Virginia Museum of Transportation begins restoring tracks in Wasena Park

Museum plans to move train cars on the tracks by this fall

ROANOKE, Va. – The Virginia Museum of Transportation started reviving a piece of Roanoke’s rail history Sunday afternoon.

Volunteers began clearing a stretch of track in Wasena Park, known as the beltline, of plants and debris. The museum plans to run rail cars along the line this August.

“We’re in Roanoke, which is the center of so much railroad history,” said volunteer Christine Williams. “Because of that, we really want to offer something on the rails. It’s so important to keep the knowledge passed down from one generation to another.”

Volunteers begin clearing an abandoned rail track at Wasena Park in Roanoke. (Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

The beltline is owned by the museum and is where the museum first started in 1963. It moved to its current location following the Flood of 1985.

“I’m a lover of railroad history, and I thought I’d come out to give the beltline a chance to come alive again someday,” said volunteer Paul Van Hoose. “A lot of work is going to be needed, I’m afraid, but we might as well start somewhere. This is the first step in a long journey.”

The museum plans to return to Wasena Park at least once a month to work on the track. They are still in need of volunteers to help; you can sign up at this link.