Two questions for the N&W Pros

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Fri Sep 4 15:52:32 EDT 2015

Just guessing that in pre-J days the Ks or others had a similar cycle and as the Js were born they merged into that cycle. Ron 

     On Thursday, September 3, 2015 10:18 PM, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at> wrote:

 Bob -  In Roanoke the Norfolk Division freight double trackmain lines passed just south of the passenger station and none of those trainshad to use the station tracks.  Same applied to the Winston-Salem District,whose junction switch was/is off the Norfolk eastbound main about the middle ofthe passenger station.  The only freight trains that had to use thepassenger station tracks were the Shenandoah Division trains going North andmost of them used #1 track through the station, leaving several tracks for themain line passenger trains.  From an operation standpoint, the arrangementwas pretty efficient, controlled from Randolph StreetTower just east of the concourse area where the Shenandoah Division/Roanoke Shopentrance tracks curved north and the main station tracks curved to the southtoward the Norfolk mains.  The passenger station tracks were available foruse by Norfolk Division freights if trackwork or other factors made their useabsolutely necessary. The Js ran on specific cycles, so that each enginewould cover, over the course of a month, all the main line trains betweenNorfolk and Cincinnati as well as the shorter Monroe-Bristol cycles.  Oneof these included a trip from Norfolk all the way to Cincinnati (I don’t havethe cycle sheets in front of me, but several books include them).  Thecycles were carefully worked out so that each engine could make about 15,000miles every month, allowing for monthly shoppings, etc.  The J was designedfor long runs, both in terms of tender capacity and lubrication necessities –the mechanical lubricators had extra oil tanks to increase the potential range(the 1218 also has had the extra oil tanks added).  Hope this helps. EdK  From: NW Mailing List via NW-Mailing-ListSent: Thursday, September 03, 2015 7:57 PMTo: nw-mailing-list at Cc: NW Mailing List Subject: Two questions for the N&W Pros    I have been geezerring thru my enormous vault of priceless, ah ... stuff. Amongst a fresh cache I explored this weekend was a boxof RR books, some unread, still in the author’s original Saran Wrap. About 90%of the books will be sold, some after a careful review.
[Side note here: First, is it OK to sell my half dozenor so N&W books on this list? If N&W books are OK, is it OK to includemy entire list (maybe 20 or so) of RR books for sale?] 
Back to my real purpose ... 
One such book I’ve been thumbing thru which holdsparticular interest for me is Tom Dixon’s Powhatan Arrow, which so far is theonly book in my “undecided, sell it or not?” category. While I am more familiarwith much of the N&W territory, have thoroughly enjoyed the steamexcursions, love to chase the Poky, and live in an area with more N&W fans,I remain hooked on my birthright B&O, of which a few of those books also areheaded out. 
However, “to sell” or “not to sell” is not why I’mwriting this note. I have two N&W questions that the Powhatan Arrow book hasbrought to light and not answered (tho I acknowledge I have not read every page… yet).
Here goes … 
Numero Uno – I always love the photos of the passengertrains loading and unloading at the Roanoke station. Considering the typicalload of front end cargo, these stops could not have been fast. Also, while manyphotos show two trains in the station at once (possibly scheduled that way), Iam sure there had to be times that one train ran late and blocked the station aslong as its meet-partner already had. 
Pages 80 & 81 show a terrific example photo with twopassenger trains in the Roanoke station … virtually totally blocking the N&Wfrom any other mainline movements until those passenger trains had moved on.Yes, I guessed at ways a long coal train could have slithered thru, but I doubtN&W did that with so many people – passengers and workers – milling around.Of course, maybe it did?
My hands-on experiences for passenger operations atRoanoke are limited to excursion trains of the 80s and 90s, so, I have no “beingthere” experience with N&W’s real varnish perusing the station.
Taking 1950 as an example, the N&W ran three featured daily passenger trains and other varnish (most or all times a matchedpair) thru Roanoke, which must have blocked the station for a cumulative severalhours each day. I am curious how in the heck did the railroad find time to runits daily gaggle of coal, other freight, and executive trains? Was there anotherroute thru town (south side?) with which I am not well familiar or were themoney-making freight trains simply more patient than I wouldguess?
Numero Dos – The answer to this question strikes me assimple, but then I simply am not sure. It has to do with the J locos pullingpassenger trains. Here goes:
Did a single J locomotive from Norfolk run all the wayto Cincinnati or was it changed out at Roanoke, or elsewhere? Was the engineserviced en route or was it simply replaced by a freshly serviced J? Were all ofthe J’s route legs of a length that all of the change outs or servicings wereaccomplished in Roanoke, Bluefield or Williamson? I assume there were legs wherethe J’s needed to stop for water, but not coal? 
There were station-track water stands in a Bluefieldphoto, as I recall, that – by pumping the water while passengers boarded – mighthave alleviated the need for an engine change or full servicing. So, when andwhere did N&W change lead passenger locos or simply service them and keepthem running?
Perhaps not succinct, but those are my twoquestions.
Incidentally, pointers to great N&W references(books, historic societies, etc.) would be nice for some, but not everyone willhave easy, quick access to those sources or want to dig down in serious research(a nasty trait of other lists). I am hoping for another great discussion on herethat begins with something relatively simple and soon becomes an authoritativerecap of the subject … and, of course, lots more.
Thanks for all the great info over the years …Bob
7028 TallentCourtSherrill'sFord, NC 28673
oezbob at aol.com________________________________________
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