In General
Getting Here


In General

Location / Name:
Shepherdstown WV,  Jefferson County

What's Here:
For now (6/17), a set of N&W CPL Signals
former N&W Shepherdstown depot
NS (former N&W) trestle across the Potomac River
former N&W Antietam MD depot just north of here

GPS Coordinates: 39.427777, -77.804842
ZIP: 25443
Phone A/C: 304

Access by train/transit:

The Scoop:

This page exists for one reason, and one reason only: to show off the last set of Norfolk & Western CPL signals left in these here parts.  A few years ago, we could have included Berryville VA on the list of surviving CPL signals, but they were replaced around 2012 or so. 

As of the date of the creation of this page, early June 2017, their demise is imminent.  The NS C&S guys have the new pads in place, and the mast for the NB set of signals is in place and wired.  Almost the same thing for the SB signal, the pad is in - the mast with the signals just needs to be put in place and wired up.  These signals are at the north end of a 1.32mi long (measured using Google Maps) siding before northbound trains cross the Potomac River on a single track bridge.  The trestle itself is ~1455ft long, only 600ft of which is over water (again, measured using Google Maps).  The trestle is about 3,000ft from the siding.

In addition, a couple of miles north at MP142, there is a set of standard color light signals (142/143) that is being replaced as part of the ATC system being installed all over the nation.

FYI/BTW.... We had run into a NS C&S crew in Hagerstown, but they were from Norfolk VA and were not familiar with the Shepherdstown project, so they couldn't tell us anything about an ETA for the replacement.... darn.

Once the CPL signals are gone, Shepherdstown will not be the photo destination it has enjoyed lately.

In an interesting side note, just next door to where the new NB cantilever signal is going in, is a non-descript building.  A fellow named Dan runs his business out of there - he is a Coal Mine Blacksmith, of which he says there are not many of them left.  His building is made out of old barn parts, and from the inside, you can see the barn style construction.  But that's not why I'm including this little story.  The interesting thing he told me about the signals here, is that the single SB signal (according to the C&S guys working on the project) used to support a semaphore signal.  So who knows how long the case and mast have been there! :-)  In addition, he helped with cleaning out the B&O Roundhouse in Martinsburg, and hauled out something like three or four stationary steam engines weighing around 6 tons apiece, along with all sorts of other cool "things" they were getting rid of..... how cool is that!  In the last years of operation, he says they were powered by air instead of steam, and there was a 200hp air compressor used to supply the air.

Bob Jackson
Jacob Kempf

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:

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

Getting Here

From Frederick MD: take US340 south into Virginia and West Virginia, go thru Harpers Ferry.  A few miles south of there (2.7mi from the 2nd river crossing), keep a lookout for WV230 on your right, and take it.... it snakes about 8.7mi up to Shepherdstown, crossing both CSX lines in the process.

From Shenandoah Junction, take WV16/Ridge Rd north about 4mi to WV480/Kearnysville Pike and bear right onto the road, continue 1.6mi to Shepherdstown - it turns into Duke St.  Take a right onto WV230/West Washington St and follow it around to the railroad crossing where you will see the signals to your right.

From US11 in Martinsburg, take WV45 8.4mi to Shepherdstown.  WV45 is Martinsburg Pike/Pkwy.  Cross Duke St to Princess St and take a right.  A left onto WV230 will put you at the crossing in half a block.

From Hagerstown, you have two choices.  You can head down I-81 to Martinsburg, and then go across WV45, or you can go down MD65, which kinda follows the NS R-O-W, which allows you to jump off at MD68 and MD63 for pictures on the NS mainline.  At Sharpstown, you take a right onto MD34, which will take you into Sheperdstown.  It also takes you by the Antietam depot, which believe it or not, with 50 years in Baltimore, had never been by before chasing the RBB&B Circus Train a few weeks ago! :-)  From the CSX yard in Hagerstown, going down 65 is ~16.5mi.  Going via I-81, it turns into a 29 mile trek, but you can stop off at the Martinsburg train station and catch MARC and Amtrak, and maybe catch the Winchester and Western.



Out with the old.....

The Northbound signals:



The SB signal:



In the picture below, we can clearly see the rounded top of the lamp housing, which makes it a PL-1.

  This picture from Abram Burnett illustrates the difference between the PL models.

In with the new......


  The colorlight signal slated for replacement just south of the Antietam depot.


A southbound NS freight caught by Bob Jackson, prior to the Circus Train coming thru.

Over the Potomac

Just outside of town on the north side is the Potomac River, where the Norfolk Southern crosses.  Bridge piers from two older structures still stand.  This is a picture of the NB Circus Train on May 9th, 2017 caught by Bob Jackson.  My buddy John and I were back down in Shenandoah Junction.  The tighter pictures are taken from the James Rumsey Park, as long as they keep the trees cleared.


former N&W Shepherdstown Depot

The Shepherdstown depot sits between E German and E High Sts, on Audrey Eagle Drive.  The N&W Rwy built the station in 1909.  At the time, the waiting rooms and rest rooms were segregated.  After nearly a half century of service, passenger traffic ended in 1957 and the station was closed, and the railroad used the building for storage.  In 1996 the railroad deeded the passenger station to the town for $1.00, and the building was restored and redesigned as a multiple use facility.  It is sight #48 on the tour map below.

  This is supposed to be a postcard....

former N&W Antietam Depot

This depot is 2.2mi north of Shepherdstown on MD34 / Shepherdstown Pike.

In 1877, the veterans cemetery came under ownership of the federal Government, becoming one of the first National cemeteries to honor our nation's war dead. The Shenandoah Valley Railroad was just coming through on its way to Hagerstown and a small frame site was built near the site of the present station. Shortly afterward, slate curbing and wide walkways were built along along either side of what is now called Sheperdstown Pike or Maryland route 34 from the Station, through Sharpsburg, to the cemetery. Norway maples were planted along both sides of the road to shade the veterans as they walked, and some of those trees still stand today.

The railroad was a boom to the local economy. Not only did it allow travel directly to and from Sharpsburg, it allowed farmers to send produce and livestock more easily by rail, and it delivered mail and goods to local storekeepers. The station stood until 1910 when it was destroyed by fire. The Norfolk and Western railroad, which had earlier acquired the Shenandoah Valley railroad, then built the more commodious current station in 1910/1911? to accommodate the extra visitors to the area, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam.

One can easily picture the station full of activity as each train pulled up. Men unloading freight, rolling barrels over to waiting wagons, people kissing goodbye, and many survivors from the battle meeting and embracing other survivors as they make there way down to the sacred battleground and to later pay respects to there fallen comrades at the National Commentary.

Veterans continued to return for reunions into the 1930's. There was a huge 75th anniversary celebration and reenactment in 1937 attended by President Roosevelt, and certainty many attendees arrived by train. Unfortunately our country's love of cars caused the decline of passenger rail use by the 50's. By 1962 when thousands journey to the area to observe the centennial, the station had been sold to a private individual.

In 1992 the station was saved from demolition due to the efforts of 'Save the Historic Antietam Foundation of Washington County, the MHT, and various entities. It was turned over to the town of Sharpsburg in 1997 who leased it long term to the Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum.


"Little House"

This tiny house supposedly sits on the campus of the Shepherdstown University, and its door only open twice a year.  It's fully furnished :-)  Sight #58 on the map below.

Telephone Poles

This whole line still has almost all of its old telephone poles still in place... they are becoming as rare as the CPL signals if not more so! :-)

Historical USGS Maps

Courtesy of the University of Texas Library, click here for their index page.


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.

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! 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.


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NEW 06/03/2017
Last Modified 04-Jun-2017