What's in a name?

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Fri Jan 17 09:13:44 EST 2014

My last paragraph should have said "had" a house, not has. McMullin
has been dead for 150 years, and his old house is long gone.

Ben Blevins

On 1/17/14, Ben Blevins <signalyard at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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

> Maintainer


> 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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