[N&W] Re: N&W Division names

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue May 18 22:35:07 EDT 2004

[Gary Rolih writes:]
The best way to understand the Divisions and the Districts of the N&W is 
through the employee timetables which can be obtained at most railroadania 
shows in the US.  Timetables from the '50's, 60's and 70's are readily 
available from $6.00 to $15.00 depending on condition.  For non-US members, 
I suggest finding your local timetable enthusiast group.  They may have 
suggestions on sourcing.

The Peavine, Cincinnati District, runs from Cincinnati to Portsmouth 
Ohio.  It was named because the line started as narrow gauge, was 
inexpensively built, and followed the contours of the ground and drainage 
of the land.  The topology of southwestern Ohio is hilly as it is part of 
the Appalachian plateau; it is cut by numerous streams.  West bound trains 
from Portsmouth have to climb up out of the Scioto River valley west of 
Portsmouth by following the Ohio- Erie canal bed, then the lower reaches of 
Scioto Dry Brush Creek up to Peebles, MP C-70 roughly, then down Peebles 
hill, past Lawshe at the bottom, crossing Brush Creek again, the up 
Irvington Hill along Sally's Backbone, to Mt. Zion.  Coming off the plateau 
at Batavia at Batavia Hill, the trains followed the East Fork of the Little 
Miami River to Clare.  Then the trains followed the Little Miami valley to 
the Ohio River on the PRR if they were passenger trains or they climbed Mt. 
Ault into Hyde Park/Cincinnati then over to Idlewild and the junction with 
The CL&N, then down the hill to Berry's Yard and Ivorydale and the Proctor& 
Gamble factories.  The N&W did a lot of line straightening after it 
purchased the 'vine making simple curve corrections in many locations.  It 
spent a great deal of time studying the situation around Lawshe, but no 
improvements could be made without adding grade or more miles.  As Ed 
King's article, "Slicking 'em Through Sardinia" stated, the 'vine is near 
mountain railroading. NS still uses the Peavine as a training run for 
rookie engineers.

The Columbus District, Portsmouth to Columbus, of the Scioto Division, is 
nicknamed 'the valley' because it was built by the Scioto Valley Railway 
and runs along the Scioto River most of the way.

The Kenova District, Portsmouth to Naugatuck ("Nawgeetuck" to the 
locals)just west of Williamson was nicknamed "the tadpole" due to reasons 
unknown to me but probably due to the semi-winding nature of the Big Sandy 
Answer by division name and headquarters:

Norfolk Division, Norfolk to east end of Roanoke (Randolph St/passenger
station area), with Supt and train dispatchers at Crewe, Va., telegraph call
"K".  One crew district was between Norfolk and Crewe, another crew district
Crewe to Roanoke.  The appendage running south from Lynchburg to Durham, NC
(the old L&D RR), was apparently always known as "the Durham District."

Radford Division, Roanoke station area to east end of Bluefield, W.Va, with a
102 mile branch between Walton, Va and Bristol, Tenn.  Supt and train
dispatchers at Roanoke, telegraph call "R".  Crew districts were
Roanoke-Bluefield and Roanoke-Bristol.  In the Nineteenth Century, the
"Central Division" extended from Lynchburg to Bristol, with headquarters and
crew change point at Central Depot, Va (later called Radford), telegraph call

Pocahontas Division, east end of Bluefield to Williamson, with headquarters
and train dispatchers at "BF" telegraph office, Bluefield.

Scioto Division, headquartered at Portsmouth, Ohio, had three districts:
Williamson to Portsmouth, Portsmouth to Cincinnatti, and Portsmouth to

Shenandoah Division headquartered at Roanoke, ran Hagerstown, Md. to Roanoke,
and Roanoke to Winston-Salem.  Crew districts were Hagerstown-Shenandoah,
Shenandoah-Roanoke, and Roanoke - Winston-Salem.  Train Dispatchers and Supt
at "UD" Roanoke ("UD" standing for "Union Depot.")  Original headquarters of
the Shenandoah Valley RR was at Hagerstown, but after a junction was
established at Roanoke with the AM&O/N&W, headquarters was moved to Roanoke.
When the Roanoke & Southern RR was finished a few years later, it was
operated as part of the Shenandoah Division.

-- Abram Burnett, Harrisburg, Pa.

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