On October 16th, I had the rare pleasure to take a trip on the “Little Yellow Train” on a foliage ride. Operated by the Rappahannock Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society (NRHS), the Little Yellow Train is a combination of three maintenance cars linked with two small engines. The original role of these cars were to transport rail workers when tracks were being laid but now transport visitors on short trips to enjoy the beauty of the season by rail. The pieces of rolling stock are:
Engine: Chesapeake & Ohio Motor Car built by Fairmont Railway Motors, Inc.
Engine: Richmond Fredericksburg & Potomac Motor Car built by Northwestern Railroad Company
Car: Baltimore & Ohio PCT-501
Car: Tool Car formerly operated by the Spotsylvania County Industrial Park
The leaves hadn’t quite started to turn to enjoy the colors of the season, but that didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the ride on the rails. The trip started with the RF&P Motor Car pulling the train down the tracks. Listening to the rhythm of the track as we chugged along through the trees was a real treat. As we reached the midpoint of the trip, the hosts stopped the train to describe the role these little trains served over the decades as well as some history of the region during the Civil War.
Once the host concluded his remarks, the C&O Motor Car took over, taking us back down the track we just traveled. On both legs of the trek, we had to cross the road. With this being a small private train, the crossing gates had to be activated manually. This required the train to come to a complete stop, make the transit across the street, and stop again so the engineer could get back on board.
If you ever happen to find yourself in Fredericksburg, VA, take a moment to visit the Rappahannock Chapter of the NHRS. In addition to their Little Yellow Train, they also have a small collection of other pieces of rolling stock (including four pieces linked together as a museum).