Downtown Roanoke in Roanoke, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The David R. and Susan S. Goode Railwalk
From 1927 through the end of the steam era in 1960, every new N&W steam locomotive was built within the Roanoke Shops. Designed by engineers and draftsmen in the Motive Power building (see photo at left and index to right) then constructed in the shops.
The Shops, aside from new construction, rebuilt, repaired and overhauled locomotives, not only for the N&W, but during the second World War, for a number of other railroads. In addition, the Shops did machine work for various
Roanoke Shops were not just a locomotive facility. Workers built freight cars, rebuilt and repaired passenger and freight cars for over 100 years. All freight car construction work was done outside, until the freight car shop was put under roof in the early 1950s. In that era, long before computers, the Shops could turn out 15-18 brand-new coal carrying cars per eight-hour day. Norfolk Southern closed the car construction shop in 2000. Today, Freight Car America builds cars in Roanoke.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars.
Location. 37° 16.387′ N, 79° 56.329′ W. Marker is in Downtown Roanoke in Roanoke, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of Norfolk Avenue SE and Market Street SE, on the right when traveling west on Norfolk Avenue SE. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Roanoke VA 24011, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Roanoke - A Railroad Town (a few steps from this marker); Operation Fast Freight (a few steps from this marker); The Finest Steam Passenger Locomotive (a few steps from this marker); Power Behind the Nation (a few steps from this marker); Norfolk and Western Railway (a few steps from this marker); Today's Rail Traffic (within shouting distance of this marker); Norfolk and Western Passenger Station (within shouting distance of this marker); The Market Square Walkway (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Downtown Roanoke.
More about this marker. All pictures are Norfolk and Western Railway photos provided for the marker from the collection of Kenneth L. Miller.
Captions, from top:
Brand-new Class J, No. 600 takes shape in the erecting shop in 1941.
It all begins with the designers and draftsmen who create the plans that the shopmen build from.
Many different tasks were involved in locomotive and car construction; this machinist is turning a set of driving wheels on a large lathe.
Next, another machinist using a large drill press is drilling holes for staybolts in the sidesheets of a firebox. The sheets would be curved after the holes are drilled.
Finally, assembly of the myriad of parts begins to take shape as a Class Y6b in 1951.
Caption for picture in lower right: Railroad shop tasks are hard, dirty work. Freight car assembly is not as glamorous as locomotive work and therefore not frequently photographed. Before indoor/covered assembly areas, workers are rebuilding hopper car sides in the open shop line about 1946.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 16, 2009, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,281 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on January 16, 2009, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. 2. submitted on January 15, 2009, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.