How Often Does the Train Run in Crozet?

“How often does the train run in Crozet?” is one of the most common questions I hear from buyers who are contemplating moving to Crozet.

When I am working with buyers who are moving to Crozet, my answer is, “the train goes by often enough that we don’t really pay attention to it.” When we moved here several years ago, it probably took us a week or two to get used to the train.

I asked CSX several years ago if they could tell me how often they run, and they told me that they wouldn’t tell me because of security concerns (I’m not a terrorist, by the way).

So, I ask you, RealCrozetVA readers – how often does the train run in Crozet? (feel free to identify the different lines, too)

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20 Replies to “How Often Does the Train Run in Crozet?”

      1. The cargo trains run fairly frequently during the week, sometimes 3-4 times a day. They are almost always westbound and empty coal cars. The passenger trains (Amtrak) run 2-3 times per day. I once saw an eastbound cargo train carrying about ten loaded coal cars, along with a hodgepodge of other non-coal freight. There are no laws in Virginia restricted the movement of coal. It would be better if the cars were covered or, better yet, coal just went away completely.

    1. I once asked, many years ago, a worker near the tracks when trains came through my local town so I could bring my-then-toddler to watch as he absolutely went crazy for trains. He answered me as if I was some sort of terrorist and said that information was privileged. WTF.

      There are smart phone apps that show the location of every airplane above me. I can see all of their schedules, positions, etc. But trains – no. Something other than security is the excuse and it would be nice of the people in charge would at least be honest as to why not publish train schedules.

      I call BS.

      1. If you look at what the freight trains carry and the damage they cause when the crash there is some logic in not publishing freight train schedules.

  1. From an offline commenter:

    I am going to say it runs around 11pm or midnight and then again maybe 5:30/6ish. I could be waaay off base.

    If you find out the exact times from those who live really near the trains please publish – it’d be great to know.

  2. The westbound coal trains (empties) are run as-needed over the Piedmont/Washington/North-Mountain CSX subdivisions (through Charlottesville & Crozet) to take traffic pressure off the James River/Rivanna subdivisions which, due to their gentler grades, also carry the loaded coal trains eastbound.

    Thus, the passage of these empties through Crozet isn’t formally scheduled and is largely dependent upon traffic conditions on CSX’s lines along the James River.

  3. From an email commenter:

    At least twice a night. Once near 11, and at least another time around 3am. Less certain by day, although I have been stopped 3 times in one morning on a bad morning. Initially it woke my child up, but we quickly became used to it. Even when the whistle blows, it is comforting. When it has been halted with the storms, we slept poorly.

    We live right near the the tracks. I have not put some antique furniture together because of the rumbling, but otherwise, I use earthquake goo under items that would otherwise “walk” across short ledges and fall, and periodically I push everything back away from edges on the dressers.

    We love the train!

  4. I’m getting a lot of email comments … here’s another one:

    That soft rumble in the distance…. I love it.

    It makes me feel connected to the community and gives me the sense that life is moving along.

    I had the same blessing (an active train track in hearing distance) when I lived in Reading PA before coming here 3 yrs ago.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to feel the earth move, as I lived in my home, as the train went by, but some don’t mind that either.

  5. It is the same train that runs past Farmington. With that prestigious address, it is fine for it to run through Crozet. I too find the quiet rumble to be very comforting. It is not like living near an airport.

  6. When we first moved in across from the train tracks in Parkside Village, my dogs went crazy the first night when they heard the train, and I thought, “What have we done??” But it took only that one night for them to get used to it. As most folks have said here, we love it. It’s somehow comforting and soothing, and when the boys were littler, it fascinated them.

  7. The trains provide our daily multiple earthquakes: rattling windows, cabinets etc. We live quite a distance from the tracks but for some reason the climb of the heavy freight trains onto the mountain makes the ground vibrate.

  8. I find it runs in the early evening (7ish), about bedtime (1030-11) and in the morning around 7am. Sunday is definitely a high traffic day with the east-bound Amtraks added in.

  9. A train comes through at around 5:15 am most days. I know this not because it wakes me up, but because starting when my now toddler was a baby, she would wake up around 5 most nights, and her younger sister has continued that tradition. I, like some of the others, find the sound comforting. The trains and the twice daily “conversation” of the geese overhead are sounds of home.

  10. It runs through often enough to keep my one year old on his toes and out the door to see it and squeal out his best horn impression. The train is a welcome relief to him at the fussiest of times or to distract as needed. We are forming some sweet memories as he practiced walking and now running to catch a glimpse of and perhaps an extra “toot!” from the engineer (and an occasional wave).

    Obviously, Sunday, Monday and Friday add the Amtraks with their distinctive horns and extra toots but it is hard to catch exactly when everything runs as they rarely seem to be on schedule. A treat for any kid is catching 2 passing at once and the creme de la creme for any of Crozation is to catch a train passing up close at the library!

    I must admit that even though I grew up near the Farmington crossing, opening my windows won’t be welcome this summer with the 4am train. We moved a little closer to the tracks this past summer form the north side of Crozet and I can’t see how we’ll manage with the windows open.

    Also,
    I have memories of putting pennies on the tracks with my friend at the Grassmere crossing after school as it always seemed there was a train passing right around 4pm.

  11. There’s absolutely no fixed scheduling whatsoever to either CSX or BBRR train traffic on the rail line running through Crozet and the amount of traffic on any given day can be highly variable. You could see as few as 1 or 2 on one day and then as many as 8 or 10 the next. If you’re thinking that you hear the rumble and that horn more often in the night than during the day then you are correct. CSX dispatchers tend to route more of their westbound trains at Richmond onto the BBRR line at night because of the lack of maintenance work that tends to impede their progress to Clifton Forge during daylight hours. Other than the occasional helper locomotives sent east from Clifton Forge, you’ll rarely ever see an eastbound movement involving CSX. Most of what you’ll see coming west through Crozet are empty coal trains (loaded coal trains come east through Scottsville via the James river line) but you’ll also see empty grain hoppers headed back west and the occasional lengthy string of molten sulphur tankers. Because the demand for coal is less during summer months there are fewer westbound coal empties in the summer than in fall and winter.
    The BBRR runs their local from Staunton to C’ville anywhere from once a week to as much as every day hauling coal, RR ties, lumber and hoppers of granular plastic. They’re usually eastbound through Crozet in the mid to late afternoon and come back west later in the evening. The east and westbound Amtrak Cardinals run on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. When they’re both running on time they’ll meet either in Ivy or Crozet between 2:15 & 2:45pm. When either CSX or BBRR traffic becomes involved on those days the Amtraks can end up meeting east of C’ville or just east/west of Staunton. Crozet, Ivy and Afton are the most common meeting points for the Amtraks. A few years ago it was announced by Amtrak that plans were in the works to have the Cardinals running seven days a week. This has yet to materialize and doesn’t appear likely to happen in the near future.

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