Track Name versus Letter identifier for NS/N&W Tracks...

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Wed Jan 4 09:07:48 EST 2017

On 12/30/2016 9:09 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:

While your conversation may refer to former N&W operations only 
(Pre-NS) if so disregard my input, my comments above were provided to 
show that the Line ID's are used on the Railroad and in some departments 
very important and for quite some time.

Thank you,

     Steve ?, Thank you very much for the information.

     Let me say this, nomenclature used by the Engineering Department 
and the Operating employees was very different and separate, just as the 
N&W  was before the Southern merger. Just as the two departments didn't 
normally intermingle, never did their terminologies. As an operating 
employee, it was always the "Valley", "Punkin' Vine", "Blue Ridge", 
"Radford" or "Bristol" lines. What you folks sitting in the General 
Office Building called things, we had no idea nor did we probably care. 
When radio scanners entered the railfan market things started changing 
as they started using their own language. Several times a railfan would 
talk to me using terms that let one know that he was not versed in the 
ways of the "man on the ground" doing the work.
     When the merger came along everything changed. It was no longer a 
company. It turned into a "corporation" and the "family" went out the 
window. As men retired and new men were brought in, the language started 
to dilute. Familiar colloquial names had to go out the window too as the 
new guys didn't know the old language and were lost. For example, when 
the rule book changed to where the train crews had to start calling out 
signals, a new signal maintainer out in the field didn't know where the 
hell "Finneyville" was and as such had no idea how close the train was 
to him. Mileposts had to be used instead. Each end of sidings had to 
have its own name as well individual control points. Now, I'm not saying 
this in a derogatory way against the new man. It was just an evolution 
to a safer way to do things since the work force was no longer "family" 
and diluted with "strangers" from who knows where.

Jimmy Lisle
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