You are driving around in the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C. You come upon this town known as Herndon. It is a town like any other town. It has houses. It has stores and shopping centers. It has a town center with a city hall. Then you see what looks like an old train station.
A train station? There are no railroads in Herndon.
Today, you will not find any railroads in Herndon, but that was not always the case. Yes, you did see an old train station in Herndon. In matter of fact, it is in its original location. Where are the trains? The tracks were taken up in 1968, and the right-of-way is now a rail trail. The truth is that the town of Herndon owes its existence to the railroad. When the railroad came to the region, the town of Herndon was established. Surrounded by farms, the depot was a place where local farmer brought their goods to be shipped by the railroad to places like Washington D.C. and the ports of Alexandria, Virginia. Sadly, the railroad began to lose money. Train service ceased in 1968. The tracks are now gone, but the depot remained as a reminder of the town’s railroad heritage.
Is it just sitting there to deteriorate like other train depots?
The answer is no. It was restored, and it houses a museum that is open every Sunday from 12:00pm to 3:00pm that tells the story of the town, and it is also the home of the Herndon Historical Society. You can also walk to an old caboose that is open on certain occasions. If you have a little time, you can walk the Washington and Old Dominion Trail and get a feel of the railroad that once ran along this route.
The next time you are driving through Herndon, Virginia, take a trip by the old depot. Go back in the days of the railroad. Remember the trains that once stopped in a town called Herndon.