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.
I am, of course, always interested in any new information or photos concerning the Piedmont Sub. There are some things,
though, that would mean a lot to me to get. I thought that there might be some people out there with some of these
things in their possession who chose not to contact me because they weren't sure whether I’d really be interested.
So, here’s my wish list. If you have something on the list and you don’t want to part with the original I
can certainly understand that, and I’d be willing to cover duplication and shipping charges.
Thanks for looking, Larry
There’s a facility in Louisa that loads vermiculite into covered hoppers. I’d really like to know
how long it has been there, who owns it now, and who owned it in the past.
According information provided by Jerry Simonoff, the only company mining vermiculite in
Virginia is Virginia Vermiculite, suggesting that the facility was built for them. That conclusion is supported by
a C&O engineering drawing provided by Gary Smith, which shows that the railroad leased the land to Virginia
Vermiculite and built the facility in 1978. For me, that means that the loader was built 8 years too late to be
included on my model railroad, but that leads into the next point...
Due to a conversation on the ChesapeakeOhioRailway Yahoo group, I recently discovered the
Historic Aerials Web site. In exploring the site,
I found that they had photos of Louisa from 1969, only a year before my modeling period. The photo
showed what appears to be a building standing very near the site of the vermiculite loader and very
close to what I believe to be the remains of the automobile loading ramp built in 1930 (close enough
that I think that they might be related). The building shows up aerial photos as far back as 1958 (which
is as far back as Historic Aerials goes in Louisa). So, a new wish: photos or drawings or any information
regarding the building. I’ve cropped the photo to show the relevant bit below.
Once again, Gary Smith has provided invaluable information. Prior to being leased to
Virginia Vermiculite, the land in the photo was leased to Louisa Feed Services. The building was identified
as a metal shed and the roof near the tracks was an overhang over a wooden ramp. So, the shed was standing
until the vermiculite loader was built in 1978. Gives me something to put in that spot on my model
railroad - if I can figure out what it looked like. Any photos or information on that would be greatly
Just outside Gordonsville, near Melton, is what is now an AmeriGas propane facility. I’ve included that
facility on my model railroad, but I have a problem. I model 1970 and I recently learned that the AmeriGas brand
didn’t exist then. AmeriGas as a brand name was introduced by parent company UGI in the mid- to
late-1970’s. Prior to then the brand name was Ugite. I have a Gordonsville phone book from 1970 and it
doesn’t list a Ugite dealer. Other sources I’ve seen lead me to believe that Ugite wasn’t available
in Virginia in 1970. The phone book does list, however, a Pyrofax “gas plant” in Gordonsville. The problem is
that the phone book doesn’t list street addresses, so I can’t be sure that the Pyrofax plant was the one in
Melton. Can anyone confirm that or tell me what company did own the Melton facility in 1970? Any photos of the facility
from before it was Amerigas would also be most appreciated.
Tim Browning of CSX has confirmed that the siding was built for Pyrofax in October of 1952. In 1962 Pyrofax became part of
Union Carbide. Thanks, Tim. I am, of course, still looking for photos of the facilty before it became AmeriGas.
Information on Main Street, Gordonsville, south of the railroad bridge, in the 1965 to 1975 timeframe. I’m
especially interested in what businesses occupied the stores, photos of the area currently occupied by the new Town Hall,
and photos of the C&O’s bridge over Main Street.
Photos of any stations not currently shown on the site. Even if the photo mostly shows one of your relatives and
only a little of the depot or its interior, it would still be of interest.
Information on businesses that shipped and received via the Piedmont Sub in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s,
what they received or shipped via rail, and what kinds of cars were used.
Here’s a request from Gene Huddleston. If you can provide the information he’s looking for, let me know
and I’ll put you in touch. Here’s what he's looking for, in his words:
“I have about 60 slides most taken in 1954 and most in the Shockoe Valley. These were purchased by a
publisher at auctions, etc. The only real aid so far in identification so far has been your help with the
Richmond Locomotive Works. I have track charts that include maps of the C&O yards at Richmond. And those
help (like locating the site of the 70 ft. turntable and the wheel drop pit at the passenger shops. Do you have
pictures of operators cabins (or towers) belonging to C&O in Richmond area (on Piedmont only)? I have good
ones that I took of the RF&P tower at Doswell. But I am looking for one that was at the west end of the
17th St yard about a mile north of the tower at Main Street station. From the aerial photo I have the office
appears to be a modernistic one story brick building made from same design as C&O towers at Carey, Ohio, West
Hanlin, WV and at the east end of Hinton’s Avis yard. Can you or an old timer in the area tell me about
structures (including an operators tower or "cabin") at the west end throat of the 17th St yard? In 1976 I got a
shot of the yard masters office about a half mile north of Main St. station about where the interchange was with
the SAL. So I know my way around a little bit. Oh yes, at 2nd St yard (ACL Conn) on the Rivanna was the yardmaters
shanty a converted caboose?
The last thing on the list is one I’ve been looking for for 27 years now. Back in 1981 I was newly married when
I wandered into Cornish and Sons hobbyshop in Alexandria, Virginia one afternoon. I saw there a book titled something like
Railroad Stations of Virginia. My memory is that the book was large (larger than 8½ by 11), hard cover (I
think the cover was brown with gold lettering), and expensive (my memory was that it cost $30 or more). The book had several —
maybe 5 or 6 — pages of photos of the Gordonsville passenger station, including the interior. I didn’t buy it then
because my new wife would have hit the ceiling if I had spent $30 on a train book. I’ve never seen it again, and
I’d really like to get a copy. Several years ago I began asking about it online and people pointed me to John F.
Gilbert’s Crossties to the Depot, Volume One: Virginia Railroad Stations. I’ve got a copy of that
book and it’s not the one I remember. My copy is softcover and the one I remember was hard cover. If anyone can even provide
me the author’s name and title of the book I remember I’d really appreciate it.
Well, I have to admit I was wrong on this one. I just searched Google books and the page that came up
shows a photo of a book with the cover I remember — on John Gilbert’s Crossties book. Check it out:
Virginia Railway Stations
Please note that, due to a huge volume of spam coming in on my email account, I’ve had to change my email address.
The new address is email@example.com (but remove the nospam and the dot before piedmontsub.com).
All materials on this Web site are protected by United States
copyright law. This includes, but is not limited to, articles and graphics. Unless
otherwise indicated, these materials are the property of Larry Z. Daily and may not
be used without prior written permission of Larry Z. Daily