Burke, Virginia, a suburb of Washington D.C., is a town named for Silas Burke, a man who donated his land to make way for the railroad. The town once had its own depot on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad line, and it was the site of a raid during the American Civil War. Sadly, the depot did not survive demolition, and neither did the town although some of the town structures did survive to include the home of Silas Burke, the post office and a windmill that are now part of a senior complex. Although the railroad still passes through it is only a commuter train stop.
When you pass through Burke today, you will not see much of its railroad heritage on display. If you make a visit to Burke Lake Park, you will see the railroad with a new life.
Welcome to the Burke Lake Railroad, a miniature railroad with a replica C.P. Huntington locomotive that takes you back to the old days of Burke.
You arrive at the Burke Lake Railroad Station to buy your ticket. You board the train. Everything looks normal here. The train pulls away. You roll through the trees seeing Burke Lake on your right. You then arrive at the tunnel and pass through…
You come out the other end. Wait a minute. You a crossing a trestle. You continue until… wait. You see Burke Station. You realize that you are in the original town with the depot and the old windmill. You just went back in time. You pass by the town. You go through the loop and make another pass through the town. You cross the trestle and go through the tunnel.
Now you are back to the present time. You return to the Burke Lake Railroad Station, and you go back to normal life. As you step off the train, you say to yourself, “This is not your average miniature train.”
The Burke Lake Railroad is in Burke Lake Park in Fairfax Station, Virginia. The park is located on Virginia Route 123 (7315 Ox Road) between Fairfax and Occoquan (I-66 and I-95). There is a $5.00 park admission fee per vehicle for those not in the Northern Virginia region while Northern Virginia residents are free. Train tickets are $4.00 for adults. Trains run from April to September. You can get information at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/burke-lake/rides.