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Roanoke, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Norfolk Southern Research Car #31

 
 
Norfolk Southern Research Car #31 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, April 24, 2021
1. Norfolk Southern Research Car #31 Marker
Inscription.  
Manufacturer: Pullman Manufacturing Company, 1925
Other names: Pullman Car 2483, Southern R-21

Built in 1925, the Norfolk Southern (NS) Research Car 31 was originally built as a passenger car. In the mid-1960s, Southern Railway converted it to a track geometry car, also known as a track recording car. It was likely renumbered when Southern Railway merged with Norfolk & Western (N&W) Railway to create Norfolk Southern.

These types of cars are critical for rail safety. They research and monitor track strength and stability. Onboard computers calculate track width, rail wear, track curves, and other track measurements. This car's primary function was to measure rail wear and gauge of the track. Half of the car was used for research and the other half contains living quarters for the crew including a kitchen, dining area and pull down sleeping berths.

NS 31 was an early self-contained track geometry car that was converted in Southern Railway's Haynes Shop in Spartanburg, North Carolina. It incorporated sensing and measuring instruments, data recording equipment, a power unit, and

Norfolk Southern Research Car #31 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, April 24, 2021
2. Norfolk Southern Research Car #31 Marker
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extra weight to deflect the track. Unfortunately, the extra weight caused problems with cracking in the wheel frames, so this car was replaced by NS Research Cars 33 and 34.

In 2007, the Museum loaned Research Car 31 back to Norfolk Southern. NS updated the car with new technological equipment such as lasers and used it to test railroad tracks for two years before returning it to the VMT.
 
Erected by Virginia Museum of Transportation, Inc.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Railroads & StreetcarsScience & Medicine. A significant historical year for this entry is 1925.
 
Location. 37° 16.401′ N, 79° 56.804′ W. Marker is in Roanoke, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Norfolk Avenue Southwest just west of 3rd Street Southwest, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 303 Norfolk Ave SW, Roanoke VA 24016, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Trailer Train Flatcar #470534 and Sea-Land Containers (here, next to this marker); Norfolk & Western ALCO C630 Diesel-Electric #1135 (here, next to this marker); Amoco Oil ARA III Tank Car AMOX #9465 (a few steps from this marker); Whitcomb 30DM31 Diesel Switcher (a few steps from this marker); Norfolk & Western EMD SD45 #1776 (a few steps

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from this marker); Depressed Center Flatcar APWX #1002 (a few steps from this marker); Celanese Porter Fireless #1 (within shouting distance of this marker); Virginia Central Porter Rod Driven Locomotive #3 (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Roanoke.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 30, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 30, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 35 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 30, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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May. 14, 2021