In General

Location / Name:
Richmond VA, Henrico County

What's Here:
CSX's Acca Yard
Amtrak Station
AY Interlocking
Track in the middle of a highway running
Greyhound Bus Station

GPS Coordinates:  as needed
Phone A/C: 804
ZIP: 23230

Access by train/transit:
Amtrak RVA Station on Staple Mills Rd
Greyhound on North Arthur Ashe Blvd

The Scoop:

This "quadrant" of Richmond contains the Amtrak station for Richmond, and CSX's main yard for the Richmond area, Acca.  Acca was originally a RF&P yard.

On the south side of Acca Yard, is AY Interlocking, which guides trains coming from the north (to/from DC), the south (Florida/NC/SC/etc), and to the east via downtown, Fulton Yard, and finally Newport News VA.

The Amtrak station is a good spot to watch trains from.  They will let you sit outside the station, but not onto the platform until a train is coming.  Even when you are waiting for a train on the platform, you will get freights passing you.  In the immediate area around the station, the R-O-W is fairly well fenced off, so you can't get any pictures until you are on the south side of Dumbarton Rd, where you are under a cantilever signal bridge watching trains come out of Acca Yard.

Both Dumbarton Road and Hilliard Road provide good vantage points for taking pictures, however, they are both screened with the finely knit fencing, making picture taking difficult if you are using a "real" camera with a telephoto lens - point and shoots should be fine since the lenses are smaller and can "see through" the fencing.

You can get very good pictures at the main facility at Acca from Tomlynn St.  You can also grab a fairly good shot of the yard as you drive over it on I-195, but please make sure you have someone else driving when you do! :-)

Note: This is a huge page, because I have redone the signal section to cover from AY up to the Amtrak station, with roughly 20 signal locations.  This is because CSX, since I first did this page, has completely re-signaled the area, and done major trackwork both at AY and on the west side of Acca Yard to provide through trains with their own tracks instead of having to wind their way thru the yard.

Picture note: When I travel by Amtrak, when I can, I try to travel business class.  Why?  If they don't put a car on the train for baggage, as they often do with the Corridor trains going to/from Richmond, you can spend the whole freakin trip in the vestibule taking pictures out the rear window - and the conductors are OK with this!!!  I did this going from Baltimore to Providence RI, and filled up a memory card with all the pictures I took.  This is good especially for us signal fans!  This is how Jersey Mike got a lot of the pictures in the Richmond pages.

Jersey Mike
William Duvall
Railfan Virginia dot com
Bing Maps
Google Maps
Denver Todd

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:

Getting Here

If you are coming in from the west, such as Charlottesville, Staunton or I-81, take exit 185a (Dickens Rd) or 185b (Staples Mill Rd) off of I-64 west of I-95.  If using exit 185a, go east (lest at the end of the off ramp) on Dickens Road to Staples Mill Road.

Coming in from the north or south via I-95, look for I-64 west, and then get off at exit 185b, Staples Mill Road.

If you're coming in the from the east, such as Newport News on I-64, just stay on it till you pass I-95, and then get off at Staples Mill Road.

From downtown, I would probably come out on Broad Street to Staples Mill Road.  This gives you the chance to stop where it goes over the CSX, at the north end of where the tracks go down the middle of the highway, and looking the other direction, you can (kinda) see AY Interlocking.

If you are traveling THRU Richmond on I-95, I find it easier, even during the rush hour, to take I-95 instead of I-295.... I-295 just takes you too far out of the way for thru traffic people.  It's also much more scenic.


The above map can be found as a PDF here


Acca Yard
AY Interlocking
the Amtrak Station
GN Tower
Up the Middle of I-195

  CSX's Acca Yard

This was the RF&P's southern most yard, and is located northwest of the downtown Richmond area. Within the past 2 or 3 years (2018), CSX reconfigured the yard so there is now three tracks on the west side of the yard for thru freights so they no longer had to wind their way thru the yard, and also a service lead to access the shops and a few businesses.

Below is an aerial view of what you can see from Tomlynn St.

      Entrance to Acca off Tomlynn St

                From the overpass on Westwood Ave

      Over at the engine maintenance facility as seen from Tomlynn St

          At AY looking east from the Westwood overpass

  Entrance to the yard off of Laburnum Ave

Changes at the north end of the yard can be seen below in the next two aerial shots.  Two tracks have been added.

South end of the yard (above & below), before the new thru tracks were put in, and after the ladder tracks were removed (the old ones can be seen well under signal 13).

  AY Interlocking

AY on the RF&P stood for Acca Yard, and was the southern most point on the RF&P.  Mileage on the RF&P was from AY Interlocking, and Potomac Yard was milepost 107.2.  Union station was at RF&P's milepost 113.5, although the tracks to get there belonged to the Pennsy.

The wye at AY is the junction between three of CSX's divisions:
     1) Richmond Terminal Subdivision (From AY north on the RF&P to Greendale)
     2) North End Subdivision (From AY south on the old SCL to Rocky Mount NC)
     3) Bellwood Subdivision (From AY south on the Southern to Centralia, where it joins up with the North End Subdivision)


  The Amtrak Station

Located on the north side of Richmond, this suburban station is the only area station.  It is located on Staples Mill Rd, just north of Hilliard.  Amtrak has decided to "fortify" this facility with gates all over the place, and by charging you to park, making it a hassle to get decent photos in the station.  There is a restaurant to the right of the station, as you are looking at the entrance off of the street, where I have found to be an OK Place to park as long as you aren't staying for a long time.

Passenger trains layover about 15 minutes, which gives you ample time to go somewhere else to take pictures.  I settled for going to the rear of a shopping center to the south of the station, but you need something to stand on to get over the fence.  Pick-ups are useful here! :-)

Southbound trains have to crossover to the opposite side, as CSX still runs in RF&P fashion, on the left.  I'm not sure if they use the track closest to the station, it is a siding.



            Amtrak Train #89 with #84 on the lead

    James River Bus Lines provides connecting service to areas west of Richmond

  GN Tower

I haven't found much info on RF&P towers.  I spoke with an Amtrak engineer, Scott, on my visit of December 2011, and he confirmed that the tower was only being used to house the signal relays.  The tower is now called Greendale interlocking.


  Up the Middle of I-195

The track coming up to West AY give the railfan some unique photo ops, being in the middle of I-195.  These pictures were taken from Broad St -- It's too bad the city replaced the fence with the tightly knit weave type, for it makes getting decent pictures very difficult.  On the south end, you might be able to get some decent pictures of NB's from Douglasdale, but I haven't checked it out.


Hilliard Rd Photo Spot


The Signals at AY

Almost all of the signals in Richmond are now standardized color light signals, since CSX came thru around 2018 and updated this section of Richmond.   Most, if not all of the signals were already colorlight signals, as the heritage railroads that made up CSX and Norfolk Southern used them: the RF&P, C&O, ACL, SCL, and Southern.  The C&O used a lot of their distinct riveted cantilever signal bridges, but they too have disappeared, darnit.

The signals have changed since I originally did the map above, so I have redone the whole signal section, covering signal from AY up to the Amtrak station, using the key below.  The signals, along with some major trackwork, was done around the 2017-2018 timeframe.  Acca yard was given two thru tracks, which meant the whole ladder track "thing" on the west side of the yard had to be reconfigured.  AY Interlocking was re-graded, and a third track was added between "AY" and "WEST AY".

As of the time of this update, in May 2020, you can still see on both Google and Bing maps, before, intermediate, and present day aerial pictures of the affected areas, but who knows how long they will last.  Bing especially, between AY and West AY, can flip back and forth between the before and after scenes.

  West AY - NB Signals

During the trackwork and signal change at AY, these signals were moved several hundred feet closer to I-195 (about 480ft using Google Maps measurement).

Slow Clear



The signals before moving

  Where they are now, before being relocated here

  2020, relocated

  before relocation

  West AY - Mainline SB Signals For Trains Coming From AY/Acca Yard

These signals were removed and replaced with a cantilever signal bridge, with signals over two of the three tracks that now go from AY to West AY.




Before resignaling, signal location 4 on the right

  West AY - SB Signals For The Third Track Coming From AY/Acca Yard

This is a new signal, on a new track.


  West AY - For Trains Coming From South AY to the West AY Interchange

In looking at the before and after pictures, we can see that this interchange track has been relocated.



Here you can see an old industrial siding that is close to the interchange track.

In this "after" shot, we can plainly see where the track used to be.  It's too bad that CSX had to deforest the entire area :-(

  South AY - For EB Trains Coming From West AY

Looks like the best you're going to get here is a slow clear.....

  South AY - For WB Trains Coming Off the Bellwood Sub into South AY Interlocking

-- South AY Before the Signal Upgrade



              Old telephone box at South AY

  South AY - AY into the Bellwood Sub Interlocking

Trains coming from Acca Yard have three tracks heading onto the Bellwood Sub, and this signals controls the merge down into one track here at South AY.

  AY - For NB Trains Coming From West AY on the Third Track Into AY

This signal controls the "new" third track in the AY to West AY interlocking (hence, a new signal location), this one controls NB trains heading into Acca Yard.

  AY -  For NB Trains Coming From South AY (& the Bellwood Sub) into AY

  Before - Looking from South AY towards AY and into ACCA Yard

  AY - For Trains Coming From West AY into AY Interlocking and Acca Yard

Signals for NB trains.  The third (new) track (with the yellow arrow), has it's own signal.

This location is easy to get to for pictures......

Before the Signal Upgrade, from 2011

    Underneath Westwood Ave for trains coming from West AY

April 2018, notice the new signals are in, but not yet in service.

  Southern Acca Yard NB

One of the few signals in the yard not on a mainline track.  I think this may be a new signal.

  Acca Yard Shop Lead

In all of the updating, this signal, which use to be a dwarf, is now a standard 3 head signal.  It controls movements out of the shop complex onto the mainline.  The old dwarf signal can be seen below in 13 to the left of the shop lead.  The derail is still in place.

  Acca Yard

SB trains going thru Acca would pass by this signal heading to AY.  This signal was no longer needed as a result of the track work done at Acca to provide thru tracks around the west side of the yard, so it was removed.  The signals at location 14 now do the honors, as well as controlling movements thru the crossovers north of this location.

  SB Acca Yard

A new set of cantilevered signals controls SB movements into a series of crossovers, and then into AY Interlocking.

  Acca Yard Service Lead NB

The service lead that parallels the two mainline tracks has a left mounted signal to control movements onto the main.

  North Acca Interlocking South

These signals are located behind the Comcast headquarters building.
This is not a good picture spot, as a high fence separates you from the tracks - altho it looks like you can come around the "backside" by crossing over the tracks on Dumbarton, and then taking a right onto Byrdhill Road, and winding your way around one of the buildings... this is a northern entrance into the yard too, BTW.
The signals here have been updated with the huge yard and resignaling project.
Instead of having two SB signals on a cantilever mount, there is a signal bridge spanning all 5 of the tracks with 4 NB signals.

The first set of pictures is from 2011, before the change.


Here is a "not to good" aerial of the signals, when they first started installing the new signal bridge (I wish Google hadn't gone to this really crappy 3D stuff).

And finally, thanks to Bing and their (sometimes) excellent Birds Eye View, we can see the new signals.

  North Acca Interlocking North

These new signals are located off Aspen Ave, off Staples Mill Road, and is a good picture spot.

Below is an "in process" aerial shot, before the new signals went in, and one of the tracks had not yet been installed.  You can just barely make out the new piers for the signal bridge.

  Amtrak Enter/Exit Signals

Two signals at this wayside location, one controlling exiting Amtrak moves into the North Acca Yard Interlocking, the other for passenger trains entering the station tracks.

  At the Amtrak Station

There are two sets of signals at the Amtrak station.  One set is for NB freights, and they are situated about midway along the platforms, on the east side.  The other set are exit signals for the Amtrak trains in the station, and are new signals.

Here we can see the NB signals from the Hilliard Road overpass.  Good place for SB train shots, BTW.

-- the NB Freight Signals

  the NB Station Exit Signals

There were two dwarf signals for NB trains leaving the Amtrak station -- they were Unilens type signals, similar to a searchlight signal, but with no moving parts (and not as bright).


They have now been replaced with two sets of high signals on a cantilever.



The Greyhound Bus Station/Terminal

GPS Coordinates: 37.571743, -77.465624
2910 N Arthur Ashe Blvd, Richmond, VA 23230

Historical USGS Maps

Courtesy of the University of Texas Library, click here for their index page.


I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in :-)

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

Aerial shots were taken from either Google or Bing Maps as noted.  Screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 

By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given!  Please be NICE!!!  Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.



NEW JUL09/2011, SEP13/2013, MAY03/2020
Last Modified 08-May-2020