When you think of Fredericksburg, Virginia, you think of the halfway point between Washington D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. You think of the boyhood home of George Washington. Then you have the Civil War numerous battlefields that surround the city. You then have the many historic homes to include Belmont, the home of Gari Belcher, and the Kenmore House. You have all of this, but there is also a little railroad museum that is also in Fredericksburg.
Welcome to the Rappahannock Railroad Museum. You arrive, and you say to yourself, “What can be here? All I see is a few boxcars and cabooses.”
Ladies and gentlemen, that is the outside. You must now go inside. You can start with Baggage Car 9325 from the Pennsylvania Railroad. You walk in and see artifacts from the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad which once ran between Washington D.C. and Richmond, Virginia and had a hub in Fredericksburg. You then have a small model train display, and then you go through two cabooses: the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Caboose 905 and the Norfolk and Western Caboose 518620. Now you think that you have seen everything, but now… there is more. Besides, what is going to a railroad museum without riding a train? Yes, you can take a forty five minute train ride on ‘The Little Yellow Train’, a maintenance train, along the spur line that feeds the tracks at the museum.
You take a seat, and the Little Yellow Train leaves the museum. You go across the first railroad crossing. You continue along until, yes, you arrive at the crossing at Virginia Route 2 where, oh yeah, you get to watch the flashing red lights and watch the crossing gates go down. You wave to the people as you cross Route 2, and you continue on until you reach the main line of which, unfortunately, is where the journey must end. Here, you can see the main line that was once part of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad. Today, it is run by CSX, and, if you are fortunate enough, you can watch a freight train or Amtrak Train go by. You stay here a short while before you go back to the museum. When you get off the train, you say to yourself, “This really is such a special place.”
The Rappahannock Railroad Museum is dedicated to the preservation of railroad history in the Fredericksburg area. Sadly, the museum is only open from 9:00am to 12:00noon of Saturdays. Admission is free, but they will gladly accept any donation that you generously give to assist them in the preservation. The museum is located south of downtown Fredericksburg at 11700 Main Street in the Spotsylvania County Business Park just off Virginia Route 2 between Virginia Route 3 and U.S. 17. Go to www.rrmuseum.org for directions and more information.
So, if you are ever in Fredericksburg, take the time to take in its history. Take the time to visit the sites. Most important, take the time to ride ‘The Little Yellow Train’.