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Historical Overview of the CSXT Shenandoah Division

The Shenandoah Division of CSX Transportation is a fictitious division representing the late 1980s and early 1990s era of what was once the Carolina, Shenandoah, and Ohio Railway.  The CS&O was a bridge and coal route in the shape of a “Y”.  One leg of the “Y” originated at Connellsville, PA, traveled through the mountains of the Virginias to arrive at Salem, VA en route to Winston-Salem and ultimately Wadesboro, NC.  The other leg of the “Y” originated in Winchester, VA and intersected the first leg near Salem, VA.  Along the way, the CS&O interchanged with several railroads, including those of two local model railroad friends:  Jan Poff’s Delaware, Susquehanna, and Potomac; and Marcus Neubacher’s Charleston, Roanoke, and Eastern (NS CR&E Division). The DS&P interchange is at Winchester, VA, while interchange is made with the CR&E at both Shenandoah Junction, VA and Salem, VA.  Salem also was the site of the Shenandoah’s headquarters and shops, along with a major classification yard. (See the division map in the operations section.)

The CS&O was jointly owned by the ACL (40%), the C&O (40%), and the SAL (20%) from 1923 until the consolidation of the Seaboard System and the Chessie System to form CSX Transportation in July 1986.  The joint owners operated the railroad as the Shenandoah Valley Line Railroad (SVL).  The railroad ceased to exist as a separate entity and became the CSX’s Shenandoah Division in July 1986.  Salem continues to be division headquarters today, but dispatching functions were ultimately transferred to the Dufford Transportation Center in Jacksonville, FL.  The Salem Shops have also remained open, as a “relief valve” for Cumberland, Huntington, and Waycross and to serve local and helper power in the Shenandoah Valley area.  Although operations had been closely integrated into the CSX Corporation family since 1980, the Shenandoah Valley Line continued to be operated as a relatively independent business unit.  Furthermore, locomotives and rolling stock began to be repainted into CSX colors after the July 1986 consolidation, although Shenandoah Valley Line motive power and freight cars continue to be seen roaming the CSX system.

The Shenandoah Valley Line/Shenandoah Division is heavily based on the Clinchfield Railroad, but with even more merchandise traffic, especially piggyback, double stack, and autorack traffic.  The WM, ACL/SAL/SCL, and C&O/Chessie also have strong influences on my vision of the pre-CSX SVL, while the current era Shenandoah Division is also influenced by the ex-B&O from Cumberland to Point of Rocks, the ex-L&N from Cincinnati to Atlanta and Cincinnati to Louisville, the ex-C&O from Lynchburg and Charlottesville to Alleghany, the ex-ACL from Richmond to Rocky Mount, the ex-SAL from Hamlet to Bostic, and of course the entire ex-CRR.  The Shenandoah Division hauls a large amount of coal for CSX, and it is an important freight route from the Midwest and Northeast to the South.  Since CSX single-tracked the former ACL between Richmond and Rocky Mount, some of the New York and Philadelphia area to Atlanta traffic now moves via the Shenandoah Division.  In addition, Midwest (Chicago, Detroit, and Cincinnati area) traffic moves from Connellsville down the Shenandoah because of congestion on the busy ex-L&N routes from Cincinnati to Atlanta.  Of course, West Virginia and Virginia coal continues to be shipped on the Shenandoah to both power plant and export customers.


This page was last updated on 01/01/11.


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