(Front Side): History of the Railroad in Vienna * 1859 to 1968Optimist Club of Vienna
* 1859 — Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampshire Railroad begins passenger, mail and freight service to Vienna.
* 1861 — First use of a railroad in war occurs in Vienna during the Civil War.
* 1870 — Railroad renamed to the Washington & Ohio.
* 1894 — Railroad becomes the Southern Railway System. Daily service to Vienna increases to five passenger and mail trains.
* 1904 — In addition to the railroad, hourly electric trolley service begins between Vienna and Washington, D.C.
* 1912 — Southern Railway System leased to private investors and becomes the Washington & Old Dominion Railway. New electric passenger cars purchased, including a post office car used to postmark and sort mail en route to its destination. In 1919 electric engines replace steam locomotives.
* 1936 — Railway becomes the W&OD (Washington & Old Dominion) Railroad.
* 1941 — Passenger service suspended until after World War II.
* May 30, 1951 — Passenger service to Vienna ends. Freight service continues until 1968. Virginia Power purchases the railroad right-of-way and grants permission for Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority to develop the W&OD Regional Trail.
* The old Vienna railroad station is located near Vienna Centennial Park and serves as headquarters for the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders.
Railroad Battle of Vienna * June 17, 1861
The 1st Ohio Regiment, a Union force of 29 officers and 668 men under the command of Brigadier General Robert Schenck, was assigned to a work train installing telegraph lines along the railroad right-of-way from Alexandria to Vienna. The train included a steam engine pushing a passenger car, a baggage car and four flatcars.
The 1st South Carolina Volunteers, a Confederate force of over 600 men and 2 six-pounders (light cannon) led by Colonel Maxey Gregg, was assigned to destroy the railroad water tank in Vienna and otherwise disrupt Union railroad activity.
As the train approached Vienna, the engineer unwisely sounded the engine's whistle. Being warned, the Confederates prepared an ambush in the vicinity of what is now the Vienna Community Center and Park Street. With the first Confederate volley, the Union detachment leaped from the train to seek cover in the nearby woods. In panic, the engineer uncoupled the engine and passenger car and backed away in hasty retreat to Alexandria. The Union force retreated on foot, carrying several wounded and leaving six dead.
Though the battle was short, Vienna achieved distinction as the site of the first railroad battle in history.
(Back Side): Vienna Caboose #503
The caboose at the rear of the train was a familiar sight throughout America until it was replaced by modern technology. It was a traveling command center, carrying tools, spare parts and emergency equipment as well as providing quarters for railroad crews.
After repeal of the laws requiring manned cabooses in Virginia, the Norfolk Southern Corporation announced that it would donate cabooses to deserving organizations. The Town of Vienna received a caboose because of the importance of the railroad in Vienna's history and its plans for a Centennial celebration.
Moving the caboose from the rail yard in Alexandria to Vienna's Centennial Park was a joint community effort by:
Battlefield (Centerville) Optimist Club
United Rigging & Hauling, Beltsville, MD
Vienna's caboose was built in 1948 and weight over 30 tons. It was renamed and renumbered as W&OD Caboose #503
Vienna Centennial Park and the caboose are within the boundaries of the W&OD Regional Trail right-of-way by permission of Virginia Power and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
Restoration of the caboose and creation of Centennial Park were made possible by many hard-working volunteers and generous contributors and by:
The Vienna Centennial Committee
Centennial Caboose Committee
Ayr Hill Garden Club
Vienna Public Works Department
On September 15, 1990, this community project was dedicated to future generations as a lasting reminder of Vienna's Centennial celebration.
The marker lists members of the Vienna Centennial Caboose Committee, Vienna Centennial Committee, and Contributors to the project.