RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.
Todd's Railfan Guide
5 Maps for the Roanoke Area
Including Salem, Christiansburg, and Bedford
The Maps for the Roanoke area
are divided up in the following manner:
Homepage and General Information - this page
Map 1 - the South Side - JK Tower area guide PDF Version SIGS
Map 2 - Downtown guide PDF Version SIGS
Map 3 - the West Side guide - North Yard PDF Version SIGS
Map 4 - Salem guide PDF Version
Map 5 - Salem to Christiansburg Chase Map PDF Version
Bedford VA Railfan Guide SIGS
All 6 Roanoke maps in one PDF
This set of guides for the Roanoke VA area includes Salem, Bedford, three for Roanoke, and a chase map from Salem to Christiansburg, about 20 miles to the south.
In my opinion, Roanoke is a very under rated town for railfans. When I hear railfans talk about places they want to visit to railfan, I almost never hear Roanoke mentioned. Which is indeed unfortunate. The railroad is an important part of the landscape throughout the area, especially downtown.
Once outside of Roanoke, the scenery and backdrops are nothing short of fantastic with the mountains and numerous curves, rivaling the trek of the Clinchfield through Tennessee and North Carolina.
Roanoke was at one time the headquarters of the Norfolk and Western Railway. As a result, there is still a lot in the area to do and see.
The town and the Norfolk Southern, in addition to many other agencies and groups, put together a great Railwalk in the downtown area, which I haven't seen any other town do. It is a must see, and also provides a safe and convenient place to railfan from.
With all of the history the town offers, there is also the Virginia Transportation Museum, with quite a good collection of equipment. If you stop downtown, the museum and Railwalk are next to each other, and parking is free in front of the museum. On the "other" side of the tracks is a museum dedicated to O. Winston Link, one of the most famous period photographers of the 50's and 60's!
On the south side of town, the NRHS has finally been able to save a couple of steamers that had been hidden away for years on a small siding.
All three towns have a station, ex N&W in Salem and Christiansburg, and a former Virginian depot getting ready to be restored in Roanoke.
Of course, there are many other non railroads things to do and see. Among them are the Roanoke Star, which offers the visitors a commanding view of town, and access to the Blue Ridge parkway.
Bedford is home to the National D-Day Memorial and an ex N&W depot, which has been a restaurant since 2001. They offer homestyle cooking at reasonable prices and great cheesecake! Check it out after visiting the memorial, they're open till 9pm. See the link below.
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.
My RSUS 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.
Links for attractions in the immediate Roanoke area:
The VA Transportation Museum: http://www.vmt.org/
The O. Winston Link Museum: http://www.linkmuseum.org/
The Roanoke Chapter of the NRHS: http://www.nrhs.com/chapters/roanoke.htm
The Norfolk Southern:
Links for attractions outside the Roanoke area:
The Buckingham Branch Railroad in Dillwyn VA: http://www.buckinghambranch.com/
The Lynchburg / Blue Ridge Chapter of the NRHS: http://www.blueridgenrhs.org/
The Olde Liberty Railroad station in Bedford:
Other stuff, guides, and area photo sites:
Henry's Roanoke Railfan Page: http://kednhed.googlepages.com/
A great collection of (mostly) Virginian railroadiana, and the signals of Aubrey Wiley: http://junkmanwiley.blogspot.com/
Gary's Rail Photography Page: http://members.trainorders.com/mully/
Rails in VA by Jeff Hawkins: http://members.trainorders.com/varailfan/main.html
NS New River Districts by Joe Shaw: http://www.krunk.org/ns-nrv/
About 30 miles to the east is Bedford. Bedford is home to two great items of interest. The first is the National D-Day Memorial. I happen to live in an area where we are inundated by memorials in DC, Gettysburg, Philadelphia, and of course, Baltimore. But I have to say that I was never so impressed by one in my life when my wife and I recently stopped there. Please check out their website at: http://www.dday.org/ .
While Googling around for info on Roanoke, I came across a reference to a Railpace article in the Feb 2009 issue that covers the Roanoke to Shenandoah area, I haven't seen it, so I can't say anything about it, if anyone has, please let me know.
Radio Freqs For Roanoke
AAR 72 - 161.190 - NS (ex N&W) Channel 1 - Road
AAR 76 - 161.250 - NS (ex N&W) Channel 2 - Yard
AAR 22 - 160.440 - NS (ex N&W) Channel 3 - Road
AAR 73 - 161.205 - NS Police (Systemwide)
AAR 18 - 160.380 - NS MOW
AAR 88 - 161.430 - NS Hump Yardmaster
AAR 85 - 161.385 - NS 15th Street Yardmaster
AAR 62 - 161.040 - NS Shaffer's Crossing Locomotive Shop
AAR 64 - 161.070 - NS East End Locomotive Shop
AAR 57 - 160.965 - NS East End Car Shop
AAR 93 - 161.505 - NS Fuel Track
AAR 66 - 161.100 - NS Mechanical Department
AAR 78 - 161.280 - NS West Yard Car Foreman
AAR 10 - 160.260 - NS Material Yard
AAR 11 - 160.275 - NS ARN Roanoke
AAR 61 - 161.025 - NS Roanoke-Crewe "Lynchburg" dispatchers
Thanks to Jesse B. for some of the info posted here.
Last Modified 28-Feb-2014