Location / Name:
Downtown Roanoke VA, NO County (Roanoke is an independent city within the boundary of surrounding Roanoke County

What's Here:
NS North Yard
Metal Scrap Yard that often has signals

GPS Coordinates: as needed
Phone A/C: 540
ZIP: 24016

Access by train/transit:
Amtrak Northeast Regional

The Scoop:

This page for Roanoke covers the west side of town, which includes the (huge) main Norfolk Southern yard: North Yard. 

The main focus of this side of town is North Yard, quite a sprawling affair.  It's difficult to shoot well except from "tower" hill.  The tower for this yard sits way on top of a hill that overlooks the entire yard, and I have to say, it is a fantastic view from up there!  A commanding view of the yard can be had from the parking lot of the tower, and to date, I have never been bothered by anyone taking pictures from the base of the tower, but I haven't been to Roanoke for about 8 years (as of 2019).

One of two massive track facilities, a Roadway Material Yard (RMY), hugs the bottom of the west end of the yard (the other is in Bellevue OH).

For a look at the yard from a time when the track coming out of the RMY crossed the Virginian in a diamond (1995),
check out this picture on Terraserver: CLICK HERE

That track, BTW, was originally the Roanoke & Southern to Winston-Salem NC,
more recently known as the N&W Roanoke Belt Line.  It is still intact, but largely unused.

The scrap yard, which is near the railroad yard often had scrap signal the NS was taking down.  Now that most of the signal replacement projects are done and over with, you probably won't find much of anything interesting here.... just a guess.

Thanks to Harry Bundy and Gordon Hamilton for most of the details on this page
Denver Todd

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:
None for now.....



  North Yard Tower

  A birds-eye view "looking over the shoulder" of the tower.


Some of what can be seen from the hill the tower is located on.  The photo on the right isn't in view from the tower location - it is the eastern end of the hump tracks adjacent to 13th St.


  The Through Tracks

Fortunately, the tracks right next to Shenandoah are the thru tracks.  You can't park right on the street, but there are plenty of side streets and business' to pull off the street to catch a few shots.  If you have a pick-me-up, take along a ladder to clear the fence.  The view of the yard is often blocked by a train sitting on the very outside track, as seen in the Snag below from Bing Maps... I love how their stitching is almost perfect between frames :-)


The yard is still blessed with not one, but TWO operational turntables!

  Good Parking Lot for Railfanning

The parking lot is off of Baker, above the two tanks on the left side of the photo.  In all my visits, I have never been bothered while taking pictures from here. This spot is in the Snag below, with the blue and white dot.

  Fueling Tracks

The fueling tracks have the green arrow pointing at them, they can be seen from the vantage point above.

  The Junk Yard

A variety of stuff can be found at this junk yard off the end of 30th St.  Bashed-up freight cars can be routinely found here, and I have purchased (what remains of) old N&W CPL signals from them.  Now that the N&W signal replacement project is pretty much complete, at least here in the state, you probably won't see much of them coming thru here anymore.


For more pictures of N&W CPL pictures, additional pictures of the locations on this map, and the stuff from 1993, check out:

A bracket post installation for trains heading into the downtown area.

Two sets of signals for crossovers by the maintenance building and the parking spot.  The yellow arrow is pointing to the EB signals on a cantilever, while the red arrow points to the WB signals on another cantilever.


You never know what will show up, and the fact that Bing's airplanes seem to catch a lot of these happenings is all the more better for us!


I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in :-)

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

Aerial shots were taken from either Google or Bing Maps as noted.  Screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 

By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given!  Please be NICE!!!  Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.


NEW 10/04/2009, 03/21/2015
Last Modified 01-Jun-2019