the South Side Railroad competed with the James River and Kanawha Canal, connecting Lynchburg with the James River port of Petersburg
Source: Library of Congress, A map of the internal improvements of Virginia (Claudius Crozet, 1848)
The South Side Railroad connected Petersburg to Lynchburg in 1854. The railroad's western terminus was on Percival's Island in the James River. A bridge on the western end of the island linked to the Virginia and Tennesee Railroad.
The railroad connected Petersburg to the James River by purchasing the Appomattox Railroad Company from the City of Petersburg in 1854. That nine-mile railroad had started as the City Point Railroad Company.
After the Civil War, the railroads struggled to get funding to rebuild their infrastructure. Freight and passenger traffic was low, generating little revenue. The Virginia & Tennessee, Southside, and the Norfolk & Petersburg merged into the Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio Railroad. In 1881 it became part of the Norfolk and Western Railroad, which in 1982 became part of today's Norfolk Southern.
The Percival Island railyard was abandoned in the mid-1990's and donated to the City of Lynchburg, which converted the old South Side property into a pedestrial trail and park along the waterfront.1