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

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. 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.

The Charlottesville Station was sold in 1984 and was converted into office and retail space. According to Garth Groff, renovation of the passenger station was completed about 1990 and the building 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. At one point, Garth Groff reported that the main and 4 yard tracks remained and were in use by CSX MOW and as a place for locals to turn. Since then, the Buckingham Branch has taken over. The coaling tower is still standing and at one point there were plans to turn it into an apartment building.

Photos


Charlottesville Station

The first four images of the Charlottesville station are from old postcards. I can’t date this one exactly as the postmark was lost when the stamp came off. The card, however, claims that U.S. and Canadian postage was 1¢. From the collection of Larry Z. Daily)
The postmark on this card is double stamped and hard to read, but looks to be October of 1907. From the collection of Larry Z. Daily)
The date on this card is July of 1908. From the collection of Larry Z. Daily)
I find this 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. The second reason 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? (From the collection of Larry Z. Daily)

C&O's Charlottesville Station Charlottesville Station, land side. (Martha Tarrant photo, used with permission).
Charlottesville Station, track side. This is a fairly 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.)
It’s August of 1974 and it’s train time at the Charlottesville station. C&O GP7 5892 appears to be shifting the consist of Amtrak‚s James Whitcomb Riley. (From a slide in the collection of Larry Z. Daily.)
The Charlottesville station in June of 1974. (From a slide in the collection of Larry Z. Daily.)

Charlottesville Yard

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.
It’s May 29, 1970 and the George is arriving in Charlottesville. (Photographer unknown. From a slide in the collection of Larry Z. Daily)
It’s March 2, 1975 and a line of C&O power is waiting for an assignment. (Photographer unknown. From a slide in the collection of Larry Z. Daily)
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)

Coaling Tower

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)

C&O GP7 5871 is still in its original paint on April 2, 1966. The notes on the slide simply indicate that this image was taken in Charlottesville, so in my first post of this photo I asked whether anyone could identify the location. Both John Maugans and John DeLong said that the locomotive is parked on one of the radial tracks in the engine terminal. Thanks, guys. (Photographer unknown. From a slide in the collection of Larry Z. Daily)

These photos, both by Jack Spangler, show the C&O’s crossing of the Southern in Charlottesville. The tops photo is from 1966 and the C&O tracks are in the foreground. The bottom photo is from 2013 and the former C&O tracks are operated by the Buckingham Branch and they cross Norfolk Southern rails. (Both photos by Jack Spangler. Used with permission.)

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