Roanoke Junction

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Tue Oct 15 12:33:25 EDT 2013

The names of different tracks on the railroad can be very deceiving. I once asked an engineer about a yard called "New Yard". When I asked when this "New" yard was built, he answered " 'bout a hundred years ago"! To answer your question, "no" there is no "New" EBML.
The "Old" Eastbound Main Line through Roanoke might better be described (now I'm nor renaming it, this is just for illustration!!) as "Used To Be" Eastbound Main Line. At one time, and I don't know when the track was downgraded, the eastbound passenger trains used this EBML entering Roanoke. It must have been signaled, because I've heard many an old timer talk about the passenger trains coming by the 672 shanty at 40 MPH. That track in now un-signaled. 
The OEBML is the southern most track which extends all the way through the yard from "WB" behind the VA Hospital to the "Bakery" at Park Street. Whenever it was "downgraded" (my term), all passenger trains (for instance) used the Westbound Main Line. My recollection is that the terms "Main 1 and Main 2" came after the consolidation of N&W  and Southern (1982). Many eastbound trains still use the WBML (Main 2), which is signaled all the way through the yard permitting movement in either direction. 
The "Running Tracks" (EB and WB) also run the entire length of the yard, more toward the center of the yard. Many, many tracks enter and leave the running tracks throughout the length of the yard, and permission is needed to run "against the current of traffic" on these tracks, plus other special instructions, for instance over Dispatcher controlled power switches. Movements on these tracks are controlled by the Yardmaster.
A Yardmaster can route trains, engines, yard movements, etc. anyway he wants in order to facilitate the move. So, there is no "set" route for any particular train, or move. Many may seem to repeat themselves from day to day, but that doesn't mean they "have" to be run that way.
Hope this helps a little. I agree with a previous message that the map you copied can be misleading. Plus, I'm certain. it's not totally up to date. 
Jeff Sanders

On Tuesday, October 15, 2013 6:46 AM, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at> wrote:

On 10/14/2013 8:36 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:

> when I can't find any indication of a "new" eastbound main

    There is no "New" eastbound main line. The "Old Eastbound Mainline"
is essentially just a running track on the far south side of the yard
with all movements between the signal at 672 shanty to the signal at
Park St. ("The Bakery" - for the now defunct nearby Kroger Bakery) made
at restricted speed.
Eastbound movements from "Big Hopper Yard" tracks 1 -10 can be made VIA
the Old Eastbound Main (also equally known as Track 57), yard track
56/#1 Forwarding Yard and track 55/#2 forwarding Yard.
Eastbound movements from "Big Hopper Yard" tracks 11 - 20 can be made
down the Eastbound or Westbound Running tracks, track #9 Forwarding Yard
(which bears off of the Eastbound R/T east of the shop track cleanout
building) or the "Drag Strip"/#8 Forwarding Yard.
Eastbound movements made from the Empty Side Yard tracks 1 - 10 can be
made down (from L to R looking east) the Westbound Main, "The Running
Track" (better know as #1 Park St.) or the "Tail Track" which runs into
the Westbound Running Track at 19th St.

BTW, the map you provided can be very very very confusing! Things are
just not what they seem on the map. It is much better to look at the
yard on Google Earth to see how things truly are laid out.

Jimmy Lisle
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