,February 1900 saw the birth of the Virginia-Carolina Railroad, when service was established between Abington and Damascus in Virginia to facilitate the potential for a timber industry. Norfolk-Western had created the line to fill the niche left by earlier, failed attempts by Abington Coal & Iron Railroad Company and Virginia Western Coal & Iron Railroad Company to service the region’s industry.
Whitetop, Virginia became the highest elevated, regularly serviced station east of the Mississippi River, after it was added to the route in 1912. The slow, steady climb of the train up the steep slope to Whitetop earned it the nickname “Virginia Creeper.”
The line expanded into North Carolina in 1920, after establishing a depot in Elkland, North Carolina, now Todd. In 1940, Norfolk-Western repaired damage caused by the August flood. In 1974, they petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to abandon the line. Additional flood damage in 1977 prompted the collaboration between the U.S. Forestry Service, the City of Abington, and the Town of Damascus to create the Virginia Creeper Trail.
The Appalachian Rails and Railways Collection consists of few materials about the Virginia-Carolina Railway; however, some reminances of the famed line are available for researchers to examine.
For more information regarding the popular Virginia attraction, visit www.vacreepertrail.com.
Blevins, T. H. A brief history of the “Virginia Creeper”: the Famed Abingdon Branch of the Norfolk and Western Railway. [S.l. : s.n.], 2003. Train HE2791.N8135 B54 2003
Davis, Edward H. and Edward B. Morgan. The Virginia Creeper Trail Companion: Nature and History along Southwest Virginia’s National Recreation Trail. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 1997. Train F231.9 .D38 1997
McGuinn, Doug. The “Virginia Creeper”: Remembering the Virginia-Carolina Railway. [Boone, N.C.?]: D. McGuinn: Bamboo Books, 1998. Train TF25.N77 M54 1998