Roanoke: Amtrak and creeks

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sun Mar 3 10:29:22 EST 2013

On Sun, Mar 3, 2013 at 9:21 AM, Ron wrote:

The word I hear is that the station will be south of the tracks between

> Jefferson and Henry Streets. That will be across the tracks from the old

> General Office Building and adjacent parking garage. There is currently a

> flat car being used as a stage on the Railwalk there.


That makes sense, since it is right close to parking and the Campbell Court
bus terminal.

> The rational for this location over the old station location is that to

> bring passenger trains from Lynchburg into the former station location

> requires the train crossing over and blocking all the other main line

> tracks. Norfolk Southern has made provisions for a siding to support

> passenger service from the beginning of this project. The siding may not be

> installed at first but the layout of the rest of the tracks will support

> and accommodate it at the later date.


OK, I understand that. Good that someone is thinking ahead with the plans.
Now when the service is extended further west (Radford should be the goal
right now, not some time down the road), will the train run "reverse main"
to the West End? I don't see any appropriate crossovers in the Google map
view of that area. Or would the train back up and cross over to continue

> There is also a spring under the Crystal Tower office building that flows

> under Campbell Ave. The Ponce De Leon hotel used to sit on the site and the

> spring was an attraction in its basement drinking establishment.


I knew about the spring in the hotel, but never considered an outlet for
the water -- just never thought about it.

> A second creek, Lick Run, comes down from the north, passes west of the

> Civic Center, parallels I-581, crosses under Williamson Road, flows between

> the Shops and the Station, under the tracks east of the WIlliamson Rd

> overpass, and joins up with the other two creeks near the intersection of

> Williamson Road (formerly Randolph Street) and Campbell Ave (by the

> Firestone store).


> Lick Run used to pass through the salt licks where the shops are now

> located, but it was relocated in 1882 when the land was graded to construct

> the Roanoke Shops.


> They all emerge southwest of the Roanoke Shops where the east leg of the

> wye from WInston-Salem joins the main line to Lynchburg. The creeks

> continue east along the south border of the Roanoke Shops.


I followed that on Google maps and see that it runs into Tinker Creek,
which then flows into the Roanoke River. Didn't all that contribute to the
flooding in 1985? Blacksburg is somewhat the same way, there are a bunch
of small creeks that radiate out from around downtown, most of which are in
some type of culvert or pipe. Several of them converge right around the
parking lot across from Squires Student Center, then run through a large
pipe under the Virginia Tech Drill Field, emerging at West Campus Drive to
flow into the Duck Pond.

I'm sure the railroad was aware of the culvert and factored that into their

> plans. Interesting how both NS and the Commonwealth appeared to have pawned

> the expense of upgrading the culvert off onto the City.


There is an article in today's (Sunday) Roanoke Times about Roanoke City's
financial picture and that things look good for the city to be able to
borrow more money, including funds for the culvert project. It would be
nice to see all this started sooner instead of later.

Bruce in Blacksburg
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