RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.
Todd's Railfan Guide
CHRISTIANSBURG to SALEM VA
This chase map covers the area between Salem and Christiansburg Virginia. Exit wise off of Interstate 81, it covers from exit 118 at Christiansburg, to exit 137 in Salem, just three miles shy of I581 that takes you into the downtown area of Roanoke.
The two (formerly) competing lines of the Virginian and the Norfolk & Western intertwine for a few miles south of Salem, and then go off in their separate directions to get to the coal fields. For the most part, the N&W tracks are easier to follow.
Both Christiansburg and Salem have depots still standing, see this map for the location of the one in Christiansburg. The Salem depot is shown on the Salem map. Next to the depot in Christiansburg, there is a small maintenance yard as seen in the photos.
This map is a big improvement over the earlier B&W version which I originally did about 10 years ago.
The 2 satellite photos are from Google maps, which used to have the best coverage for the area, BUT, Bing.com/maps/ , which I usually prefer, has finally done birds eye views of the stretch between Salem and Christiansburg.
As always, if anyone has additional info, pictures, etc to contribute, please check out my contact page here
1 Diuguids Road
This is probably the best spot in Salem to wait for trains, as both lines are within feet of each other. About 1200 feet south of here is a double crossover with signals in both directions.
The double track is the ex Norfolk & Western tracks, the single track ex Virginian.
The signals south of Diuguids Lane, green arrow points to the southern set of signals.
The north signals.
The south signals.
2 Nice Bridge
3 A Bunch of Bridges
There's four bridges here, but they are difficult to access. The Virginian crosses the N&W here. Wouldn't you have loved to have seen the VGN electrics pulling freights thru here!
4 1 Signals and the North End of a VGN Passing Siding
US 13 passes over the ex Virginian right-of-way in the middle of a passing siding. Both ends of the siding are signaled with N&W CPL's. Where there are two tracks, the signals are on bracket post installations. On the north end of the siding, a few feet to the east, is a signaled N&W double crossover.
The SB signal going into the north end of the passing siding..... not accessable.
A NB freight approaches the bracket post signals where it will soon be going back into single track territory as seen in the picture above.
Caught in the Act!..... Both tracks and both sets of signals, with the N&W track on the right. A train is using one of the crossovers.
2 Signals and the South End of the VGN Passing Siding
Signals at the south end of the passing siding, the bracket post mounted signals are at the yellow arrow.
A close-up view of the above picture.
5 Grade Crossing Signals
A unique installation of standard CPL signal components, connected to the track circuits, to indicate the presence of a train in the block to protect a private crossing.
6 Bridge and a Signal Bridge
Above, where the private crossing is, the tracks are adjacent to US 13. Just as the tracks start to veer away from the highway is another bridge, and just south of the bridge is a signal bridge. South of here, the tracks cross under the highway.
There is another teeny bridge between this one and the one above, but it doesn't provide much of a photo oppotunity.
9 Grade Crossing
This spot offers a slightly different setting, being elevated above the "valley" below it. Sight lines to the north is limited if your sitting there and waiting, but if you're chasing a freight, you should be able to make it up here with no problem.
ex-N&W Depot in Christiansburg
Two shots of the depot, now used by NS for the MOW guys.
Also here is a track where you can find something almost all the time, and a set of NB signals.
11 The ex-N&W Freight Shed in Christiansburg
This set of maps was compiled before the Virginian was built.
Last Modified 03-Jan-2014