Franklin Road N&W bridge

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sat Apr 18 07:50:09 EDT 2020


To quote from the Roanoke NRHS “Turntable Times” , Volume 2, Number 11, December 11, 1969

On Tuesday, November 18, 1969, Train #50, northbound from Winston-Salem rolled into Roanoke over the "Franklin Road Underpass." That train was the last one to cross that structure. At 2:10 p.m. the same day, train #53 southbound became the first train to cross the new temporary wood trestle at that location. The lead unit, an SD-35 #1520 plus units 1576 and 1505 pulled 48 cars of merchandise and 32 auto racks across the span under a speed restriction of 5 mph. Caboose #518412 crossed at 2:23 p.m.; 13 minutes later.
As the fill approach to the old underpass was dug away, a six inch layer of cinders could be seen covering the mound of earth much like icing on a cake. Other than several locomotives in the museum and in a scrap yard this deposit is about the only remaining remnant of the steam era around Roanoke. 
The wood pile trestle will be the temporary right of way while the existing plate girder span is removed and replaced. The bridge is being replaced with a new one of three spans as part of the Franklin Road widening project.

We will very soon be saying goodbye to a familiar railroad landmark. 
Bob Simpson 

Not that you asked, but the bridge it replaced was installed in late 1937, replacing a grade crossing.

On the double “N” is only speculation, but my guess is that the painted who stenciled the lettering positioned the first “N” in the wrong place. The supervisor saw it and said “fix that” and it was painted over with the aluminum paint, and the new letter was painted in the right place. In the ensuing years, the aluminum paint has slowly weathered off the original “N” leaving us with sort of a double letter appearance.

Ken Miller

> On Apr 17, 2020, at 9:35 PM, NW Mailing List via NW-Mailing-List <nw-mailing-list at> wrote:
> The Roanoke Public Library has an image of the N&W bridge over Franklin Road (at Graves Humphries) as a single span.  It also shows the deck before the ballast was added...there is a tray!
> Does anyone know when it was lengthened to its current state?  As a single span it had an ampersand (&).  
> Does anyone know why the N in the word "AND" is doubled on one side?
> Mike Shockley
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