Durham District in the 50's

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sun Apr 3 17:49:10 EDT 2005

Good afternoon Mr. Edwards,
I am from Roxboro and it sounds as if we are about the same age. I remember  
hearing the sounds of horns of the trains as they crossed Hwy 49 N and Depot 
St  just down from Downtown several times a day, especially in the late 
afternoon  just after school let out.  I have a little information and I  invite 
others on the mail list to fill in the gaps or correct any  mistakes.
The Employee Time Table No. 11, effective June 19, 1949 lists the  following 
Daily passenger trains from Lynchburg Union Station to Durham Union  Station
Train #37, left Lynchburg 8:00 am, ar. Woodsdale 10:22 am, ar.  Durham 11:45 
Train #35, left Lynchburg 12:35 pm, ar. Woodsdale 2:59  pm, ar. Durham 4:05 pm
Daily passenger trains from Durham Union Station  to Lynchburg Union Station
Train #36, left Durham 3:00 pm, ar. Woodsdale 4:06 pm,  ar. Lynchburg 6:30 pm

Train #38, left Durham 5:00 pm, ar. Woodsdale 6:10 pm,  ar. Lynchburg 8:45 pm
Daily scheduled freight trains
Train # 93, left Lynchburg 10:10 pm, ar. Woodsdale 3:40 am, ar. Durham 6:00  

    This is listed as a 3rd class daily freight.
Train # 71, left Lynchburg 8:25 am, ar. Woodsdale 1:45 pm, ar. Durham 4:45  
Train # 72, left Durham 6:30 am, ar. Woodsdale 8:45 am,  ar. Lynchburg 2:45 
    These trains are listed as 4th class local freight  that ran daily except 
Trains 37 and 38 were discontinued in 1950.  They are absent from  Time Table 
No. 13, effective June 1, 1950.  Woodsdale is listed as a flag  stop on this 
time table while on No. 11 it was still a scheduled stop.
Trains 35 and 36 last ran on August 28, 1954.  This was  documented in the 
Roxboro paper, The Courier=Times and the Durham Morning Herald  and are absent 
from Time Table No. 7, effective August 29, 1954.  On the  following Monday, 
Trains 71 and 72 were upgraded to mixed class trains by having  a combine 
attached to the end and selling tickets. 
Trains 71 and 72 were converted back to local freight at the end  1957.  I 
think Dec. 31st was the last day of mixed train service as Time  Table No. 13, 
effective January 1, 1958 has these trains moved back to 4th class  local 
In December, 1959 trains 71 and 72 were renumbered 47 and 48.
I do not know when regular freight service was discontinued in the Durham  
District.  I am still working on that one.  I know that N&W closed  the Roxboro 
Station on Nov. 25, 1987.  The station was demolished in  October of 1990.  
The N&W agent in South Boston became responsible  for freight in Roxboro and the 
surrounding area. The track was abandoned south  of Roxboro all the way to 
Durham.  It was torn up just south of Picks  Siding and past Helena 
(Timberlake).  From that point on to the old  Durham Belt line the track is still intact 
with old mile posts and switch stands  standing quietly in the woods.  There is 
still periodic freight service to  the Camp Chemical Plant in south Roxboro.  
They make fertilizer and are a  receiving and shipping point for beans and 
other farm  products. I think they get a couple or three covered hoppers a week, 
 maybe more. At the edge of their property there is a sign from N&W that  
says "End of Track."
In a posting some time last summer or fall it was mentioned that  the writer 
was on a work crew that was doing track maintenance in the  Durham District.  
Hopefully someone can tell us more about the condition of  the rail bed. 
I hope this is helpful.
Thank you, 
Chuck Stewart
Studying the Lynchburg and Durham RR
in Bahama (pronounced Bay-Hay-Ma), NC
_ces9705 at aol.com_ (mailto:ces9705 at aol.com) 

In a message dated 3/30/05 5:47:00 PM Eastern Standard Time,  
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org writes:

When I was a child, mid-50's to mid-60's, my family would  visit my aunt & 
uncle in Woodsdale N.C. My uncle, Robert Robertson, was  (among other things) 
the N&W agent for Woodsdale at some point during that  time. I vaguely remember 
the RS-3's, but have a good memory of the RS-11's. My  relatives lived just 
up/over the hill from the crossing. I remember dashing  out of the house & 
running to the top of the hill to try to catch a  glimpse of the train as it passed 
the crossing. I had to be quick because  there weren't any crossings north 
that would alert me to an approaching train.  If the wind was right I could 
sometimes hear a southbound train "blow" for a  crossing somewhere between 
Woodsdale & Denniston.  I remember the  line being very active with several trains 
during the day & one or two (?)  at night. I remember the rails were "heavy 
duty" & very shiney (child's  thinking) & much better looking than the lighter 
rails in my hometown of  Courtland (A&D/NF&D).
Now, the station is long gone, preserved as  part of a restaurant in Roxboro. 
The jointed rail is still there, never having  been replaced with 
ribbon-rail. The ROW is weedy & the line seems to be  seldom used past the Hyco & Mayo 
power plants.
How many trains were  operated on the Durham District during the 50's - 60's 
time period? What were  their numbers & what times did they operate? Are there 
any currently  scheduled locals that work/serve customers all the way to  

Thank you,
Herb Edwards
hedwards52 at aol.com  

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