Suburban Archaeology 2 : The Gap Line
Centreville Travel Blog› entry 63 of 107 › view all entries
October 11th, 2009 – by: Andy99
Background to this expedition: In the 1850's, the Manassas Gap Railroad planned to build a extension of its line to the port of Alexandria, Virginia.
I planned to start my exploration by looking for an 1850s stone bridge abutment that I'd seen in photos. This was to have been a bridge to carry the railway line over Cub Run in western Fairfax County. I could hike along Cub Run trail to find it. Finding the trailhead was a challenge. It lay in a suburban neighborhood in Centreville, but where? [Centreville in Fairfax County, not the one displaying on the TravBuddy map!!] I ended up using the Google Maps satellite view to locate the stone bridge in the stream valley and then calculating where I could park to pick up the trail best reach it. Getting there involved driving through many streets until I could park at the right cul-de-sac. From there it wasn't that far along the trail to the stone bridge abutment.
Despite the passing of 150 years and suburban development, remnants of the unfinished railway line are visible in many places in Fairfax County if one knows where to look. One such locale is in Annandale (site of my Ravensworth blog a year ago), where a park protects a visible right of way fill running through the landscape. There are trees now growing out of the railway fill, but the man-made earthen hump is noticeable when you look at it. The fill line is actually used as a trail in this park, so it is not completely overgrown.
Today, after seeing the bridge, I returned to US Highway 29 to further explore remnants of the line in Prince William County.
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