On Sunday, April 3, 2016, former HCHS president Arthur H. Taylor, III
spoke at St. Paul's Episcopal Church
on the topic of Hanover and Her Railroads
: The story of the Louisa Railroad; Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railway; and Richmond and Rappahannock River Railroad.
The Chesterfield Railroad, which brought ore and iron products from the mines and foundry at Falling Creek to Richmond, was Virginia's first railroad. It was completed in late 1831. Trains first ran through Hanover County in February of 1836, in the form of the rolling stock of the Richmond, Potomac and Roanoke Railroad. This first railroad line went from Richmond to South Anna, and by May of 1836, trains emanating from stations in Richmond, Chesterfield and Taylorsville also ran to North Anna.
The Louisa Railroad was built atop the gains made by the Richmond, Petersburg and Roanoke, and added stations at Hanover Junction (now known as Doswell), Frederick Hall and Beaverdam. The tracks on these early railroads consisted of a 1" x 2", flat iron strap spiked atop wooden rails.
Passenger fares for the Louisa RR's maiden voyage
on December 20, 1837:
Frederick Hall to Beaverdam: 75¢
Frederick Hall to Hanover Junction: $1.50
Frederick Hall to Richmond: $2.75
A railroad depot was first built at Beaverdam circa
1840, to serve the farmers of Hanover and Louisa Counties. This depot and two subsequent reconstructions were burned by the Union army during the Civil War, and the depot that stands today was built in 1866.
Following the Civil War, several Virginia railroads joined to form the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Railroad, which connected West Virginia's coal reserves with the James River at Richmond. The C&O eventually connected Chicago with Newport News, but discontinued its passenger service in 1971 with the creation of Amtrak. In 1972 the C&O became part of the Chessie System, along with the Baltimore and Ohio and Western Maryland Railways.