Salem Shifter

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Fri Sep 10 06:46:43 EDT 2021


I’ll write up some more details for you and post to the list, and if there is any interest, will place in the Arrow. There might be a few others who were around, Abe Burnett worked the job some with my father, but a couple other folks around are not on the list.

Briefly, the Shifter changed over the years, normally in the 1950s was a six day a week job, laid in on Sunday. By the early 1960s, it became a five day a week job. Having my father’s time book really gives me a fair amount of detail. My mother would frequently take me out to watch the Shifter work because I loved it. We would often go to the junction at Salem or up by the freight station.

I’ll write it up, actually sounds more like an article to me. :)

Ken Miller

> On Sep 9, 2021, at 6:51 PM, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at> wrote:
> Ken Miller’s “Another Interesting Tidbit” piece in the recent Arrow sparked my curiosity. His brief description of the Salem Shifter (his fathers favorite job) go me wondering if there has been any article or deeper description of the job. I would like to learn more about the job in his father’s time, the 1960’s and 70’s. Did it run daily? How far did it go? Did the one job work both the heritage N&W and heritage Virginian lines? How long was the crew’s typical day (almost 14 hours on the day noted)? What were the “two dozen” customers the shifter serviced? Perhaps we have some members that worked the job and can give us some insight?
> Don Trettel
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