Clifton Forge, Virginia, is a small town in the western part of Virginia surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains. It is served by Interstate 64 and U.S. Route 220. To most people, it is not much of a town. However, it was a major town on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, and it is the home of the Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Society, and it is where you will find the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Heritage Center.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Heritage Center is a museum that displays the history of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and how it was a major contributor to the growth of the nation, and it is a tribute to the people who built and worked on the railroad. The Heritage Center features the old Clifton Forge depot which houses the gift shop and the visitor center and restrooms. There is also and old switch tower and an old freight house that houses the Henry Hoffman Heritage Center. The freight house displays model trains showing the areas served by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway to includes models of train depots along the line. There are also many artifacts and miniature locomotives of the railroad. On the outside you can see the ‘Greenbrier’ steam locomotive, and you can climb into a passenger car, dining car and sleeping car. There are also a few cabooses and an outdoor miniature train. There is much to see here, and if you are fortunate enough, you may see a passing train on the active main line.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Heritage Center is located at 705 Main Street (Business U.S. 220) in Clifton Forge, Virginia) just minutes from Interstate 64. It is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm between March 1 to December 31. (It is closed in January and February.) There is parking on site. You can learn more about the museum and about the history of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad at http://cohs.org/heritage/.
The next time you hear about the town of Clifton Forge, Virginia, think about a small town that made a big contribution to the railroad.