"Takin' Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sun Apr 11 21:23:19 EDT 2010

Oh yes, all of those. And you can add Christiansburg, Welch, Kenova and Ironton. Christiansburg and Ironton were conditional stops (you had to be going some distance - not just to the next stop). Between Norfolk and Roanoke there were also Suffolk and Crewe. All in all there were 12 stops between Norfolk ansd Cincinnati at the start in 1946. The stop at Farmville apparantly was added later, but Farmville was definitely a stop by 1953   .    Jim Nichols


Thank you, Jim, for setting the record straight regarding the Powhatan Arrow’s stops.  I now consider myself properly informed!  That’s one of the things I enjoy most about the discussions of this group. 
How fortunate you were to have the opportunity to ride the N&W back and forth during your college days.  I was just an infant when N&W ceded its remaining passenger operations to Amtrak, so I could only fantasize about riding the N&W from Norfolkto Blacksburgwhen I was a student at Tech.
I’m not sure where I got the notion that the Arrow stopped only at Roanokebetween Norfolkand Cincinnati.  Perhaps I was getting facts confused with Roanokebeing where the J’s on point were changed out for service.  There was some really good discussion on that topic on this list a few weeks ago.
If you don’t mind sharing further, what were the stops of the Powhatan Arrow between Roanokeand Cincinnati?   [Bluefield(apparently) …Williamson?  …Portsmouth?]
Thanks again,
-David Rice
Well, no. The Powhatan Arrow stopped in Farmville (as did all other passenger trains). I know, because I used to ride it from Bluefield when going back to college at Hampden-Sydney. The only other possibility might have been troop trains, as they would have no need to stop at Farmville. However, it becomes a matter of traffic density, so they probably would have been routed through Farmville as well.
As for intermediate stops between Norfok and Roanoke, the Powhatan Arrow also stopped at Petersburg and Lynchburg.
Jim Nichols


Jim –
There’s about a mile of thick, thick swamp separating the N&W line from the VGN and SAL lines in the vicinity of Algren; there’s absolutely no way to see the N&W from the VGN other along there.
I would be interested to know if there were any instances of N&W passenger trains bypassing Farmville on the belt line.  I believe, as you indicate, that passenger traffic was typically routed over the old “High Bridge” line through Farmville, and the belt line, with its more favorable grades was used mainly for heavier tonnage.  Nevertheless, since the Powhatan Arrow did not make any intermediate stops between Norfolk and Roanoke, I would suppose routing it over the belt line around Farmville would not pose a problem for passengers. 


What was the Powhatan Arrow doing there? It ran on the old main line through Farmville.    Jim Nichols
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