VIRGINIA BLUE RIDGE RAILWAY
© Steven P. Hepler 2012
Inbound loads consisted of orchard supplies, fertilizer and feed. Once in a great while a tank car of gasoline was delivered to a consignee. Outbound traffic saw the movement of acid wood that was used to manufacture tannic acid, which was utilized as an ingredient to stain wood and create dyes for cotton. Among a host of many other applications, the acid also inhibits corrosion in metal.
|The harvest season brought many outbound carloads of orchard produce. The local orchards in turn required barrels, which were produced in Massies Mill. An apple drying plant was also constructed nearby. Both facilities were served by the VBR.|
|When the Woodson Lumber Company closed in 1924, the branch to that facility was soon ripped up, as there was absolutely no traffic on that section of the line. By 1926 the number of carloadings had declined to a point that trains operated over the VBR only three days a week. Flooding of the Nelson County area was a constant, and the railroad found itself the victim of track damage and washouts many times over the course of its lifetime.|
The Great Depression that began in 1929 hit the VBR particularly hard. A major flood that same year destroyed miles of track and several bridges were washed away. For a time, it seemed as if the VBR would soon fade into history. Through the awarding of a $106,000 Federal loan to finance the repairs, the VBR managed to stay afloat.
For a while the VBR hauled a small amount of pulpwood and farm products, but the arrival of paved highways to the area brought about a quick end to this traffic.