N&W and Southern Thru passenger service

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Nov 6 11:56:58 EST 2012

As a follow-on to Ray's comment, the entire Bristol Line operation was dieslized on January 1st, 1958. Prior to that, both main line freight and passenger service was steam powered, although the Abingdon Branch had been dieselized in December 1957. The Bristol engine terminal became diesel only while Radford turned a few steam engines until July 1958 for the Huckleberry and other local runs.

The only time that Southern diesels were routinely used on the joint passenger trains prior to 1958 was during coal strikes such as in 1949. After dieselizing the joint N&W/SR trains on 1/1/1958, the Southern diesels run through between Bristol and Monroe.

In about 1953, the Southern's steam terminal at Monroe stopped servicing steam and the N&W J's were required to run the joint trains from Roanoke to Monroe and back to Roanoke, possibly being serviced at Kinney. Louis Newton probably can elaborate further on this since he has mentioned this before.

Bud Jeffries
----- Original Message -----
From: NW Mailing List
To: 'NW Mailing List'
Sent: Monday, November 05, 2012 10:10 PM
Subject: RE: N&W and Southern Thru passenger service

The N&W/Southern trains (45-46, 17-18,41-42) were dieselized effective January 1, 1958. By this time N&W was moving toward diesel power on all its passenger trains (Shenandoah Valley line trains already had switched to diesel power) and would achieve complete dieselization of passenger service in the summer of 1958 (except for limited, occasional use of steam around Christmas, 1958 and later excursion service).

While GP9's were not used on the N&W/Southern passenger trains, they were used on the N&W/Southern mail trains which ran in December each year to move the heavy volume of Christmas mail.

There trains, utilizing primarily box cars for the mail, ran as second sections to some (not all) of the N&W/Southern trains well into the 1960s.

Ray Smoot

Blacksburg, Va.

From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org [mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Monday, November 05, 2012 7:24 AM
To: NW Mailing List
Subject: N&W and Southern Thru passenger service

I took the following question from the Southern Group and am asking if anyone could explain further?

I've noticed that several of Southern and Norfolk and Western's joint trains like the Birmingham Special and Tennesean often had Southern power on the N&W portion of the route after the N&W became 100% diesel, was this normal and did all trains do this and does anyone have any info on why N&W's passenger GP9's were not used instead?

James Wall

Rural Hall, NC


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