In General
Railroad History
Getting Here
Fire & Police
Amtrak Info


In General

Location / Name:
Staunton VA, No County (Staunton is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia!)

What's Here:
Former C&O Depot
The Buckingham Branch RR
The Shenandoah Valley RR
C&O Water Tower
C&O Markings on RR Overpass
Turntable? Remnants

GPS Coordinates: as needed
Phone A/C: 540
ZIP: 24401

Access by train/transit:
Amtrak trains #50 and #51

The Scoop:

Staunton VA is a quiet little town on the western side of mid Virginia.  Thanks to my son-in-law Rob, and his folks Terry and Vicki who live in Staunton for helping me find my way around town!  It's most beautiful here, if you come, you won't wanna leave :-)

CSX owns the tracks that come thru town.  The Buckingham Branch RR has trackage rights from Doswell to Clifton Forge, with a division point at Charlottesville.

CSX no longer deals with anything local in Staunton, it is now handled by the Buckingham Branch.

The Shenandoah Valley RR handles local traffic from their yard along Lee Highway, northward to just south of Harrisonburg, where they also interchange with the Norfolk Southern.  When they head out depends on when the Buckingham Branch brings them cars from their interchange with the CSX in Clifton Forge.

Clifton Forge is also the division point for CSX, where the loaded coal drags head east via the more level route following the James River into Richmond via Lynchburg.  The lighter empty trains can handle the steeper grades on the WB route going thru Charlottesville and Staunton.  There are 5 or 6 trains each way every day.  In looking at a map, you can see where the CSX goes from being on the south side of the James River to the north shore, just slightly east of Lynchburg - the maplet below.

A couple more tidbits of info.  On the one map where you see the B&O heading south out of town, they were trying to reach Roanoke before the N&W.  Once the N&W got there first, for some reason, the B&O decided to quit building southward.  If you drive along I-81, just south of the interchange with I-64, you should be able to see where they built a bridge and did grading for the right-of-way, but neither ever saw any track.  There are other various places where the B&O did grading and put in abutments that can still be seen if you know where to look (I don't).

Ross Roland's ex N&W #614 is stored down in Clifton Forge.  Nothing on its location is evident from looking at Google maps, although there are still two turntables and an impressive bridge structure holding up the southern end of the yard!

There used to be an excursion operation that used to run out of Staunton, maybe 10 years ago.  After CSX kept raising the requirements, forcing them to buy more and more insurance, they finally called it quits after about three years of operation.  Some of the equipment was sold off, what remains sits behind an industrial building on a siding in Verona (off Adams Dr).  The engines may still be there.  The building is supposed to be vacant.

I would like to thank Mike, a local railfan whom you can find at the station on most days, for the detailed information here and elsewhere on this page.

Located a few blocks from the Staunton Train Station is the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Memorial and the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, as well as the Woodrow Wilson Museum.

If you have never been here before, and pronounce the name of the town with the "U" in it, everyone will know you are not from the area, as the name is pronounced "STAN-ton", more is from here:  Staunton (pronounced STAN-ton) was named for Lady Rebecca Staunton, wife of the Colonial Governor of Virginia William Gooch. No one really knows why Staunton is pronounced the way that it is. Some believe that the pronunciation is because "that is the way that the family pronounced the name (although Staunton descendants pronounce the "u".) It has also been suggested that since most area settlers were Scots-Irish and Germans and not English like the Staunton name that when Staunton was pronounced by those with Irish and/or German accents, it sounded like it did not contain a "u". It is anyone's guess!

As far as bus transportation goes, Staunton has the Staunton Trolley, which provides fixed-route bus service throughout Staunton.  It includes three routes - the Red Route, the Green Route and the Silver Route. The Green Route connects to the City's Amtrak station. The Coordinated Area Transportation Services (CATS) operates a demand-response service throughout the Staunton area, as well as a fixed shuttle service between the downtown areas of Staunton and Waynesboro.  From Wikipedia.  Pictures below in the Floobydust section.

Denver Todd
Paul North Jr.

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

Railroad History

The Virginia Central RR was the first railroad to make it's way into town in 1854, although the railroad began in 1836 as the Louisa Railroad.  The LRR originally started at Doswell at a junction with the RF&P - the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac.  The railroad changed it's name in 1850 to the Virginia Central.  At some point in time (the timing is unclear), the U.S. Supreme court allowed the Louisa to go east into Richmond.

The C&O Railroad was formed in 1868 with the merger of the Virginia Central and the Covington & Ohio RR.  The railroad was later changed to the C&O Railway in 1878 after Collis P. Huntington was recruited for money, and expanded the railroad east into Newport News in the 1880's.  A hundred years later, the railroad officially became the CSX, after a long association with the B&O and then the Chessie System 1972-1987.  I have a merger chart here.

Today, CSX, Amtrak, and the Buckingham Branch RR all service Staunton.

More historical trivia: The area of Staunton surrounding the railroad station is known as The Wharf, a curious name for a neighborhood that is nowhere near a wharf! In fact, the name is an historical one dating to the 19th century. The warehouses in this neighborhood reminded people of buildings that you might see along a wharf. In Staunton's case, the railroad acts in same manner as a wharf, and in fact, the neighborhood's old warehouses really do look like those that one might see along the waterfront of a port city.

Getting Here

If you're coming in from the south, such as southwestern Virginia (Salem, Roanoke), or Tennessee via I-81, get off at exit 222 just after passing I-64, heading into town on Richmond Ave.

Coming down from the north via I-81, take the same exit.

If you're coming over from Charlottesville or Richmond via I-64, bear to the right onto I-81 and take the very first exit, which is #222.

Coming in from the west via I-64 from, say, Charleston WV, head south out of Charleston on I-77/64, and then head east at Beckley to I-81 at Lexington, then go north to exit 222.



  Former C&O Rwy Depot

GPS Coordinates: 38.147469, -79.072550
The station is on the left with the curved canopy.  The signal pictured below is on the right pointed to by the yellow arrow.









The bridge was rebuilt as new 2011-2012, and they did a wonderful job!

Views from the bridge.


These 4 pictures are from Google's street view, actually very clear for a change!

  Tower and Amtrak Station

GPS Coordinates: 38.147623, -79.071731

It must have been difficult to see trains from here with the platform canopy in the way.
Amtrak also uses the bottom floor for their station and is open about an hour before trains arrive.
Staunton is serviced 3 times a week by the Cardinal, Amtrak trains #50 and #51.
The Cardinal provides service between NYC, DC, and Chicago via a "southernly" route.
Travel time by train from Charlottesville is about 1:12hrs and costs $11.
A trip to Richmond will cost around $20, but goes by bus between Charlottesville and Richmond.
To/from Washington DC, it's a 4:29 ride and will set you back $64.
From the Great American Stations page: Customers at Staunton use a small unstaffed waiting room located in the former signal house (The C&O called them CABINS - Todd) built for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O) circa 1886. Since the mid-19th century, three depots have served rail passengers at this site, located on a bend at the foot of Wilson Park and beside the now-underground Lewis Creek.
More info below.




  the Depot Grill

GPS Coordinates: 38.147092, -79.073316
Probably built in a former freight warehouse.... Very worthy for stopping in at and having lunch or dinner, prices AND food are great!  The Depot Grill is the "best" place in town to eat, well, it's the only place I did eat at.... so......


  the Buckingham Branch Railroad

GPS Coordinates: 38.145099, -79.076211
The Buckingham Branch RR is the largest shortline in Virginia.  They are railfan friendly, and a stop at either Doswell or Dilwyn will prove.  To boot, the owner's daughter used to live across the light rail tracks from where I live in Thorton.

Their website is here, and has a fair bit of railfan oriented stuff on it.


            From Friday June 21st, 2013

Again, these 3 pictures are from Google's street view.

Below is some stuff from their website.


    US 11 Overpass and the Staunton Watering Can

GPS Coordinates: 38.147072, -79.068652
Interesting watering can and flower pot where Greenville Ave goes under the tracks on a still labeled C&O bridge.


  Abandoned Coal Tipple

GPS Coordinates: 38.146671, -79.066719
Along Richmond Ave, just off US 11.

  Shenandoah Valley RR

GPS Coordinates: 38.146989, -79.065896
Located off Lee Highway, near the watering can.


The RS-11 (367) doesn't run :-(

    Looking west (L) and then east (R) from the crossing adjacent to the office.

  Former C&O Water Tower

GPS Coordinates: 38.147172, -79.072389
Nestled quietly above the depot is a C&O water tower that has never been removed.  During the summer, it is difficult to see.  Thanks to Paul for bringing this to my attention, and to Jonathan for taking the picture.

  Turntable Display

GPS Coordinates: 38.147137, -79.068229
Adjacent to the Water Can pictured at the US 11 Overpass is a "new" attraction for Staunton.  This display was designed to recreate a turntable that used to be here. They did a nice job with a section of dual gauge track going into the stonework.  Also here is a whistle post and a steam tender water standpipe.  Thanks to Paul for bringing this to my attention too!

 the Gypsy Express Mini-Train

GPS Coordinates: 38.160197, -79.080421
Just under a mile away from the depot, in Gypsy Hill Park, is a park size mini-train that has been around since 1958.  It is off my map to the NW. 
Hours: 1 to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, May through October. The Gypsy Express does not run in the rain.
Tickets: $1 per person. All rides are free on July 4 and Labor Day.

The Gypsy Express is a short, fun ride around a scenic area of Staunton’s Gypsy Hill Park. Today's riders are frequently the children and grandchildren of those who first rode the mini train more than a half-century ago. The Gypsy Express has been sharing fun and adventure with the young and young at heart for 60 years. Get in on the great Staunton train adventure!

History: In 1958, George and Linda Bartley brought a mini-train to Gypsy Hill Park. In a truly remarkable display of commitment, they operated the Gypsy Express until 1991, when they sold it to the City of Staunton.  The City continued to operate the mini-train until 1998, when it was taken out of service for safety reasons.  City leaders were considering whether the train could be safely operated or whether it should simply be removed from the park.  A group of area residents refused to put their memories and fondness for the train aside and, in August 2000, held an open meeting at Montgomery Hall Park to discuss saving the train.  About 50 local citizens attended, including George Bartley.  As a result, the group formed a non-profit corporation and named it Gypsy Express, Incorporated (GX).  GX contracted with the City to repair and bring the train back to safe service standards, and to provide volunteers to operate the train.  The City provided some seed funding, but the bulk of the funding has been provided through private and corporate donations.  Volunteers began the rebuilding process in the spring of 2001 by moving the station house to higher ground and refurbishing it.  They then enlarged the track and replaced most of the roadbed, added drainage pipes, and added stone rip-rap to hold the roadbed in place.The old 8 lb. rail was replaced with new and heavier 12 lb. rail. GX borrowed a rail bender from Maine to bend the new rail.  The old rail was sold to a private train operation in North Carolina.  The volunteers also put in all new ties, tie plates and drove in all-new spikes, one at a time.  They designed and built two new bridges, replaced the engine house, rebuilt the engine and refurbished the cars.  The engine and cars were repainted in Santa Fe Railroad colors, and a newly designed Gypsy Express logo was added.  Dedicated volunteers also landscaped the grounds, added a switch and siding, rebuilt the crossings and added a crossing signal.  A flagpole, new fencing, and gates were also installed. The Gypsy Express again roared to life on August 5, 2001 in a drenching rainstorm, with Mrs. Linda Bartley and Staunton Mayor G. John Avoli in attendance. GX designed and built a third car that accommodates larger people and wheelchairs. It is the first of its kind in the US, and began operation in 2003. The upper bridge has been made into a covered bridge for storage of this new ‘handicapped’ car. The loading platform was extended to allow for easy loading of wheelchair riders, and paved walkways were built for easier access to the train.


Friday, June 21st, 2013

Staunton is served by two Amtrak trains, NB #50, and SB #51.  #50 is scheduled to come thru at 1:37PM, train #51 2:59PM.  On this day, Amtrak train #50, since it is coming from Chicago, was running about 90 minutes late.  The SB train was only running about 15 minutes late.  As chance would have it, they both got here at just about the same time.  Train #50 came arrived first around 3:00, and immediately after they passed on the siding to the north of the station, #51 arrived.

    Train #50             Train #51

Next to the Tracks


This is what you will see as you walk along the tracks on the platform.

Around the corner from the station, as you go under the R-O-W on Middlebrook Ave towards the BBrr.
The left picture is from Google's street view, the right one is mine.

The pole line on the far side of the track is interesting, as it hugs a high wall of rock.



The only signal I came across in my short time going through town - they are just east of the station for EB traffic.  Just around the bend are the WB signals, but there is no way to easily get pictures without walking down the tracks.  Definitely C&O styling if you are at all familiar with their equipment, with red on the top of the upper head.  According to one railfan I met at the station, the C&O signals are soon to be replaced by newer "darth vader" color lights.



Railroad Bridges and Overpasses

  Middlebrook Ave

The span going over Middlebrook Avenue is a steel girder, and the track going over the creek and walkway is on a couple of small but well decorated stone arches.
You can find a convenient place to park off Church St and Middlebrook.

These overpasses are now part of Landis Park, a nice break from everything else.


  US 11

See above, sight #5.

  Green St

A narrow street spanned by a steel girder bridge.

Fire and Police

Staunton supposedly had the very first volunteer fire company in the state.

At some point in time, the city decided to make the all volunteer station part paid, and part volunteer... then, to the dismay of those that were volunteers, they made it all paid.  Many cities, especially in Florida, are finding out that it is very expensive to pay for the retirement of all of those former employees.  We'll see how Staunton fares, maybe they will invite the volunteers back.  The West Friendship Volunteer Fire company in Howard County MD is a good example of what can be accomplished when people and the local government work together, as they have a mix of both paid and volunteer.

City of Staunton Fire Department Station #1

At the corner of N Augusta St and Pump St.  More info from the historical page above: In 1911, the Staunton Fire Department purchased the first motorized fire apparatus in the state. Named "JUMBO" by its manufacturer, the fully restored Robinson Pumper Fire Engine is on view daily at the Staunton Fire Department. Since the fire engine is located at the Fire Department. It is essentially open 24 hours a day!

                  Their 9/11 memorial


Augusta County Fire Company #10

Along Richmond Ave near the Walmart.



Amtrak Info



Staunton has a whole lot of stuff to visit and see, if they interest you.  The station area is littered with bunches of antique and specialty stores.  Staunton also has a lot of very cool looking churches, none of the modern stuff that you find in newer areas like the burbs around established cities.  Enjoy your visit.

Seen around town.

A small sampling of some of the churches, I believe these are all along Augusta St.

Other views in the downtown area.

How to get killed on the railroad tracks.

Stuff seen on the way out of town.  The remains of the coal tipple is across from the Buckingham Branch yard.

Largest milk can I've ever seen, off Statler Blvd near the tracks.

Historical USGS Maps

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

In the map below, we can see that the B&O trackage south of Staunton has been abandoned and removed.

Below are enlargements of the central Staunton areas for comparison....
I have overlaid where I believe the R-O-W used to be, from comparing the two maps, and looking for clues with the contour lines.


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.  My webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place.

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.

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! 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 MAR03/2013, JUN13/2016?
Last Modified 01-Dec-2019