Vol. 33, No. 1 January / March 2017  Issue Select 
Issue Details
Cover Title: Buchanan Branch
Cover Subtitle: The News is Never Easy: N&W 228 • T.R. Marshall’s Virginian Memories • N&W Signaling 1930–1959, Part 2 • Virginian C-1 Overview
On the Cover: Norfolk Southern job U58 behind GE ES44DC 7710 splits the automatic signals at Wise County, climbing the hill on May 9, 2016. The signal was named for the Wise County Coal Company, which operated a tipple nearby during the days of steam. In this issue Chase Freeman and William J. Stacy take a look at modern-day operations on the Buchanan Branch, including a rundown of all the job symbols, customers served, and train times and frequencies. The 2016 Annual Convention was held in Pikeville, Kentucky, not far from the Buchanan Branch. One feature of the convention was a tour of Sun Coal and Coke’s Jewell Thompson Coke Plant at Vansant, Virginia. The coke is shipped via the Buchanan Branch ultimately to steel mills where it is mixed with iron ore and other elements and heated again in a blast furnace as part of the steel-making process.
Articles In This Issue
The News is Never Easy / N&W 228 - Jeff Wood
  Photo N&W GP35 228 blasts eastbound toward Cincinnati at Port Union, Ohio, on October 29, 1989. (Jeff Wood photo)
  Photo N&W GP35 228 was in blue dress working at Bellevue, Ohio, in March 1967. This was its as-delivered paint scheme. It was from N&W’s second order of GP35s, an order from 1964 that totaled 25 units (215–239), and was later painted in the black scheme with large white “NW” lettering. (Jim Boyd photo, Kevin EuDaly collection)
  Photo On May 9, 1987, 228 was working the tail end of the 1218 excursion train on the wye in Roanoke, Virginia. A flagman is flagging the crossing just to the left out of view as the 228 pulls around the wye. (J.C.Appiarius photo, Kevin EuDaly collection)
T.R Marshalls's Virginian Memories - Tom Marshall
  Photo Virginian EL-C 130 leads the 131 and a Trainmaster at Mullens, West Virginia. T. R. Marshall was on the first run of an EL-C from Elmore to Clark’s Gap. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo My father, T. R. Marshall, was at Kopperston, West Virginia, sitting on a Train Master with engineer Tom Lark on the left and fireman Rodney Davis (with top of head cut off) on the right. This Polaroid photo was taken by Asst. Trainmaster L. C. Stewart
  Photo 2-8-8-0 610 was one of the locomotives that emerged from the “rebuilding” of Virginian’s Triplex — a bizarre locomotive with a 2-8-8-8-4 wheel arrangement. The 610 was liked by yard crews, but disliked by road crews. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo The Triplex was built in 1916 and lasted until 1920, when it was sent back to Baldwin and converted into 2-8-8-0 610 and 2-8-2 410. The boiler couldn’t keep up with the cylinders — thus it couldn’t maintain a continuous speed above about five miles per hour. The 2-8-8-0 was later converted to a 2-8-8-2 with the addition of a trailing truck in 1942. The Virginian’s Triplex was the only Virginian example built. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo T. R. Marshall was on the first trip to Roanoke on an EL-2B — locomotives he referred to as “round-noses.” Brand new EL-2B 126 was photographed at Erie, Pennsylvania. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo This photo shows my dad at Slab Fork, West Virginia, in 1960. The picture was taken by the N&W photographer and appeared in the August 1960 issue of the N&W Magazine.
  Chart This is a scan of Dad’s time book showing the last half of October 1956 with the notation: “First trip this engine ever made” on the third line, indicating he worked the first trip of rectifier no. 130.
  Photo Virginian H-16-44 44 has a single gondola in tow in Roanoke, Virginia, on June 1, 1959, in this nice overall scene. The Virginian began serious dieselization in 1954 with the purchase of six H-16-44s and 19 H-24-66 Train Masters from Fairbanks-Morse, and by 1957 had accumulated 40 H-16-44s and 25 Train Masters. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo T. R. Marshall recalled a trip from Elmore to Page behind the 713 that took an hour and 50 minutes. The 2-8-8-2 Mallet was parked at Princeton, West Virginia, on May 23, 1953. (N&WHS Archives collection)
N&W Signaling, 1930–1959 / Part 2 - Glenn Fisher
  Photo The semaphore signal was the standard for decades leading up to the mid-to-late 1920s, when position light signals began to replace semaphores. This view from December 10, 1929, as the “Roaring Twenties” came to a close, shows a single semaphore on a catenary bridge at Pinhook, Virginia, with the 2513 on loads. Note the semaphore for the other main is four catenary poles back — signals were often spaced apart so crews from opposite directions could see them from as far back as possible. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Class K2a 130 pulls the grade between Coopers and the east end of Elkhorn Tunnel on June 12, 1930. The left semaphore is in the act of dropping as the train shunts the circuit passing under the catenary and signal bridge. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Train order signals had their own meanings, and this one is set for “stop” at the Houston, Virginia, combination station on the Durham District in this undated photograph. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Map N&W Signaling 1930
  Photo Early in the new decade, March 20, 1930, the 469 passes semaphores indicating “proceed” at East Radford, Virginia, with a trainload of pipe from the Lynchburg foundry. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing Signal aspect book from 1930. (Larry Evans collection)
  Drawing This diagram shows the metal casting used for United Switch & Signal’s semaphore. It’s dated April 13, 1909. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing This is a detailed drawing of a semaphore train order signal used at train order offices on the Virginian. Essentially all railroads had a similar device — they could be found across the country at every train order office. The drawing’s original date was September 19, 1939, and it was revised on December 20 that same year. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo A single-arm semaphore gives a clear indication, officially a “proceed” indication, for Time Freight 85 behind a Y4 rolling along New River east of Pembroke, Virginia. The date is May 26, 1930, and position light signals are only just starting to find their way trackside on the N&W. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing This drawing shows the wroughtiron details present on a semaphore signal. The drawing was made obsolete on July 20, 1929. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing These two drawings instruct a signal maintainer on focusing the lenses in a position light signal in order to give train crews the earliest detection of the positions of the lights. Dated July 17, 1934, they are a good indication of the date that the N&W was installing them across the system. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Sidebar N&W Diagrams of Telegraph and Telephone Lines: Bluefield to Williamson These diagrams are dated July 11, 1913, and show how the code lines used for telegraph and telephone service were put in place. The railroad had specific locations for each wire on each crossbar of the code line poles. Also note that specific locations are available for signaling wires. The master drawing is at right. The magnified images below and on the facing page are enlarged from the main drawing, and are keyed to the main drawing by the red number in each drawing’s upper left corner. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo There’s a lot going on in this photograph taken in Roanoke, Virginia, on May 31, 1939. Y5 2107 has loads in tow and the lower quadrant semaphores for its track indicate “proceed” according to the diagram in box 6 on page 21. Finding the right signal in the diagram book included the shapes of the semaphores (pointed, flat, or notched), the colors on the bar, and the color of the light. To the right, newer position light signals are in place for westbound moves. It looks like a beautiful spring day — there are at least 11 pedestrians in view. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo This position light signal indicates “proceed,” on the westbound main line at Milepost 253.7, placing it near the Boaz or Burley’s Bottom area east of Vinton, Virginia. The view is looking west toward Roanoke Mountain. The date is unknown, but the fact that the darkroom technician manipulated the lighting around the signal when making this print to show its detail indicates the installation was likely pretty new. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo The date and location are unknown, but Y6a 2157 pounds past a position-light signal with a number plate — on most railroads a number plate meant the signal was not absolute but was rather a “stop and proceed at restricted speed” signal. Signal wiring connected to the rail is visible right beneath the first driver. (N&WHS Archives collection)
The Man in the Tower / An Interlocking Plant And Accelerate Train Movement - Tag A Long
  Photo Virginian’s Walnut Street Tower in Roanoke, Virginia, is typical of interlocking plants of the era. This view was taken in 1924 and this tower was later known as JK Tower. The Virginian operator in a coat and tie, with his hand on one of the “armstrong” levers, is Frank E. Lake. It generally took two hands and some weight to pull the levers. In the photo above the levers is a sign that reads: “Don’t spit on floor, keep it clean” — they were proud of the facilities in the 1920s. The photo came from Frank Lake’s grandson. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo The operator in “The Man in the Tower” article was E. L. Whitehead, and he could very well be one of the people posing in this photo at Bluestone Junction. The date and occasion is unknown, but note the infant in the picture being held at the top of the stairs. (N&WHS Archives collection)
Virginian C-1 Overview  / The little Red Caboose - Ken Miller
  Photo Virginian C-1 caboose 10 is standing on the cab track at Mullens, West Virginia, in this summer view from 1954. It retains its vertical brake shaft on both ends and also an item that still stands from its early days on the railroad: its side number “10” has been cut out of wood and applied and painted, giving a shadow effect. It is unknown how and when this started, and it seemed to be a fairly early practice, but was rapidly disappearing by the early 1950s. (N&WHS Archives Collection)
  Photo C-1 caboose 401 wears its red paint with white letters and numbers in the late afternoon sun on an unknown date and location. Handrails and ladders are yellow. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo C-1 No. 85 still looks pretty nice in this May 16, 1948, view. It had been most recently shopped at Princeton Shops in mid-August 1947. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing This general arrangement drawing has a first version date of August 4, 1908. Revision dates are unclear. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing This diagram shows pre-and post1954 detail changes in the C-1 cabooses. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Photographer C.J. Dengler recorded Virginian C-1 caboose 13 at Roanoke on June 1, 1958. The 13 also displays the Ajax brake stand installation. Another feature, seldom noted but certainly liked by the crews, was the aluminum window screens to help keep cinders and bugs out. Unfortunately, the cupola side windows remain open. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo On April 1, 1953, C-1 caboose 11 stands across from the Roanoke freight station. It displays the application of the Ajax brake stand to the platforms. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo C-1 Caboose No. 53 sits in the hot midday sun at Victoria, Virginia, on June 24, 1948. Of note, she still has the vertical brake shaft in place. (N&WHS Archives collection)
The Buchanan Branch / Where Coal is Still King - Chase Freeman; William J Stacy
  Photo ES44AC 8137 leads U72 preparing to begin flood-loading a PGNX train at the Big Creek operation at the end of the Levisa Branch. Engineer Mike Thacker is at the throttle. (Ed Painter photo)
  Photo Foreign power isn't all that common on the Buchanan Branch, but engineer Tim White on the U58 job takes empties upgrade at Virginia Lee, Virginia, with a pair of UP GEs on the point. The train is about to enter Raitt Tunnel on September 27, 2016. (Ed Painter photo)
  Photo NS U61 drops downgrade at Mile Branch, Virginia, with 105 loads from the Consol operation in tow, with pusher J79 assisting on the rear. Engineer Thomas Perry is at the throttle of Dash 9-40CW 9518 on August 7, 2016. (Ed Painter photo)
  Photo Engineer Greg Stafford has spotted train U52 at the loadout at Coronado Energy’s Buchanan Mine at Consol, Virginia, on May 23, 2016. This is the largest customer on the Pocahontas Division. (Ed Painter photo)
  Photo Engineer Paul Moore brings the J79 pusher downgrade at Lynn Camp, Virginia, with brand new ET44AC 3602 on the point on September 26, 2016 (Ed Painter photo)
  Photo Engineer Jeff Miller and Conductor John Garlic bring NS U58 west out of Raitt Tunnel at Virginia Lee, Virginia, on June 10, 2016. On the point is GE Dash 9-44CW 9139. (Ed Painter photo)
  Photo NS U58 with ES44AC 8115 on the point is seen diverging west from the Buchanan Branch onto the Levisa Branch at Thomas Wye, Virginia. Engineer Hatler Kiser and conductor John Garlic have 120 empties for the Kyber operation in tow on September 26, 2016. (Ed Painter photo)
  Photo NS U58 with Engineer Jeff Miller and conductor Rodney Smith are preparing to depart Dismal Yard with a loaded coke train on August 7, 2016. Dash 8-40CWs 8381 and 8319 provide the horsepower. (Ed Painter photo)
  Photo NS U52 takes a string of coke empties eastbound by the color position light signals at Vansant, Virginia, on September 27, 2016. Engineer Greg Stafford and conductor Mike Church, both of whom were pre-merger N&W crewmen, will take the train to Dismal Yard. (Ed Painter photo)
  Photo A caboose, in this case the 555617, is required for the shove coming back from the Buc 2 operation, seen in the background of this view taken on March 23, 2014. Conductor Jared Cantrell is keeping an eye out from this end of the train at Stric, Virginia. (Ed Painter photo)
  Photo Engineer Keith Ringstaff takes U64 with Consol loads west at Grundy, Virginia, after a brief snow storm on February 18, 2014, with Dash 9-44CW 9941 in the lead. (Ed Painter photo)
Vol. 33, No. 1 January / March 2017  Issue Select