Goose Creek Railroad
The history of the Goose Creek Railroad began on March 9, 1989. On this day, Wiley and Mary Alice Helton purchased a 2-foot gage trolley car from Robert Hankla. In the following 3 years, a railroad was built on their property near the Wallace community of Bristol, Virginia. Once all of the available rail had been laid, Wiley began into the next phase of the railroad: Building a complete train. The first peice of equipment to be built was the flatcar which eventually had seats installed to become the excursion car. Then in 1993-94, Wiley built GCRR's first locomotive. Finally, the caboose was built in 1994 and 95.
The next phase for the railroad was the completion of the loop. From the Spring 1995 until September 1998, track construction consumed the crew's time. A wye was completed in the fall of 1995 and a passing siding was built in 1996. Over 470 feet of track was built in 1997. Then on September 26, 1998, the golden spike was driven to complete GCRR's loop of track.
During the construction of the loop, a passing siding was built at the location of a future depot. In August 1999, construction began on the depot. The 14 ft X 24 ft is not a replica of any particular railroad station, but it is similar to the thousands of small town depots built across the USA. The depot was completed in May 2001. In August 2001, construction began on a 40 ft X 50 ft museum barn to house GCRR's expanding collection of antique tractors and railroadiana. The barn was completed in 2002.
In 2003, GCRR built a generator car to provide reliable power to the trolley's electric motor. Also in 2003, GCRR obtained its first commerially built equipment. A side dump car was obtained in September from the Tuckahoe Valley Railroad in Pennsylvania and restored in October and November. A bottom dump car body was also aquired in September 2003 from the Bucksgahuda and Western RR in Pennsylvania. Rebuilding of this car was completed in June 2004.
In 2005, two more side dump cars were acquired from the Tuckahoe Valley Railroad and were restored in Summer 2006. In September 2006, GCRR acquired Tuckahoe Valley's gas-mechanical locomotive #93. This locomotive was built in Colebrook, NH by Peter Lear for his Mohawk Valley RR and was obtained by TVRR in 1993/94. Unfortunately, by the time GCRR acquired the locomotive, the engine was locked up and required a total rebuild.
Our last peice of equipment, is our Work Car #17. This car was built by Ed Ducay near Chicago. We acquired the car from Tuckahoe Valley in October 2006.
Today, the railroad currently operates 12 pieces of 2-foot gage equipment over a 2000 ft. railroad line. The line is built with 12, 16, 20, 25, and 30 pound rail (meaning weight per yard). There are currently 7 spring-loaded switches which were custom built, in place, by Wiley Helton. Two switches serve the storage sidings, three serve the main line wye, and two serve the depot siding. The railroad has three primary buildings: Caboose building for storage, museum barn and a Depot.
Pictures of all GCRR equipment and buildings can be found on the PHOTOS page.