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

Boundaries of the Piedmont Sub


Recently I received a question about my claim that the Piedmont Sub extended from Richmond to Charlottesville and that the Washington Sub ran from Orange to Gordonsville. Jack Bruce pointed out that a 1977 Employee Timetable in his possession clearly indicated that the Piedmont Sub ran from Richmond to Gordonsville and that the Washington Sub ran from Orange to Charlottesville with a junction with the Piedmont in Gordonsville. That division was also used by CSX and is still in use by the Buckingham Branch, the current operators of the line.

My first thought was that at one point the Piedmont Sub ran from Richmond to Charlottesville, but then the boundaries were redrawn in the 1960’s (mid- to late 1960’s by my estimate) so that the Piedmont extended from Richmond to Gordonsville and the Washington Sub from Orange to Charlottesville. This hypothesis seemed to be supported by the evidence: sources showing the Richmond to Charlottesville Piedmont Sub included the 1934 List of Officers, Agents, Stations, Etc., the 1937 Side Track Record, the 1948 List of Officers, Agents, Stations, Etc., the July, 1957 list of Stations, Junctions, and Connections, and the 1963 Track Charts. Sources that showed the Richmond to Gordonsville Piedmont Sub included the 1970, 1977, and 1980 Employee Timetables.

Nice and neat, eh? Well, then Jack sent me a scan from the 1958 Employee Timetable showing the Richmond to Gordonsville Piedmont. He also contacted the C&OHS and Tom Dixon sent both of us the following information from the Society’s archives. The station books, which lasted until 1957, always showed the Piedmont running to Charlottesville. The October 26, 1958 Employee timetable, however, shows the Piedmont terminating in Gordonsville, so the change most likely occurred sometime in late 1957 or early 1958.

I ran across the following information in C&OHS Historical Magazine article by John Maugans. John wrote, “It should be noted here that although many railroaders and historians have referred to the section of the C&O between Charlottesville and Richmond as the Piedmont Subdivision, and only the portion north of the Gordonsville wye as the Washington, for the purposes of this discussion we will describe the trackage west of Gordonsville as being part of the latter. Both interpretations are correct, but are largely dependent on which timetable or track chart you happen to have [emphasis added]).”

I want to close with two final comments. First, this observation: The Washington Sub begins in Orange with milepost 0. Milepost 9 on the Washington Sub stands in the wye at Gordonsville. For what it’s worth, the mileposts west of Gordonsville continue in sequence with those on the Piedmont Sub, not the Washington. So, I’m going to continue to consider the tracks west of Gordonsville as part of the Piedmont Sub. My thanks to Jack for bringing this issue to my attention and to Tom for the additional information. I probably should have addressed this issue a long time ago.


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