The Washington and Old Dominion Trail (commonly known as the WO&D) is a paved trail that passes through numerous communities in Northern Virginia. Also known as the ‘skinniest park in Virginia’ it runs from the Shirlington community in Arlington, and it runs through the western edge of Arlington before passing through Falls Church and entering into northern Fairfax County. It enters into Loudoun County continuing west passing through Leesburg, and it continues to the town of Purcellville where it comes to an end. It is a common trail to find bikers and joggers, but before it became a trail, it was a major railroad line.
The line was built in 1855, and it survived total disruption during the Civil War. Freight trains ran from the shipyard in Alexandria to the towns of Falls Church, Vienna, Leesburg, Purcellville, and ending in Bluemont. Passenger trains also brought people along the route. Spur lines served the communities of Great Falls, Rosslyn, and Georgetown. The line changed its name numerous times before it became the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad. In 1956, the line was bought by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, but the line still operated as the Washington and Old Dominion. During this time, many spur lines were abandoned. Service on the main continued between Alexandria and Purcellville until 1968 when all service ceased, and the tracks were eventually taken up.
Today, it is a 45 mile paved trail for bikers and joggers. As you go along this trail, many of the railroad sites remain including numerous train stations and old bridges. You can learn more at http://www.nvrpa.org/park/w_od_railroad.