Intensity of freight traffic?

nw-modeling-list at nw-modeling-list at
Thu Aug 3 14:08:29 EDT 2006

I'm trying to get some idea of the intensity of freight traffic on the
N&W main lines during the period 1954-1958.

For instance, in a normal daytime period of, say, 3 hours, how many
freight trains would a railfan situated on Blue Ridge be able to
observe? How many of these would be coal drags, how many would be time
freights, and so on.

It's easy to work out from the passenger timetables that there were
only 14 passenger trains in total crossing Blue Ridge during the whole
day. Unless you chose your time carefully, you might not see even one
of them. Despite the Arrow and the Pocahontas, the real attraction for
many railfans must surely have been the freights and the magnificent
articulateds which pulled them.

Besides Blue Ridge, other parts of the mainline which especially
interest me are the New River valley at Narrows VA, and the area of
Williamson WV.

Incidentally, are there available any track-plans of the Roanoke,
Bluefield, and Williamson freight yards, as they were in the mid '50s?

Many thanks to anyone who can satisfy my curiosity on these matters.

Regards to you all,

Frank Hung

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