N&W J Class #611 on James R. Trestle 9/6/82
Last trip of N&W 611 inaugural return to steam weekend, Labor Day, 1982, enroute to Alexandria, VA from Roanoke, VA.
Photo taken by Paul Woodring
BH Photo #250688
History: This span and three others were built in the early 1900's as part of the Southern Railway's (now Norfolk Southern) "Lynchburg cut-off" project, which bypassed the original line of the railroad through downtown Lynchburg, with its tight curves and steep grades. Information I have gathered by perusing the microfilm archives of the local paper says that the contracts for the cut-off were let on April 2, 1906. The line opened for freight traffic on March 1, 1911, and passenger traffic followed on April 16, 1911. The span was built with double-track. The Southern single-tracked the trestle about 1962. This span has been the sight of several pedestrian (the RR calls them trespassers) fatalities over the years, the most recent being November 17, 2011.
In addition to this massive, iconic structure, (1860 ft. long and 150 ft. high) the other three trestles on the seven-mile-long cut-off are Harris Creek trestle, to the north of the James, and Blackwater Creek and Fishing Creek trestles to the south.