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Last Modified: June 28, 2014
Copyright 2004
Norfolk Southern Historical Society,
All Rights Reserved

Norfolk Southern History from 1881 to 1974

A Brief History of the First Norfolk Southern Railroad

Resources:

Magazines and books that refer to the ol' Norfolk & Southern:
-- Magazine and Book Index List
-- N&SHS Newsletter Index of the Eastern Carolina Despatch
-- I.C.C. Historical Railroad Investigation Reports (1911-1966) (DOT Special Collections External Website)
---- ICC Report #1931, Accident near Knightdale, NC on Sept. 13, 1934 & ICC link
---- ICC Report #2530, Accident near Oakboro, NC on Sept. 24, 1941
---- ICC Report #3623, Accident near Midland, NC on March 26, 1955
---- ICC Report #3763, Accident near Edenton, NC on July 5th, 1957

Note to people searching for Employee Records/Retirement Records/Family Genealogy:
NSHS does not have any Norfolk Southern Railway employee records. It is recommended that you contact the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, which you can contact at 844 North Rush, Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 751-4500, or on the web at The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board: http://www.rrb.gov/

System Map:

High-resolution map of the N&S circa 1965:
-- NSMasterMapOct1965.gif (1.76 MB)

Aerial view of Carolina Yard in Chesapeake, VA, photo submitted by P.P. Coulter Jr.

Norfolk Southern Railway All-Time Diesel Roster:
(from Railfan & Railroad Aug. 1996 article "Norfolk Southern Railway" by John F. Sullivan)

NSRy No. Builder Model B/N Dates SRy No. Notes
1-17 EMD GP18 27772-27788 9-10/63 180-196 Rebuilt by SR with high short hood, long hood forward
701-703 GE 70-ton 30013-30015 6/48 701,703 702 to Montpelier & Barre 30, 6/67; 701, 703 retired by SR 1978
661-663 Baldwin DS4-4-660 73361, 2, 5 1, 1, 5/47 --- Retired mid-1960s
1001, 1002 Baldwin DS4-4-1000 72832,72833 1/46 --- Retired mid-1960s
1501-1510 Baldwin DRS6-4-1500 73487-73496 10/47-3/48 --- Retired mid-1960s
1601-1605 Baldwin AS416 75237-75241 5-7/51 --- Retired mid-1960s
1606 Baldwin AS416 75699 9/52 --- Retired upon SR merger
1607-1610 Baldwin AS416 75721-75724 9-10/52 --- Retired upon SR merger
1611-1613 Baldwin AS416 75938-75940 1/54 --- Retired upon SR merger
1614, 1615 Baldwin AS416 76037, 76038 5/55 --- Retired upon SR merger
1616, 1617 Baldwin AS416 76112, 76114 12/55 --- Retired upon SR merger, 1616 to Spencer Shops Museum
2001, 2002 EMD GP38 31782, 31783 6/66 2280, 2281 Rebuilt by SR with high short hood, long hood forward
2003, 2004 EMD GP38 32308, 32309 10/66 2282, 2283 Rebuilt by SR with high short hood, long hood forward
2005-2007 EMD GP38 32491-32493 6-7/67 2884-2886 Rebuilt by SR with high short hood, long hood forward

Freight Cars:

http://www.railgoat.railfan.net/other_cars/ns_cars/index.htm

1970 NS Freight Roster: PDF XLS

Timetables

-- No. 96, June 12, 1929
-- No. 76, Dec. 29, 1929
-- No. 80, May 31, 1931
-- No. 7, Sunday, Dec. 8, 1935
-- No. 94, Oct. 4, 1940 Page1 Page2
-- No. 98, Oct. 18, 1945
-- No. 138, Sept. 29, 1946 - Railbus Schedule between Norfolk & Virginia Beach
-- No. ?, Mar. 30, 1947
-- No. 10, Sunday, May 6, 1951
-- No. 4, Sunday, Nov. 17, 1957
-- No. 1, Sunday, Jan. 14, 1962
-- No. 2, Sunday, July 12, 1964
-- No. 3, March 1, 1970 - said to be the last one before the Southern acquisition.
-- More to be added as they surface.

Timeline

January 20, 1870 - The Elizabeth City & Norfolk Railroad is chartered.
1881 - The line opens running from Berkerly, VA to Elizabeth City and on to Edenton, NC.
Febuary 1, 1883 - Name changed to the Norfolk Southern Railroad.
1910 - Albemarle trestle is built thus ending 8 years of carfloat ferry operations from Edenton to Mackey, NC.
1914 - NS builds a line from Varina on the former Raleigh & Southport Railway to Colon and from Mount Gilead to Charlotte creating a continuous line from Norfolk to Charlotte.
May 27, 1920 - NS leases the Durham & South Carolina Railroad gaining access to Durham. The connection from Bonsal to Duncan was built around this time.
1937 - Norfolk Southern retires the last American Standard type (4-4-0) steam engine, #52.
1940 - Norfolk Southern receives last steam engines, 5 Berkshire type 2-8-4, #600-604 from Baldwin Locomotive Works.
1941 - NS retires the last locomotive in wheel arrangement 2-6-0, #116.
January 21, 1942 - Company was reorganized for the last time as the Norfolk Southern Railway.
December 30, 1946 - #661, the first of three diesel yard switchers arrives, thus beginning the dieselization of the Norfolk Southern Rwy.
1948 - NS sells 2-8-0 #203 to the Atlantic & Western. Today this is the sole remaining NS steam engine on display as A&W #12 in Sanford, NC. At the end of 1948, there were 31 steam locomotives and 18 diesels.
1950 - Controversial sale of the 600-series steam locomotives to the Domestic & Foreign Commerce Co. of Washington, DC. Later to Mexico (NdeM).
1951 - First year that diesel locomotives outnumber steam, 23 to 21.
January 12, 1954 - Last steam locomotive to operate in revenue service. Morning yard job 2-8-0 #538 at Glenwood Yard in Raleigh.
January 29, 1954 - NS retires all steam locomotives following the receipt of three additional diesel locomotives, #1611, 1612, 1613. Diesels roster totalled 31.
February 5, 1954 - Diesel 1611 leaves Carolina Yard, Norfolk, VA with six retired steam locomotives in tow. They are:

#133 4-6-0 Baldwin, 1913
#205 2-8-0 Baldwin, 1910
#215 2-8-0 Baldwin, 1916
#538 2-8-0 Baldwin, 1926
#542 2-8-0 Baldwin, 1926
#544 2-8-0 Baldwin, 1927

September 29, 1961 - NS moves headquarters from Norfolk, VA to Raleigh, NC.
January 1, 1974 - Norfolk Southern merges into the Southern Railway system after the Southern buys the NS.

Company officers
Presidents of Norfolk Southern:

* William E. Philips -- President, EC&N RR (1881-1882)
* William E. Philips -- President, NS RR (1883-1889)
* Watson B. Dickerman -- Receiver, NS RR (1889-1891)
* Watson B. Dickerman -- President, N&S RR (1891-1899)
* John Carstensen -- President, N&S RR (1900-1904)
* A.H. Flint -- President, N&S RR (1904-1905)
* Marsden J. Perry -- President, N&S RR (1905-1906)
* Frank S. Gannon -- President, N&S RR (1906-1908)
* Thomas Fitzgerald -- Receiver, N&S Ry (1908)
* Harry K. Walcott -- Receiver, N&S Ry (1908-1910)
* Hugh M. Kerr -- Receiver, N&S Ry (1908-1910)
* E.T. Lamb -- President, NS RR (1910-1912)
* Charles H. Hix -- President, NS RR (1912-1914)
* Joseph H. Young -- President, NS RR (1914-1918)
* R.H. Swartwout -- President, NS RR (1918-1919)
* George R. Loyall -- President, NS RR (1920-1932)
* G.R. Loyall & L.H. Windholz --Receivers, NS RR (1932-1933)
* M.H. Hawkins & L.H. Windholz --Receivers, NS RR (1933-1942)
* L.A. Beck -- President, NS Ry (1942-1947)
* J.T. Kingsley -- President, NS Ry (1947-1953)
* Patrick B. McGinnis served as Chairman of the Board during this time with Washington D.C. promoter, Joseph T. Kingsley. He later went on to Central of Georgia Railway for a while, then to the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad and later President of the Boston and Maine Railroad.
* G.M. Self -- President, NS Ry (1953-1954)
* J.R. Prichard -- President, NS Ry (1954-1956)
* Henry Oetjen -- President, NS Ry (1956- ?)

 

Other Website Resources

These other websites describe the History of the Norfolk Southern Railway. With all due respect, here they are:

N&SHS member Bill Seller's History of the Local Railroads (Beaufort and Washington Counties, NC):
http://www.beaufort-county.com/sellersrr/
http://www.ncroots.com/SellersMem.htm - Memories of Washington, NC
http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/exhibits/tobacco/htmlFiles/TMAP.html - Article about Greenville's tobacco district

Bob Spruill has graciously sent this document to us. It describes Mackey's Ferry, NC:
NORFOLK & SOUTHERN RAILROAD AT MACKEYS FERRY.pdf - This will open up in Microsoft Word.

Steamlocomotive.com's page on the N&S Berkshires 2-8-4 steam engines