Image of the C&O for Progress monogram A graphic image of the words C&O Piedmont Subdivision

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Charlottesville

C&O Milepost 181.4


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Station Number: 181
Code Number: 0301
Telegraph Callsign: MO

Charlottesville was the western end of the Piedmont Sub. Chessie’s name trains had their consists changed in Charlottesville and C&O trains also stopped at a Union station shared with the Southern.

Charlottesville Station. These views are from old postcards. I can’t date the upper left-hand one exactly as the postmark was lost when the stamp came off. The card, however, claims that U.S. and Canadian postage was 1¢.The postmark on the upper right-hand card is double stamped and hard to read, but looks to be October of 1907. The date on the lower left-hand card is July of 1908. I find the lower right-hand card (postmarked July, 1907) interesting for a number of reasons. First, you can see a C&O and an N&W boxcar in the background. Second is the writing on the card, which was addressed to a woman in Blacksburg, VA. It says, “Are you married, single, or a widow? Will be in the 'burg during July, when you can reveal the secret.” I find this fascinating. Was the author (who signed the message only with initials) a potential suitor? (all postcards from the collection of Larry Z. Daily)

The C&O was the first railroad to reach Charlottesville and its first depot there was built in 1848. In 1858 the railroad reached the Shenandoah Valley resulting in a tremendous increase in the shipment of goods and raw materials through the town. The original depot was burned by General Sheridan’s troops in 1865. A new one was built to replace it and was itself replaced in 1905 by a large colonial-style brick depot. This station was the first of its kind on the C&O. At its peak in the 1920’s the Charlottesville Station was handling 13 trains daily.

C&O's Charlottesville Station
Charlottesville Station, land side. (Martha Tarrant photo, used with permission). Charlottesville Station, track side. This is a recent
photo that shows how the platform was closed
in and converted into offices. (December 2002 photo)
This shot shows the Charlottesville station as it appeared in 1986. (Ron Huffman photo, used with permission.)

The Charlottesville Station was sold in 1984 and was to be converted into office and retail space. According to Garth Groff, renovation of the passenger station was completed about 1990 and is now home to stock brokers and other “suits.” The platforms were enclosed with new wooden walls but the main station was not changed. Garth also reports that the former Union station is also being renovated and converted into commercial space.

University of Virginia

The University of Virginia benefitted tremendously when the railroad reached Charlottesville. Enrollment increased substantially due to the University's increased accessibility. In 1855 a platform for passengers was built to serve the school and in 1860 a siding was built to facilitate the delivery of coal. The UVA stop was gone by 1928 though.

Other C&O Facilities

The C&O maintained a sizeable yard, shop, and roundhouse in Charlottesville. The yard facilities included a 115' turntable and a 300 ton coaling tower. The yard was closed in April of 1986. In 1988 the turntable and part of the yard were torn up. Garth Groff reports that the main and 4 yard tracks remain and are in use by CSX MOW and as a place for locals to turn. The last I heard coaling tower was still standing and someone wanted to turn it into an apartment building.

This photo shows the C&O yard in the 30’s or 40’s. It belongs to the Rivanna Chapter of the NRHS. I’m trying to get in touch with them to find out if they mind my linking to it.
This is a view of the Charlottesville yard in July 1978. (Photo copyright S. Peter Nyce, used with permission)
This photo shows the Charlottesville Yard in September of 1979. The coaling tower is in the background to the right. (1979, Gary Morris photo, used with permission)
The C&O’s Charlottesville coaling tower in 1978. The tower looks ready to service a hungry steamer even though there’s a 2nd generation diesel in the foreground. (Photo copyright S. Peter Nyce, used with permission)
The C&O’s Charlottesville coaling tower. (January, 2003 photo)

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