East of the Blue Ridge

Chronicles of an On30 quarry railroad

Shenandoah Shortline

Elkton, Virginia is a small town in the Shenandoah Valley.

It is at the junction of the Norfolk & Western, and Chesapeake Western railroads. An old freight house stood near the interchange track.

The south end of the railroad was in Staunton, Virginia, where there was an interchange with the C&O Railroad. Near the junction was an old interlocking tower, dating back to the days when the B&O crossed the C&O here and continued south to Lexington.

In the summer of 1985, Chesapeake Western Alco T6 locomotives were being serviced in the ramshackle engine house at Elkton, Virginia.

This locomotive is now in Roanoke on display at the Virginia Transportation Museum.

Rails to Schuyler - Quarries

The vast majority of soapstone quarries in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia are abandoned. But they were abandoned at different times, and some were active into the 1960s.

Alberene, Virginia is the site of both the oldest and newest of the abandoned quarries. Deposits of stone that were considered to be too hard early on were worked later. Later quarries were worked using more modern equipment, and the walls are marked with drill bore grooves, while old quarries have smooth walls.

Enormous AH&D derricks lifted the stone out of the quarries and loaded it onto trucks or railroad cars.

The hoist house near the base of the derrick contains the spools of cable and control levers.

An old Caterpillar tractor was left to rust in the weeds near the quarry.

The obvious signs of heavy industrial activity makes the flooded quarries seem deeply silent.