Building a Railroad Through a Stream Valley

Building a Railroad Through a Stream Valley (HM1SPM)

Location: Fredericksburg, VA 22401
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 17.243', W 77° 28.987'

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In the 1850s, work gangs leveled this railway bed by cutting through hills and filling in valleys. They established culverts where the mounded earth would have otherwise blocked streams. To construct such facilities, they first laid down a bed of heavy timbers, which established the proper fall for the water. Two rows of large stones, capped with more stones, then created a solid tunnel through which water could drain.

A substantial culvert in this location stood for more than a century. The upstream end had been reinforced with a stone headwall, which protected it from storms and flooding. The downstream end was not as heavily constructed and eventually collapsed, causing the embankment to start to fall away. A new concrete culvert has allowed the railway bed to be restored.

In constructing culverts and bridges along this railway, work crews did not want to haul heavy stones any further than necessary. They quarried their building materials from nearby sources, including the streambed. Note the row of drill marks on the stone in the center. The part of the stone split off from this one was hauled away as construction material.

A stone headwall, once located in the stream valley in front of you, protected this rail embankment from flooding. When the downstream end
of the culvert failed, the embankment eroded severely and the entire culvert had to be replaced before this trail could be built.

This 1934 map shows the Virginia Central Railway, then in active use, coursing through the Hazel Run valley and connecting with the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad, in Fredericksburg. The road labeled as Jefferson Davis Highway is Lafayette Boulevard. The U.S. Route 1 Bypass had not yet been built.
Placed ByFredericksburg Timeless
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, June 20th, 2016 at 1:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 282826 N 4240618
Decimal Degrees38.28738333, -77.48311667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 17.243', W 77° 28.987'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 17' 14.58" N, 77° 28' 59.22" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Virginia Central Railway Trail, Fredericksburg VA 22401, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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