Did N&W Run over VGN During USRA Era?

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Nov 3 09:32:52 EST 2004



Actually, the railroads weren't returned to their stockholder owners until
March 1, 1920. Hence, the USRA era wasn't over in 1919.


The USRA era didn't begin (President Wilson assumed control of the railroads
effective noon, December 28, 1917) until the "Great War" was in its final
stages, ending November 11, 1918 (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of
the eleventh month). 


Why the delay in the return of the railroads to private ownership? Many
authors/historians who have researched the subject (myself included) believe
the demands of the War itself, the pitiful condition of the physical plants
of the roads prior to the US entry (on April 6, 1917) and the Federal
ownership/management so weakened the financial positions of the railroads
that some actually fought a return to private ownership. Indeed, the
situation in some cases was so desperate that the Transportation Act of 1920
(authorizing return of the railroads to private ownership) actually
guaranteed the profitability of the railroads for the first six months after
the return to private control.


Before the post-War economy of the US righted itself in the early 1920s, the
times were highly dicey for the railroads.


I just provide the above as background music for your well-articulated
arguments below.


Best regards,


Dave Lambert


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Subject: Re: Did N&W Run over VGN During USRA Era?




The following earlier post caught my eye:


However in March 1919, things take a different turn.


"All Winston District freight trains southward and Norfolk Divisions trains 

via Virginian Railroad will move via Shaeffer's Crossing (sic), Belt Line 

Junction and via Belt Line tracks to SOUTH ROANOKE.....  The normal 

position of switch west  end of Y, SOUTH ROANOKE,will be left setting in 

position for the movement of Norfolk Division trains eastward via the Belt 

Line to Walnut Street  for delivery to the Virginian Railroad.  The two 

locals southward over the Winston District and all northward Winston 

District trains will move via Campbell and Walnut Streets, and southward 

trains will get a clearance card or 31 order at Walnut Street 

Tower.  Switch at SOUTH ROANOKE will be handled by the operator. ....."


Were these movements just for handling interchange with the VGN, or were 

they N&W movements using some form of trackage rights? Note that 1919 would 

be after the end of USRA operations.


I believe that during USRA operations, that traffic ran much as it does 

today - eastbound on the VGN and westbound on the N&W. According to Mason 

Cooper in "Norfolk & Western Electrics" the N&W had seen the benefits of 

this arrangement and worked in the early 20's to make it permanent by 

leasing or buying the VGN.


Does anyone else have more definitive info on this question? What do 

employee timetables from that period have to say?


Ron Davis


At 09:14 PM 10/31/2004, you wrote:

>Does anyone know if N&W trains ran over the VGN (and vice versa) during 

>the era of the U.S. Railroad Administration?


>-- abram burnett





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