Vol. 33, No. 3 July / September 2017  Issue Select 
Issue Details
Cover Title: N&W Signaling, Part 4
Cover Subtitle: Portlock Yard, Bucky Wilson, Steel Gang Memories, Passenger Service on the Virginian’s New River Division
On the Cover: N&W Class E2a 558 races past a clear ACL semaphore signal at Richmond, Virginia, on May 11, 1947. The handsome 4-6-2 was captured at speed on Atlantic Coast Line’s Train 27. The official signal indication is “proceed,” and though the train is past the clearance point the blade hasn’t noticeably begun to fall. Similar to an N&W signal, it will soon fall to the horizontal position, and once there this signal would indicate “stop and proceed at restricted speed to next signal, expecting to find a train, open switch, broken rail, or other obstruction in the block” because this is not an “absolute” (stop and stay) signal. In the late 1940s the N&W was upgrading signaling and interlocking plants with CTC, and often in that process older semaphore signals were replaced with newer position light signals. The fourth installment of Glenn Fisher’s “N&W Signaling, 1930–1959” appears in this issue, covering the postwar period from 1945 to the end of 1949.
Articles In This Issue
Portlock Yard - Bruce B. Harper
  Letter This letter from Judge William N. Portlock thanked the president of the N&W for changing the name of South Norfolk Yard to Portlock Yard. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo In July 1956 N&W K1 111 was at Portlock Yard with Train 68 in tow. (August A. Thieme, Jr., photo, N&WHS Archives collection)
Bucky Wilson, 1946-2017  / One of Our Own - Kevin EuDaly
  Photo Bucky’s in front of the blackness of Gordon Tunnel, West Virginia, on October 25, 2008, wearing the pleasant ever-present smile we’ll always remember him by. (Kevin EuDaly)
  Photo Bucky photographs a stack train rolling westbound around Looney’s Curve at Devon, West Virginia, on a beautiful October 22, 2010. Beyond Bucky is the siding from which the Buchanan Branch leaves West Virginia, crosses over Tug Fork into Kentucky and passes through Devon Tunnel (Kevin EuDaly)
  Photo Bucky gets the shot with his Canon and monopod while standing on Rockland Road north of Riverton Junction, Virginia, in the early evening on June 18, 2010, during the Front Royal convention. At upper right, Bucky (right) and Bill McClure take in westbound NS 9518 rolling by at Vivian, West Virginia, on October 22, 2010. At right, Bucky (left), Ed Painter (middle), and Bill McClure (right) are enjoying the afternoon at Shepherdstown in a pause between trains on June 18, 2010. These were all taken during the “good times together.” (Kevin EuDaly)
N&W Signaling 1930–1959, Part 4 - Glenn Fisher
  Photo Train 22 passes under a signal bridge at Petersburg, Virginia, in dramatic fashion on March 28, 1948. Overhead are position light signals which are slowly taking over duties from older semaphore blades. Note the pair of signal boxes in the lower left corner in front of the shanty. The signal boxes contain the switching gear with the wiring that is part of this CTC installation. (August Thieme, Jr., photo, N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing Position light signals were featured in this advertisement from 1946. Note the blue overlaid “GO” lettering on the signal heads. (Larry Evans collection)
  Photo Class J 605 rolls under a dropping semaphore signal at Bluestone, Virginia, on June 20, 1947. Though semaphores were beginning to be replaced across the system by this date, the ones where the railroad was under wire on the east end of the system held on longer. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing This unique colorized advertisement from 1946 shows a position light signal being placed on the right-of-way. The original photograph appears on page 34 of JanuaryFebruary-March 2017 issue of The Arrow, where it was noted that the darkroom technician had manipulated the lighting around the signal — now we know that was done for this ad. As indicated in that issue, the signal is at Milepost 253.7 near the Boaz or Berkley’s Bottom area east of Vinton, Virginia, looking west toward Roanoke Mountain. (Larry Evans collection)
  Photo N&W Class J 601 pounds across the diamonds at the Virginian crossing in South Norfolk, Virginia, in November 1949. The interlocking tower at left houses the equipment to protect the diamonds and keep traffic moving across this busy crossing. A position light signal head that protects the diamonds can barely be seen above the second car in this train. (H. Reid photo, N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing This advertisement from 1947 talks specifically about the CTC system that was being put in on many subdivisions of the N&W in the immediate postwar period. The actual track diagram in the photo is on the N&W’s Radford-toBristol line — the two readable location names are Wysor and Melborn, and the marginally readable name at the left is Wurno. This photograph nicely illustrates how Union Switch & Signal dispatching panels were set up. In the track diagram at the top the red lights are lit when that track block is occupied. The operator is throwing a switch lever, and that row of lights indicate whether the switch is in the “N” for normal position or “R” for reversed position. The bottom row is associated with signaling with “L” for left and “R” for right that indicate the direction of travel across the panel. The very bottom row of toggles are most likely signal maintainer call switches that would alert a signal maintainer in the event of a problem. At the very top of the panel is a row of “low air” indicators that would actuate if the air-driven switches experienced low air pressure or a compressor failure. (Larry Evans collection)
  Photo N&W E2a 559 supplies the horsepower for Train 35, sitting on the track next to the depot at Lynchburg, Virginia, on August 15, 1947. To the left a two-headed position light signal protects the main line. Note that the bottom head only has lights that can display horizontal or diagonal lights. Photography from the late 1940s, while not as rare as war-era images, is difficult to find. It took some time before the results of the war wore off and photographers felt free again. (August A. Thieme, Jr., photo, N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing This Union Switch & Signal ad from 1949 included a diagram to illustrate how the coding in a CTC machine worked. The diagram included N&W-style position light signals. (Larry Evans collection)
  Drawing This freight traffic density map for the year 1946 is dated August 1, 1947, and can almost be extrapolated into a plan for adding CTC signaling to the busier segments of the N&W. It also gives a snapshot glimpse into where the tonnage was coming from and going to across the entire system. One can deduce, for example, that lake-bound coal moving to Columbus dominates the line from Portsmouth to Columbus, and then gets routed via the B&O, C&O, NYC, and PRR. This, of course, is only freight traffic, so passenger traffic on some of these routes would make a huge addition to train frequency. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing The N&W chose Union Switch & Signal and this advertisement from 1949 shows the N&W segment from Cincinnati to Portsmouth. Union Switch & Signal Company machines can be distinguished from General Railway Signal Company machines at a glance because the levers on Union machines rotate 45 degrees either way, while General machines throw 90 degrees. This ad talks about “concentrating control at division headquarters,” a centralization of control compared to small plants at every junction associated with towers and depots. Decision making on railroads concerning centralization of dispatching continues to this day. In recent years a number of railroads that had centralized all dispatching at a single headquarters location later rethought the vulnerability of that approach and decentralized to several facilities with redundancy built in so a disaster at one location can’t cripple the entire railroad. (Larry Evans collection)
  Photo Class A 1206 rolls past a pair of single-head intermediate position light block signals on August 15, 1949. (N&WHS Archives collection)
N&W Installs CTC on 107 Miles  / Saves train time and increases capacity - reprint Railway Age
  Photo The control machine for the territory between Bristol and Radford is in the dispatcher’s office in Roanoke. (courtesy Simmons-Boardman Publishing)
  Photo The main track signal and the siding signal are on a high bracket mast with the main line signal elevated over the siding signal. (courtesy Simmons-Boardman Publishing)
  Photo A westbound train is at the west end of the siding at Hayter. On the signal mast is “28R” indicating that the corresponding signal control lever was located 28 inches from the left side of the control panel in the dispatcher’s office and throwing the lever to the right would activate this signal. The control levers on the panel were on two-inch centers and were numbered according to the distance from the end of the panel. As can be seen in the 1947 advertisement Melborn was at 174, so the board was at least 174 inches long. Signals were all even numbers while switches were odd numbers.  (courtesy Simmons-Boardman Publishing)
  Map This map shows the location of the CTC territory between Radford and Bristol. (courtesy Simmons-Boardman Publishing)
  Photo This view shows rock-slide fence protection at a high bluff on the Radford line. (courtesy Simmons-Boardman Publishing)
  Photo This view on March 28, 2010, of the rock slide fence at Elkhorn Tunnel shows the wiring and spring-tensioning details, and is similar to that installed on the Radford line. (Kevin EuDaly photo)
Steel Gang Memories  / Laying Track for N&W in the Shenandoah Valley During World War II - Harless Edgar Warf
  Photo This crew is working on a switch frog in a material yard. This appears to be a well-used frog and is likely being disassembled. This was taken during World War II on August 11, 1942, and the scrap steel might be going toward the war effort. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo The foreman has his cigar clamped tightly in his teeth as his rail gang positions a rail on two track carts at Shenandoah, Virginia, in October 1954. This was how it was done before the heavy mechanization of just a few years later, and like the author would have experienced 10 years before. (N&W photo, K.L. Miller collection)
  Photo An N&W section gang is placing a motor car on the track at an unknown location in late 1953. (N&W photo, K.L. Miller collection)
  Photo During World War II Y6 2135 muscles coal through Front Royal, Virginia, on the Shenandoah line. The track crews keep the track in good shape so trains can move tonnage across the system. (N&WHS Archives collection)
Passenger service on the virginian’s new river Division - T.R. Jr. Marshall
  Photo Numerous proud Virginian men pose with the new depot at Princeton, West Virginia, on May 8, 1909. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Virginian Class PA 4-6-2 212 has a three-car passenger train in this undated view. This is typical of the Virginian’s passenger trains in the later years — a Pacific hauling a baggage car and a couple of coaches, all heavyweight equipment. Though unidentified, this is likely well east of the New River Division at Victoria, Virginia. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo This early photo shows a nine-car main line passenger train stopped at the Palisades along New River near Eggleston, perhaps for sight-seeing. This is one of several photographs in a sequence that include a Mallet in front of the consist. Besides the crewman in the foreground, there are seven people on the ground next to the third car from the end of the consist. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing These five advertisements illustrate some of the special occasions during which the Virginian offered special fares. The above ad was for a Confederate veterans’ reunion held on October 22, 1910. At upper middle right is a $6 fare for a round trip between Princeton and Norfolk for Decoration Day in 1927. At far upper right is a special 15-day excursion to Norfolk in 1910. The special “greatly reduced weekend” fare was from September 3, 1931. Finally, the “Annual Thanksgiving Day Excursion” from Princeton to Norfolk and return was $6.50 in this ad from 1931 at far right. (Tom Marshall, Jr., collection)
  Photo Class EA 294 was at the depot in Roanoke, Virginia, on April 26, 1939, coupled to a baggage car on the head end of what is likely a three-car train. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Drawing This advertisement from April 16, 1931, announced new through service to Charleston via the bridge at Deepwater. (Tom Marshall, Jr., collection)
  Photo A collection of Virginian items is displayed in the Mullens Railroad Museum. Note the Auditor’s Check form is from predecessor Deepwater Railway Company. (Tom Marshall, Jr.)
  Letter This postmark from Train 13, predecessor to Train 3, was found on a postcard sent by my great-grandfather to his stepmother. (Tom Marshall, Jr., collection)
  Drawing This ticket, dated December 2, 1917, was good for one trip from Matoaka to Algonquin. (Mullens Railroad Museum collection)
  Photo An eastbound train exits Tunnel 12 at Micajah, West Virginia, with six cars, including three coaches and a club car. The train is pulled by a class TA 4-6-0. (Ken Coleman collection)
  Timetable This schedule from October 10, 1909, shows Trains 13 and 14 between Charleston and Norfolk. Westbound Train 13 took 19 hours to make the trip, while its eastbound counterpart Train 14 took over 22 hours. (Tom Marshall, Jr., collection)
  Timetable This schedule for Trains 13 and 14 was published in one of Beckley’s newspapers. Harper is in bold letters because it was considered the station for passengers traveling to and from Beckley. (Tom Marshall, Jr., collection)
  Photo This shot was taken of Train 3 in 1932 between Princeton and MX Tower from the club car Winding Gulf, which was the only steel club car owned by the Virginian. (Tom Marshall, Jr., collection)
  Photo Baggage car 92 was photographed on July 23, 1952. It’s nearing the end of its career in Virginian passenger train service. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo Coach 208 was part of a ten-car order the Virginian received in 1921. It was photographed in Roanoke on September 9, 1949. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Letter This train order, issued on October 5, 1941, allowed Train 3 to run 10 minutes late from Herndon to Gulf Junction. (Mullens Railroad Museum collection)
  Photo The station at Matoaka is one of two Virginian depots remaining in West Virginia. The other is at Oak Hill on the abandoned White Oak Branch. (Tom Marshall, Jr., photo)
  Letter The Virginian’s general passenger agent issued this notice of the discontinuance of service between Roanoke and the VirginiaWest Virginia state line as of January 1, 1955. (Tom Marshall, Jr., collection)
  Timetable Time table 20 from November 26, 1944, shows Trains 3 and 4 between Roanoke and Elmore. (Tom Marshall, Jr., collection)
  Photo A three-car Virginian passenger train is on the bridge about to pass over Y6 2139 on an N&W train at Glen Lyn, Virginia, on August 2, 1950. (August A. Thieme, Jr., photo, N&WHS Archives collection)
  Photo This is the famous shot of Virginian No. 3 and Extra 103 East in 1927 that shows the Class PA 212 on top of the squarehead. Both engineer E.G. Aldridge and fireman F.M. O’Neal were killed. (Bluefield Daily Telegraph)
  Letter The front page of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph from May 25, 1927, the day after the famed wreck of Train 3 at Ingleside, West Virginia. (Tom Marshall, Jr., collection)
  Timetable Virginian’s public time table from September 1937 shows the remaining branch line passenger services. (Tom Marshall, Jr., collection)
  Photo An N&W detour adds some glamour with a big passenger train in 1950. Virginian Class MC 468 leads a detour move, piloting an N&W passenger train behind Class J 603 at Covel, West Virginia. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Timetable The Winding Gulf Branch schedule from 1911 was later expanded with service to Beckley and additional trains. (Tom Marshall, Jr., collection)
  Photo This rare color 1950s view shows 4-6-2 212 with a three-car Train 4 at JK interlocking in Roanoke, Virginia. The train consists of a baggage car and two coaches — standard fare on the Virginian in this era. (N&WHS Archives collection)
  Letter This pass issued to my Grandfather Wannie Marshall, stepson of Virginian brakeman T. W. Stover, was used to ride Train 5 from Surveyor to Eccles to attend high school. (Tom Marshall, Jr., collection)
Vol. 33, No. 3 July / September 2017  Issue Select