CSX's Acca Yard
Track in the middle of a highway running
Greyhound Bus Station
GPS Coordinates: as needed
Phone A/C: 804
Access by train/transit:
Amtrak RVA Station on Staple Mills Rd
Greyhound on North Arthur Ashe Blvd
This "quadrant" of Richmond contains the Amtrak station for Richmond, and
CSX's main yard for the Richmond area, Acca. Acca was originally a
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
Railfan Virginia dot com
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
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 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)
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
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.
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.
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
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
The signals before moving
Where they are now, before being relocated here
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.
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.
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
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.
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.