Location / Name:
Downtown Roanoke VA, NO County (Roanoke is an independent city within the boundary of surrounding Roanoke County
NS North Yard
Metal Scrap Yard that often has signals
GPS Coordinates: as needed
Phone A/C: 540
Access by train/transit:
Amtrak Northeast Regional
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:
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
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.
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
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