What's in a name?

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Fri Jan 17 09:09:49 EST 2014

The CTC machines I have seen on the N&W had the names and numbers
both. That is why it was the N&W practice to have an east end and
west end of sidings. My beloved Marion was that way until NS changed
it in 1997. Holdout Marion, which was a holdout signal west of Marion
was renamed Abbott. Nobody I can find knows where that name came
from. But, the location also was retired, so it isn't a signal
location at all anymore. The west end of Marion became Marion, and
the east end of Marion became Schuleen. That name came from an old
track chart calling the area Schuleen Masto, which was the location of
an old long gone quarry.

NS did this everywhere on the old N&W. And, they're still doing it.
McKibben at Roanoke is a prime example. Obviously, it was named for
Mr. McKibben, and it replaced the 65 and 95 crossovers. New control
points on the upgraded Norfolk division from Petersburg to Norfolk
have also been getting new CP's named after railroaders, such as CP's
Snow, Obenchain, and Stanback just to name a few.

Back to the subject, the intermediate (or automatic signals as we call
them in N&W lingo) had names in most cases because they had at one
time been located at a siding. The names remained after the sidings
were removed and the signals were reconfigured to work automatically
instead of by dispatcher control. That is the reason that many of the
old signals were staggered. That in itself is a very lengthy subject
and I won't get into the complexity of it.

In many other cases, there's a name on the track chart that
corresponds to that location. The names can come from anywhere I
guess is what I'm saying. My old train watching hamlet of McMullin
was named for LaFayette McMullen, (sic), a politician who has a house
on the hill overlooking that area.

Ben Blevins

On 1/16/14, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org> wrote:

> Controlled signals were designated by their control lever number on the TC

> panel, but train crews and operators/dispatchers referred to both

> controlled and automatic signals by location name. Also used were street

> names, track names and that of other railroad features--whatever became

> commonly used over time, although I'm not aware of an official list of

> signal names until later with NS.


> Grant Carpenter


>> Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2013


>> Intermediate signals were designated by mile number (to the tenth), but

>> this was not the case with control points/interlockings. Did all control

>> points/interlockings have names. In many cases the names of nearby

>> communities were used but I don't believe this to have been true in all

>> instances.

>> How were these points names?

>> Jim Cochran



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