Follow-up: CV catenary/Graham wye

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sun Nov 5 12:44:00 EST 2017

Thanks, Joe.

I didn't mean to question whether, only how long the wye was available 
to possibly turn the electrics. Interesting that the wire stayed up 
after the west leg had been stubbed off. Yes, it would appear the '400 
of wire removed put the end of wire at the Montrose Street crossing and 
the 1950 photo could suggest it was pulled back even farther east. The 
timing in 1942 would suggest scrap for the war.

My understanding is that electrics were not used in local service. The 
Graham Shifter worked this area and rated a Class M, not the high HP of 
the electrics. I'm seeing no evidence of wire over any track except the 
CV main to MP367 and the west leg of the wye. Local service by electrics 
would have required quite a bit more wire coverage over side trackage 
and farther west.

As I wrote Bruce and John:

"I'm (still) thinking:

They stopped turning motors (assuming they started) and removed the wye. 
Perhaps turning motors later in their life just wasn't worth the 
trouble. Unlike this wye, Iaeger was a bi-directional junction and that 
wye was used to turn steam.

Unlike the main line, they stopped using motors for helpers on CV trains 
by 1940 (assuming they started) and kept Valley Pushers on past Tip Top. 
The CV wire remained [at least] "just in case" a CV train got caught at 
the bottom of Bluefield Hill without enough power."

Joe, your evidence of wire remaining on the stub track could make it 
(remain) an electric helper pocket.

Grant Carpenter

On 11/3/2017 7:49 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:
> Grant Carpenter wrote:
>> Another plan in Alex and Mason's book shows that the wye track had become
>> an industrial track by 1912, so the wye track was then cleared of car spots
>> and electrified before being taken up (?).
> The wye apparently lasted intact for several years post-electification,
> and appears to have remained electrified for a time even after the the
> west leg switch was removed.
> The NWHS Archives has multiple copies of N&W Mechanical drawing G16696
> entitled "Trolley Sectionalization Plan Elkhorn Grade Exectrification",
> with an original authored date of 12/31/1915. One was revised to 04/29/1919,
> another was revised to 1/25/1923.  Both show the wye track in place as
> electrified, with "Sectionalizing Wood Insulators, Yard Type" just off the
> mainline on both the east (CV main) and west legs of the wye.
> A relevant snapshot of the Graham wye area:
> Further evidence that the wye was electrified:
> N&W engineering drawing 9200A (NWHS document HS-W10054), not yet scanned, and
> unfortunately not dated, shows details of the catenary supports installed (or
> at least proposed) between Bluefield and Bluestone Jct., which also shows the
> CV main and wye.
> Valuation map V-14-VA/10 (NWHS document HS-G00539), which covers the CV main
> in Graham, and updated through at least 1942, shows the remainder of the wye
> still in place.  The change history section of the page shows "Retire part of
> Wye Track" under VPA 3228 in 1926.
> So it would appear the entire wye was in place and electrified until 1926.
> If the only reason for electrifying the wye and 4000' of the CV main was
> to allow turning the electric locos, then one would have expected the N&W
> to remove the electrification from the remains of the wye and the CV main
> in 1926 as well.
> The same valuation map also shows 1942 as the date of retirement of 400' of
> electrification at MP 366.4770' under VPA 10689 (leaving 3600'?)
> The 1926 date for the removal of the west wye switch is not long after the
> date that the Graham Furnace was shut down for the final time. The wires
> extended far enough west down the CV main to potentially allow electrics
> to serve it.
> Did the Graham Furnace have a coal-fired powerhouse? Could the the N&W have
> used electrics and the wye to deliver coal to the Furnace?
> Joe Shaw
> Christiansburg, VA

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