Presentation April 11 Focuses on History of W&OD Rails to Trails

Presentation April 11 Focuses on History of W&OD Rails to Trails

Author David Guillandeu and railroad historian Paul McCray will give a presentation on the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad, focusing on how it was transformed in a hiking/biking trail.

The presentation – Rails to Trails The History of the W&OD Railroad and Old Vestal’s Gap Road – will take place in the meeting room at the Sterling Library from 6:30 to 8:30 on Wednesday, April 11. The library is at Sterling Plaza, 22330 South Sterling Boulevard, Suite A117 in Sterling.

The presentation, sponsored by the Sterling Foundation Historic, Heritage and Preservation Committee will focus on the railroad and how it helped establish the Sterling community.

Guillaudeu authored “Images of Rail: Washington & Old Dominion Railroad” with a foreword by McCray. The two also co-authored the recently published Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Revisited.

McCray will explain how the railroad came to be established, why there was a station positioned at Guilford, how the town’s agricultural community prospered because of the rail stop and why the railroad line was eventually terminated. Guillaudeu will focus on the specific railroad activity in and around Sterling.

Neil Stern, a local writer and historian, will present the history of Old Vestal’s Gap Road. A section of this historic colonial road sits embedded within the Sterling Park neighborhood. This unique archaeological relic runs through backyards and empty fields, yet most local folks are completely unaware of its existence. Can the surviving remnants of the old road be saved before modern development removes every remaining trace?

McCray served as the park manager of the W&OD Railroad Regional Park from 1985 to 2005. During that time, Paul collected more than 2,000 photographs of the rail line, as well as hundreds of documents and artifacts from the W&OD. Today, he is an unofficial W&OD historian participating at speaking engagements for local history and rail enthusiasts.

For more information, contact Todd Gallant at or visit

Joseph Dill