Wednesday, November 25, 2015

From the archives: When the W&OD Trail was going to connect to the Appalachian Trail

The following appeared in the   It seems there were plans to extend the trail beyond Purcellville to Bluemont.  They were shelved and revived several times and are still on the books. 

From the archives: When the W&OD Trail was going to connect to the Appalachian Trail

The W&OD railroad used to run from Alexandria to Bluemont, Virginia; but the trail only runs from the Arlington/Alexandria boundary to Purcellville. At one point in the late 80's-early 90's it looked like the trail might extend along the remaining west end of the ROW all the way to Bluemont and the Appalachian Trail.
When the trail was "completed" in 1988, the park authority stated that they had "plans to extend the W&OD seven miles farther to Bluemont and the Appalachian Trail." The section from Purcellville to Bluemont was admittedly a bit different from the rest of the railroad, as it had been abandoned in 1938, 30 years before the rest of the line was. Nonetheless, in 1988 they stated that
The park authority plans to extend its W&OD Trail to Bluemont and the Appalachian Trail, which follows the border between Loudoun County and Clarke County.
Two years later, the Park Authority stated that they hoped to have the seven mile extension completed in 3 years.
Park Authority Executive Director Darrell Winslow said money may not be the biggest hurdle in making the plan a reality. Rather, finding land for the skinny extension -- an eight-foot-wide paved path and room on either side for drainage -- could be the toughest challenge, he said.
The Park Authority began trying to complete the W&OD trail by asking the Loudoun government to amend its Rural Land Management Plan to indicate that the extension might be built from Purcellville to the Clarke County line, west of Bluemont.
That request received unanimous approval from the Planning Commission on Oct. 24 and has been forwarded to the county Board of Supervisors. In addition, the Park Authority must submit detailed plans and receive a commission permit -- similar to a permit issued to a public utility -- along with any other permits required by the Loudoun zoning administrator, county officials said.
Park Authority officials first must decide where they want the trail extension to go. The linear park follows the right of way of the defunct Washington & Old Dominion Railway between Shirlington, near Interstate 395, and Purcellville. But the portion of the train line's old path that is west of Purcellville is privately owned and probably unavailable for the trail extension, park officials said.
The agency said it may try to find a new path through the rolling hills or, more likely, it may try to persuade the Virginia Department of Transportation to let it use part of the right of way along Route 7, which connects Purcellville and Bluemont.
The Park Authority has budgeted about $168,000 to acquire land and has pegged roughly $300,000 to build the extension over several years.
The agency hopes to extend the paved trail from its current terminus in the center of Purcellville through the village of Bluemont and to the top of the Blue Ridge at Route 601. Winslow said a short unpaved footpath would extend from that point to the Appalachian Trail
It's not clear what happened but obviously the W&OD was never extended. Still, there is reason to keep hope alive. The extension made it into Loudoun County's 2003 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan and Virginia's 2007 Outoors Plan was mentioned as recently as 2012 by the County's Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Board .

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Trail Event, Sunday, August 23

Sunday August 23rd Reston Century Event from 6:30 AM to 5 PM. Approximately 1200 riders start at Reston Town Center. The portion of the W&OD used for this event is from Grace Street in Herndon to Ashburn Road (westbound leg) and returning from Leesburg to Reston Town Center via trail in its entirety (eastbound leg). 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The W&OD trail was noted as 1 of 7 great urban escapes by National Geographic.  See

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Trail Event- Sunday, June 28th

Woman's Run
Sunday, 28 June 2015
08:00 AM to 10:00 AM

Womens’ Run will be using the trail between the Reston Y and Herndon.  There is a possibility of up to 400 participants

Friday, June 26, 2015

Trail Events July 4 & 5

1. On July 4th, PVTC will have a foot race in Vienna.  Expect people on trail, Vienna heading west towards Hunter Mill Road and back between approx 7:30 and 9:00 a.m. Caboose area is start/finish/gather point.

2. There will be a brief (approx 1 hour, approx 1 mile) trail closure on the morning of July 5 in Reston because of the World Police Games half marathon.  Event starting 8 a.m. No detour!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ashburn Bicyclist Injured In W&OD Trail Crash Dies

"A bicyclist who was seriously injured while riding on the WO&D Trail last week died Monday, June 15. William S. Dudgeon, of Ashburn, was 55.  According to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, he was traveling on his bike at about 4:30 p.m. on June 9 when he attempted to pass a juvenile on the W&OD Trail just west of Ashburn Village Boulevard.  At that time the juvenile attempted to take a side path, and the juvenile’s bike clipped Dudgeon's bike, causing him to fall. Dudgeon was wearing a helmet.  He was airlifted to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he died Monday. The younger bicyclist was not injured."



"Last year, we wrote about a woman who drove her car on the W&OD trail, hitting a cyclist and sending other trail users diving into the bushes for safety.  Click here to read the full post.
At the time the driver was charged with driving while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run.
We have just learned that the driver reached a deal with Fairfax County prosecutors and avoided the felony charge.  She pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and hit-and-run, and was sentenced to six months in prison.

Disappointing Outcome

Is six months in prison and a misdemeanor charge really the appropriate punishment for a woman who drives her car at speeds close to 50 mph for close to 5 miles on a trail designed for and used by bikers, walkers, strollers, rollerbladers, etc.?
The driver, who was drinking before getting behind the wheel, endangered the lives of many trail users, and raised fear in the local community about the safety of the trail.
According to Herndon injury lawyer Doug Landau, the outcome is disappointing.  Not only does the woman in this particular case get off somewhat easily with a misdemeanor charge, the message is sent that driving while intoxicated and causing injury is not serious enough to warrant felony charges."

Monday, May 4, 2015

Trail Event-Sunday, June 7th

The American Diabetes Association's Northern Virginia Tour de Cure ( will be held on June 7th beginning and ending at the Reston Town Center.  The charity ride hopes to once again have 1200 participants take part.

The segmented portions of our routes that are on the W&OD trail between Vienna and Purcellville will be especially busy.  Times range from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.