The iconic caboose in Downtown Herndon next to Herndon’s Railroad Depot and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail is getting a facelift.
Earlier this month, crews began working on repairing the exterior structure of the caboose. The project is expected to wrap up some time next month, according to the Town of Herndon’s Department of Public Works.
According to town staff, the caboose developed surface rust and paint began chipping off of the exterior, prompting the need for the project.
“The project involves the removal of the rust, repainting of the exterior surfaces including the undercarriage, and restoration painting of the W&OD seal and associated lettering on the caboose,” the town wrote in a statement to FFXnow.
The caboose was brought to the Town of Herndon in 1989 after the Herndon Historical Society expressed interested in securing a caboose for the Herndon depot.
The all-steel caboose, which weights 45,300 pounds and is roughly 37 feet long is base don a design used on U.S. railroads after World War II.
The latest work on the caboose is being completed by The Matthews Group, Inc. under the supervision of the town’s Department of Public Works.
Photo via NOVA Parks/Twitter
Local police have arrested a Herndon man in connection with a series of indecent exposure incidents near the Washington & Old Dominion Trail in Reston and Herndon.
Fairfax County police arrested and charged Juan Alfaro Rodriguez, 42, with five counts of indecent exposure. Rodriguez was arrested on Thursday for warrants from another state.
Detectives believe the suspect was involved with at least 13 cases in Fairfax County and eight incidents in the Town of Herndon. The arrest was made after collaboration between the Herndon Police Department and FCPD.
Rodriguez lived in the Town of Herndon since January, according to FCPD Lieutenant Ryan Lazisky, assistant commander of the violent crimes division. He had an outstanding warrant for attempted rape in New York.
Detective continue to investigate if Rodriguez is linked to other cases.
“We believe there is information out there that could lead us to additional charges,” Lazisky said at a press conference today (Monday).
FCPD received a tip from the U.S. Marshalls last week. The department’s fugitive team acted promptly to arrest Rodriguez, who was attempting to flee the state.
Photo via FCPD
The Fairfax County Police Department is seeking the public’s help to identify a man in a photo who may be involved in multiple grabbings, assaults, and an attempted abduction over the last few weeks on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.
In the latest incident last night (Tuesday), a man attempted to grab a teenage girl as she was walking on the 1800 block of Old Reston Avenue at around 8:10 p.m. The attempted abduction comes just a week after a naked man grabbed a woman last week and where other indecent exposures took place.
At a press conference today (Wednesday), FCPD Sgt. Tara Gerhard said the man may be connected to an unidentified number of incidents throughout the month. The police department is working through other cases to determine if the suspect may be linked to other cases.
“As a mother, as a woman and as a member of the community, I am just as concerned,” Gerhard told members of the media.
Detectives continue to investigate the series of indecent exposures & assaults on the WO&D Trail. The man below is a suspect in the incident that occurred last Friday in Herndon & believed to be related to the other cases. Call 703-691-2131 w/info. https://t.co/1TZN6TedK7 pic.twitter.com/Q9ZABWYC3e
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) August 31, 2022
The suspect is described as a Hispanic man, roughly 5 feet and 11 inches in height, with an athletic build. He was wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt and black shorts in last night’s Old Reston Avenue incident.
Police officers canvassed the area last night and today. FCPD is also working with neighboring jurisdictions.
Gerhard urged community members to provide any information they can — including surveillance footage or any details about the suspect in photo pulled from surveillance video by a Town of Herndon resident.
Here’s how to provide information to FCPD:
Anyone with information about this case can contact detectives at 703-246-7800, option 3. Community members residing in the area are asked to review home surveillance for any suspicious activity. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone — 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), and by web – Click HERE. Download the ‘P3 Tips’ App and follow the steps to “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers”. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars. Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to follow up with you.
A naked man grabbed a woman at the Washington & Old Dominion Trail between Town Center Parkway and the Fairfax County Parkway in Reston on Friday (Aug. 26), according to the Fairfax County Police Department.
The suspect may be connected to other indecent exposure incidents in the area, police say. Later that day, police officers in the Town of Herndon investigated an indecent exposure on the trail near Ferndale Avenue.
County police say that, around 8:12 a.m., a man approached the woman from behind and grabbed her around the waist near mile marker 18.5. The woman was able to break free.
Police were unable to catch the suspect, who ran off without pants. They describe the suspect as white or Hispanic, between 5’5”and 5’8”, and between 30 and 40 years old. He has athletic build and was wearing a dark-colored head band and a yellow exercise vest.
Police believe the same man may also have exposed himself between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Aug. 3, 15, and 18 on the trail near Fairfax County Parkway.
Here’s more from FCPD on how to provide information about this and other incidents:
Anyone with information about this case can contact detectives at 703-246-7800, option 3. Community members residing in the area are asked to review home surveillance for any suspicious activity. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), and by web – Click HERE. Download the ‘P3 Tips’ App and follow the steps to “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers”. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars. Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to follow up with you.
INCIDENT ALERT (2/2): …as investigators work to determine if this incident is connected to another incident that took place in Fairfax County earlier today. If you have any information, please call 703-435-6846. pic.twitter.com/TqyMxZ3jwi
— Herndon Police (@HerndonPolice) August 26, 2022
Within the next decade, Fairfax County could see pedestrians and bicyclists split up along its stretch of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, among other potential changes at its regional parks.
In a new, five-year strategic plan released last Tuesday (Aug. 9), the Northern Virginia Regional Parks Authority (NOVA Parks) proposes expanding the “dual trail” design introduced last year in Falls Church to other segments of the 45-mile, cross-county park.
The agency is targeting more urban areas — specifically Vienna, Herndon and Reston, and Arlington — for the expansion, which would turn the one-track W&OD Trail into two separate paths for cyclists and users on foot.
“This kind of improvement expands the capacity of the trail so that cyclists and walkers can have a safer and more enjoyable experience,” NOVA Parks communications director Kelly Gilfillen said by email.
According to the 2023-2027 strategic plan, which lays out its near-future vision and priorities for the 12,000-plus acres of parkland it oversees, NOVA Parks will partner with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to design and implement the dual trails.
While the plan calls for developing plans for Arlington County Dual Trails by 2024, it sets a goal of 2027 for designing the Vienna and Reston/Herndon sections.
“Most of Vienna, Reston, and Herndon are urban, so most of that area would probably be considered,” Gilfillen said. “We do not yet have those details planned. That will be part of our work over the next few years.”
The Fairfax County area is also home to four out of the five parks that the plan highlights for “signature” projects:
- W&OD Trail Visitor Center: likely in Loudoun County, per ARLnow
- Gateway Wetlands Park
- Pohick Bay expanded camping and associated amenities
- Occoquan indoor/outdoor Adventure Center
- Hemlock Facility Update
NOVA Parks hopes to work with Fairfax City to restore the wetlands at Gateway Regional Park, a 1-acre rest stop at the corner of Pickett and Old Pickett roads, by 2024.
“This would be like a very small version of Huntley Meadows Park,” Gilfillen said. “NOVA Parks would restore the wetlands that were once a part of this park, which is adjacent to Accotink Creek. A raised boardwalk would feature interpretive displays for environmental education.” Read More
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NOVA Parks has installed two new signs to shed light on the effect of slavery and segregation in Fairfax County.
A new sign in Herndon Caboose Park explains how Jim Crow laws affected passengers on the Washington & Old Dominion train line in the 1900s. Another sign in Clifton describes the significance of a graveyard for enslaved people near Bull Run Marina.
W&OD Trail users can read about the segregationist laws that regulated the regional passenger train service during the 20th century, according to new research by NOVA Parks.
The new sign will be dedicated by Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay on Saturday (Feb. 26).
“During Black History Month, it’s important to remember the tremendous challenges Black Americans faced in Fairfax, and to celebrate how far we’ve come while acknowledging we still have work to do in overcoming racial inequity,” McKay said. “We’re grateful to NOVA Parks for documenting this part of our shared history.”
The W&OD Trail covers 45 miles from Shirlington to Purcellville on the former roadbed of the train line, which operated from 1857 to 1968.
At the time, trains provided the main form of public transportation, and Virginia law required separation of races in public places.
Passenger service on the train was discontinued in 1941, and the waiting room for Black passengers was converted into an office. When passenger service was reinstated in 1943 during World War II, Black and white passengers shared the same waiting room. This shared arrangement “bothered no one, since it was a small community, and everyone knew everyone else,” according to the book “Herndon: a Town and its History.”
“These signs recognize/acknowledge a painful part of our past, a time when laws were created to treat Blacks unequally,” NAACP Fairfax County President Karen Campblin said. “Although Jim Crow laws have been overturned, it’s important to remember what Black Americans have endured and to make sure that we are all treated with dignity and respect in the future.”
“In order to foster a community that lives up to the vision of Dr. King’s ‘Beloved Community’ we in Fairfax must come to terms fully and honestly with our troubled past,” said Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano.
The new sign in Clifton stands near the likely site of a graveyard. NOVA Parks found five graves in 2020 using ground-penetrating radar. Each grave has a stone at the head and foot on an east-west axis, with the smaller footstone facing east.
“Historians believe the intention of this burial practice, seen in other graveyards of enslaved people, is to orient the bodies towards Africa in anticipation of resurrection and return home,” a NOVA Parks release states.
By the beginning of the Civil War, Virginia had 490,000 enslaved people — more than any other state, according to NOVA Parks. In 1860, there were 3,117 people enslaved in Fairfax County, about 28% of the entire county.
The signs are part of an effort by NOVA Parks to tell stories from Black history and are tied with a new theme in the NOVA Parks 2022-2027 Strategic Plan: Belonging.
The dedication of W&OD Trail sign will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. at Herndon Caboose Park (777 Lynn Street). The dedication of the sign at Bull Run Marina (12619 Old Yates Ford Road, Clifton) is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday.