Image of the C&O for Progress monogram A graphic image of the words C&O Piedmont Subdivision

Friends, one of the questions that I’ve asked myself over the years is why I and many others build models. A few years ago it occurred to me that, as a research psychologist, I know how to go about answering that question. If you’d be willing to help me out, I have a survey online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DNX3QKB. If you, too are a model builder and could spare about 30 minutes to complete the survey, I’d really appreciate it.

Rugby

C&O Milepost 172.0


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Station Number: 172
Code Number: 0290

I’ve long suspected that Rugby was the estate of some wealthy individual and that the station was named for the estate. I did discover that there was an estate called Rugby on what were then the outskirts of Charlottesville. In 1883, Rugby was purchased as a summer home by Thomas Lafayette Rosser, a Civil War veteran and chief engineer of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The unfortunate thing is that the Rugby estate was miles and miles from this station. I’m still not sure where the station name came from, but McChord (1979) reports that the stop was once known as Trice’s.

The C&O apparently once had both a passenger shelter amd a spur track at Rugby. The spur was retired in April, 1936. In late 1956, the C&O requested permission to discontinue Rugby for freight purposes. The shelter shed was retired in May of 1962.

Photo


According to my sources, the Rugby station was located right at milepost 172. Thanks to Gary Smith of the Buckingham Branch Railroad, I’ve finally made it to the site. As you can see, there’s not a lot there, and no hint of the exact location of the shelter or the siding. Back in the weeds, there is a gate in the fence that suggests the location of the old road, but there’s really not a lot to see. (2013 photo).

Map


This map was prepared from U.S.G.S. topological maps, C&O track charts dated 1963, C&O Side Track Records dated 1937, a copy of the Side Track Records updated through the 1990’s, and C&O Valuation maps, also updated through the 1990’s.

I’ve had a great deal of difficulty locating Rugby with any degree of certainty. Two things led me to my prior choice of locations. First, the C&O’s Chesapeake Region Bridge Book says that Bridge 1722 crosses “Jack’s Creek” and the station was only .2 mile from that bridge. Second, the track charts also showed a grade crossing at the station site and the only road into the area on the maps was Route 648. The U.S.G.S. maps do show a Jack’s Branch just about .2 miles from Route 648. That led me to locate the station about a mile from where other maps (such as MapQuest and Topozone) located it. The problem was that other bridges didn’t line up with waterways. My recent acquisition of the C&O Valuation maps and the availability of aerial photographs online have led me to revise my map. First, the Valuation maps made it clear that the station was where other maps put it, but they did show a grade crossing that was crossed off the map.That means that the C&O’s name for the stream was different from everyone else’s; all the other maps call it Chopping Bottom Branch. Aerial photos also showed that the stream has apparently been dammed, creating a pond that severed the road. So, I’m fairly certain that this map is correct.

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