of where the old W&OD station once stood.  The station is about 200 feet underground, due to its proximity to the tunnel under the Potomac River, and I've heard it is the deepest station on the WMATA system.  During 1978-79, I commuted to Rosslyn on WMATA for employment, and I remember that long escelator ride to the surface.  

An interesting historical footnote with a Midwestern connection.  The Iowa Traction Company at Mason City, Iowa, operates a Baldwin-Westinghouse electric locomotive, #50, that was built in 1920 for the Wasington & Old Dominion.  It was sold to the CRANDIC in 1947 after the W&OD dieselized, and eventually ended up on the Iowa Terminal (now Iowa Traction) in 1962.  

Lance, thanks again.  Did Art have any other W&OD shots?  

Steve Salamon
Valley City, OH


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/27/23 05:14 by cr7998.

Date: 05/26/23 21:26
Re: Depot Friday: W&OD in Rosslyn, VA
Author: sig292

Here is some movie footage from Railroad Record Club Film 501.
-Ken Gear

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Date: 05/26/23 23:24
Re: Depot Friday: W&OD in Rosslyn, VA
Author: sig292

Here are a few stills.
1.Washington & Old Dominion car 44 and REA truck Rosslyn VA
2. Washington & Old Dominion RPO car on mail run outside Rosslyn VA
3. Washington & Old Dominion shops
Thats all I have on the W&OD.
-Ken Gear

Date: 05/27/23 04:38
Re: Depot Friday: W&OD in Rosslyn, VA
Author: santafe199

cr7998 Wrote: > ... Did Art have any other W&OD shots?

I'm sure he did. He had the habit of thoroughly covering any scene he was shooting. Unfortunately this slide is a "one-off". As I recall it was mixed in with a completely miscellanous bunch of slides, probably the fractured remnants of some slide show given decades ago. Art had a great knack for shooting scene & landmark details, besides the routine roster/consist & regular train shots. But the trade-off is that he wasn't nearly as organized as his "Pop" Bill (WAG Sr) was...


Date: 05/27/23 18:12
Re: Depot Friday: W&OD in Rosslyn, VA
Author: 36Ford

This is the view today looking in the same direction. The Key Bridge Marriott is the building to the left in the background. It was built in the late 1960's after the Arlington Brewery building was torn down. The Arlington Brewery( formerly Consumer's Brewery), is the building across Lee Highway behind the freight station. The shot of eastbound car 44 was taken at the grade crossing of North Quinn Street; which was located just outside of Rosslyn, near the west end of the bridge that carried the W&OD across Lee Highway and into the Rosslyn yard. 44 had been rebuilt into an RPO, by the railroad from a 1912 Southern Car interurban combine. After passenger service ended (for the first time) in 1941, 44 continued to run under wires by itself twice a day for mail and express duties; until the conversion to diesel power in 1942. After the power was turned off for good; 44 was hauled by a GE 44-toner. It is possible that those bricks were part of an inbound shipment to Rosslyn, and the car they were riding on didn't quite make it past the station and all the way to the brickyard. There was a hard right hand curved track at the end of the yard; right in front of the locomotive shop. The track climbed up the side of a steep hill on North Nash Street, to reach a brick yard and building supply business that was located at the top of Nash Street and Key Boulevard. Derailments on the W&OD were the rule rather than the exception; according to my late friend Mrs, Richard Fisher-who owned and operated Arlington Hobby Crafters for many years. Mrs.Fisher said that she was told once by a W&OD employee friend; that the Burro crane was the most heavily used piece of equipment on the railroad. 

Date: 05/27/23 18:23
Re: Depot Friday: W&OD in Rosslyn, VA
Author: U-3-b

When I was a kid growing up in Arlington, the spot where the station once was, was just a gravel lot. The W&OD bridges over Lee Highway where still there and is was fun to explore the old ROW.  I too knew Mrs Fisher, was at her house several times and spent hours and hours at Arlington Hobby Crafters.  Thanks for sharing a color shot of a station I had only seen in B&W.


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