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First to Cross High Bridge Winner Announced

The iconic attraction for High Bridge Trail State Park is 2,422 foot long and 125 foot high bridge known as High Bridge. The bridge has been undergoing rehabilitation to transform the former railroad bridge into part of the new rail to trail state park.

Bridge Rehabilitation is almost complete.

The iconic attraction for High Bridge Trail State Park is the 2,422 foot long and 125 foot high bridge

Hey we're really high up!

Ken Woodley, from the Farmville Herald, takes at look the Appomattox River 125 feet below the bridge

You can see the old brick piers at an overlook on the bridge.

The bridge has been undergoing rehabilitation to transform the former railroad bridge into part of the new rail to trail state park

On Sunday, March 11, 2012, the Friends of High Bridge Trail and members of the community gathered for a special occasion that marked the end of a year- long contest to see who would be the first to cross High Bridge. During this event, a winner was drawn from thousands of entries. The lucky winner, Rod Vance and his wife will be the first official park visitors to cross the newly transformed High Bridge.

The lucky winner Rod Vance gathers with park staff and Friends members.

Left to right: Eric Hougland, park manager, David Buckalew, member of Friends of High Bridge Trail State Park, Francis Wood from local radio station WFLO, the lucky winner, Rod Vance and Friends member Jo Smith.

The proceeds from the “First to Cross” contest will help with the purchase of negatives of photographs taken by Willis W. Vail.  Mr. Vail was the resident engineer for the 1914 steel viaduct project. He documented and photographed the construction as it progressed. Forgotten photos, consisting of 120 4” x 5” glass negatives, were stored away until recently discovered and acquired for High Bridge Trail State Park.

Also during this event, the Blue Ridge Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society presented a $250 donation to the Friends of High Bridge Trail State Park to go toward the purchase of the negatives. Early this year, park education specialist Bob Flippen, gave a presentation to the historical society on the long lost views and excerpts from Vail’s journal that gave insight into the progress of the construction and those involved with the 15-month project.

Rick Johnson and Bob Flippen

Rick Johnson from the Blue Ridge Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society presented a $250 donation to the Friends of High Bridge Trail State Park to go toward the purchase of the negatives.

The “First to Cross” High Bridge “ceremonial walk” will take place in early April. The bridge will be open for public use following the ceremony. We'll let you know the exact date as soon as it is available!

Funds to support the Friends of High Bridge Trail are also being generated by the sale of railroad spikes which were saved from the rail bed and the bridge. These are available at Virginia Heartland Regional Visitor Center and Transportation Museum on the corner of South and Third Streets, one block east of Main Street in Farmville, VA.

High Bridge Trail State Park is a rail to trail conversion and is ideally suited for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. The park may be contacted at 434-315-0457 or by email. The Friends of High Bridge Trail is a non-profit citizen support organization supporting High Bridge Trail through volunteer efforts, advocacy and fundraising. The Friends may be contacted by email.

High Bridge Trail is 31 miles long and runs through Cumberland, Nottoway and Prince Edward counties and the towns of Burkeville, Farmville, Pamplin City, Prospect and Rice.

Entrances - Parking availability:

  • Rice's Depot Road, 1/4-mile off U.S. 460 at Rice, near trail milepost 142
  • River Road, three miles off N. Main St. in Farmville, near trail milepost 146
  • Osborne Road, 1/4-mile off N. Main St. in Farmville, near trail milepost 149
  • Municipal lots in Farmville where the trail intersects with Main St. near trail milepost 150
  • Tuggle Road, off U.S. 460 and near U.S. 15 North, near trail milepost 156
  • Prospect Road, off U.S. 460 at Prospect, near trail milepost 161
  • Elam, off U.S. 460 at Sulpher Spring Rd., near trail milepost 164
  • Heights School Rd., of U.S. Business 460 near Pamplin, near trail milepost 168


Published: 03/28/2012


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