[N&W] Re: More Winston-Salem district....

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu May 6 22:21:11 EDT 2004

[James Matthews asked:]
 >Does anyone know what locomotive types (steam and diesel)  were used on the
 >Winston-Salem district?
 >Was the district block signaled territory until 1972?
[Ed King replies:]

Roanoke Terminal-assigned 2100s were used in freight service from the 40s
till the end.  The passenger service was handled by Roanoke
Terminal-assigned Ks; usually streamlined Ks, but K-1s were known to sub.  I
have no knowledge of what handled the local freights.  Js were not seen on
the W-S district unless there was an important extra passenger movement such
as the Eisenhower train in 1952, which rated doubleheaded Js.  As were not
seen there, as their boiler overhang prevented their movement over a through
truss bridge whose south end was at the end of a sharp curve.  The A could
get south OK, but would have to back up through that particular area
northbound in order to make it through the bridge.

In diesel days, everything Roanoke Terminal had could be seen down there.
The Alco T-6 switchers were regularly set off by #57 for use on the
Bassett-Martinsville shifter.  One red GP9 handled the passenger train.

"JK Tower January 19, 1960

C&E No 57

Set your Bassett Payne Fieldale and Martinsville cars off in Payne passing
Set your rear diesel unit off at Payne with engine idling and handbrake set.


That was #57's regular work message, handed up with its orders at JK Tower.

The "Punkinvine" was signalled with N&W's standard signals, but not CTC.

Hope this helps.


[Harry Bindy adds:]

Prior to the installation of traffic control (about 1972), the Winston
District was single track, automatic block signal,  that operation was
by time table and train order.  With the increased business at the
Walkertown vehicle distribution center and with Duke Power Co.
building a plant at Belews Creek, N&W was able to justify the expense
of installing TC by reducing the number of train order issuing offices.
Unfortunately, after TC was installed, there were only two passing sidings
in the 120 miles between Roanoke and Walkertown -- Wirtz (8800 ft.) and
Stoneville (9900 ft.).  This led to some enormous delays.  By 1975, N&W
had added another passing siding, Philpott (9,209 ft.).  It's still possible
to have a northbound coming to Rocky Mount (27 miles from Roanoke) and
a southbound ready to go at Shaffers Crossing.  The dispatcher will head
the northbound in at Wirtz to wait an hour thirty minutes for the southbound
to show up because there's no place to meet'em north of Wirtz and the
southbound would certainly accumulate terminal overtime if delayed at
Shaffers Crossing.  For that reason, there's been talk about adding a fourth
passing siding between Starkey and Boones Mill, but it hasn't happened yet.

Power on the Winston District ?  In steam it was Y's on freights and K's
on the passenger trains.  The J's made one trip on the Winston District --
to haul the Eisenhower Campaign Special Winston-Salem to Roanoke.
Two J's were double headed to Winston.  The engines were turned on the
loop one at a time and the rail was greased.  The last trip I made on the
Winston District was on a "single" to Belews Creek -- three SD40-2's and
50 cars of coal during a work stopage in 1982.   When the unit train is run
to Belews Creek with pushers, it's a real piece of coordination between the
lead engineer and the pusher engineer.  In the hill-and-dale profile between
Boones Mill and Wirtz, theres one place where the lead engines are in
dynamic brake and the pusher engines are in RUN 8.
                                                     Harry Bundy

You might want to contact Jeff Miller - he wrote the book on the
Winston-Salem Southbound and, since that was a company half owned by the
N&W, he may have some insight.  I recall the old ex-N&W M's chugging along
the spur from the WSS main line (branched off between Sprague St.* and
Waughtown/Fayetteville St. and ran beside Gray High School on up to the yard
and freight house just south of what is now Business I-40).

Also, the trackage diagram for most of the Southern, WSS and N&W in
Winston-Salem NC in the pre-WWII 1900's is clearly laid out in the Sanborne
(sp?) maps from around 1897 to about WWII.

Not exactly a direct response but may provide some leads...

  *PS  Yes, for those who do not know, Sprague St. was named for Frank
Sprague.  Winston & Salem (pre town merger) were the setting for a
"demonstration" streetcar line - it was about the 2nd or 3rd streetcar line
in the US.  Most of the route can still be followed by the cracks in the
asphalt where the original streetcar tracks were paved over.  W-S, then,
really had FOUR sets of track running  through it, not just 3.

Richard Barnes
W-S NC 27104-2461

James Matthews: I recall seing K's on the passenger trains and Y's and A's
in the North Winston Yard. The diesels I saw were the 9s early on. Later I
don't know.

Cal Reynolds
calvinr at netunlimited.net

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