Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park

Posted by on Feb 6, 2013 in Blog, Newsletter | 3 comments

Washington & Old Dominion Caboose, Centennial Park, Vienna, Virginia

Washington & Old Dominion Caboose, Centennial Park, Vienna, Virginia

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

The Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park is a popular and unusually-shaped regional park in Northern Virginia. The park’s primary feature is the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Trail (abbreviated as W&OD Trail), an asphalt-surfaced paved rail trail that runs through urban and suburban communities as well as rural areas.  Most of the trail travels on top of the rail bed of the former Washington and Old Dominion Railroad, which closed in 1968.

Although the park is almost 45 miles long, it is only about 100 feet wide. It has been called “the skinniest park in Virginia.”  The rail trail is approximately 10 feet wide through much of its length and is used mainly for cycling and other exercise. A crushed bluestone surfaced bridle path travels near the paved trail in the park’s most westerly 32 miles.  The Trail begins in the Shirlington section of Arlington County, close to the boundary between the County and the City of Alexandria. The trail ends in Purcellville in western Loudoun County. Its route largely parallels the routes of the Potomac River and Virginia State Route 7.

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) administers and maintains the park and its trails. NVRPA keeps most of the parkland surrounding the trails in a natural state. The park authority has placed alongside the paved trail a series of mile markers and a number of interpretative exhibits that describe the historic and natural features of the park

Washington & Old Dominion Caboose, Centennial Park, Vienna, Virginia

Washington & Old Dominion Caboose, Centennial Park, Vienna, Virginia

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

The Norfolk Southern Railway and its predecessors have donated three cabooses for display along the W&OD Trail.  While none of these resemble the cabooses that once traveled along the route of the W&OD Railroad, two of the three cars house exhibits of materials relating to the W&OD Railroad and Trail.

The cupola caboose seen in the two images above is located near the Trail in Vienna Centennial Park.  It contains a museum that houses materials that the W&OD Railroad once used.  Staffed by members of the Optimist Club of Greater Vienna, bearing on its sides the name “WASHINGTON & OLD DOMINION” and numbered 503, the caboose is open to the public during the afternoons on selected weekends and holidays.

Click here to learn more about the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad

Both of these images are hand-held 5-shot HDR brackets which have been merged together using HDR Pro in Photoshop.  This, I have found, is the best HDR software for removing ghosting.  I have had these shots for a while but have never been able to produce anything usable due to the ghosting.  The resulting 32 bit image was then re-imported to Lightroom (the 32-bit image has to be saved as a Tif file, so edit your preferences in Lightroom before you start the merge to HDR Pro).  I used the Develop Module in Lightroom to enhance the 32-bit Tif file by adjusting contrast and the luminosity of the sky.  Finally, I used the Tonal Contrast and Grunge Goddess presets in Perfect Effect 7 to produce the final images.


  1. Nice location and nice images. Thanks for the backstory as well!
    Jim Howe recently posted..BenchMy Profile

  2. Very interesting story. Nicely done.
    Edith Levy recently posted..PHOTOGRAPH – Issue 2 Is Out – A Quarterly Magazine from Craft & VisionMy Profile

  3. What a great park, and 45 miles, wow, very cool, great post
    Mike Criswell recently posted..Just a Drop in the BucketMy Profile

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