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New Area Park Great for Railfans to be Dedicated Nov. 5

posted Oct 27, 2011, 6:58 AM by James Lilly   [ updated Oct 27, 2011, 7:59 AM ]
Arlington county officials have extended an invitation to railfans to attend the opening ceremony of their new Long Bridge Park on Saturday, November 5, at 11:00 a.m. Speakers will include County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman, County Manager Barbara Donnellan, Parks and Recreation Director Dinesh Tiwari, Long Bridge Advisory Committee Member Toby Smith, and Marymount University President Dr. Matthew Shank. Other event elements will include soccer games and other fitness-related activities, a nature walk, Parks-led tours of the new park, free giveaways, and more.

The park has substantial railroad history, not the least of which is its name, a reference to the railroad bridge over the Potomac connecting Washington with Northern Virginia. The property was once called "South Washington," a railroad location that included industries such as Solite. Just to the north is a 4-acre plot where the Twin Bridges Marriott (1957-1990) once stood (the Marriott company's first hotel), which the county also owns and will develop in a Phase II expansion of the park. The location marks the northern extreme of the RF&P at RO tower (CFP110), where the Rosslyn Branch of the PRR once turned west on a routing that passed the Pentagon and terminated in a small yard in old Rosslyn.

On the east side of the park they designed a walkway with waist-high railing about 15 feet above track level and running several hundred yards along the railroad, affording largely-unobstructed views that are particularly photogenic in afternoon light. From this high walkway one can also watch water birds taking off and landing at the pond across the tracks, as well as aircraft doing the same thing at National Airport.

To reach Long Bridge Park, follow US1 north to Crystal City (just north of Potomac Yard), take the 15th Street exit, immediately turn left onto the service road, then drive straight ahead to Old Jefferson Davis Highway-which currently is quite rough but should be resurfaced soon. Follow Old Jefferson Davis Hwy to the park entrance.
Thanks to John Fuller for sharing this information.