In the early days of Goshen the best transportation was by railroad passenger service. Those who could afford it traveled to the mountains each summer to escape the heat and to visit the various ‘healing springs’ in the area, Cold Sulphur Springs, Warm Springs, Hot Springs and others. Most of the springs in the area had one or more hotels associated with them.
Passenger service to Goshen, which began in 1856, served several large inns, including the Alleghany Hotel built in 1891 by a group of investors who called themselves the Goshen Land and Improvement Company. Designed by the famous architect Stanford White, the 114-room hotel stood on the hill opposite the Hummingbird Inn. The Alleghany Hotel was at the time the premiere destination in our mountain area, surpassing even the Homestead at that time. Unfortunately, it burned on Thanksgiving Day, 1923.
With the coming of the automobile, many of these mountain resorts lost their primary clientele. Improved highway systems allowed personal vehicles to become the predominant method of transportation. Passenger service to Goshen ended and the passenger depot is now history.
The CSX railroad uses the line, recently leased by the Buckingham Branch Railway Company. The line, formerly the Chesapeake and Ohio, runs through Goshen and close to the Hummingbird Inn, the inn itself being named after an old passenger train, the Hummingbird Limited.
The Cardinal, Amtrak’s Washington to Chicago run, passes by three days each week (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday). Freight trains come through on an irregular schedule. Most of our guests enjoy the trains, a nostalgic reminder of years gone by – and some even stay here for the trains.
“Hummin’ O’er the Cumberland”, a painting by Jim Jordan of the Hummingbird Limited crossing the Cumberland River Drawbridge in Nashville, Tennessee. See more of Jim’s work and order prints (rail art, as well as Harley-Davidson and Corvette art) at www.jordanart.com. Reproduced here with permission of the artist.
Train afficionados may want to make a day trip to Roanoke to visit the O. Winston Link Museum, which documents the end of the steam locomotive era on the Norfolk and Western Railway. Housed in the former passenger station, it’s well worth a visit, and is close to the Virginia Museum of Transportation, where you’ll see more train memorabilia.