“Rails to Loudoun – The W&OD Railroad” Exhibit on Display at Thomas Balch Library

W&ODLeesburg, VA (March 1, 2024) – A new exhibit, “Rails to Loudoun – The W&OD Railroad” by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is on display in the Mercer Room at Thomas Balch Library through the end of March.

The railroad, which was last known as the Washington & Old Dominion, began 166 years ago and immediately transformed Loudoun County. Once trains reached Leesburg in 1860, the cities of Alexandria and Washington were only a few hours ride rather than a day or more. Loudoun’s many farmers could send agricultural products to the markets in those cities and merchants in Sterling, Ashburn, Leesburg, and Purcellville could more easily stock their shelves.

The railroad lasted nearly 110 years through seven name changes and six different owners. The rail line changed its locomotive power as the technology changed. The line started with wood burning steam engines, changed to coal burners, then electric equipment and then diesel engines.

This exhibit tells the story of the W&OD through photographs and artifacts from the NOVA Parks, W&OD Railroad Collection. It is viewable during the library’s normal operating hours: Monday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday from 2 to 8 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, please call 703-737-7195 or email balchlib@leesburgva.gov.