Track diagram for Norlina prior to 1960 : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I preparing a HO model layout of the Norlina, NC area and would like assistance of the track layout prior to 1960. I would prefer the 1930-40 era, but can use any time frame other than the 1960's. Secondly, does any one know the length of the SAL tressel crossing the Gaston Lake in VA.?

-- nelson whitley (, June 07, 1999


There's a 1946 photo of the Norlina coaling tower and water tower in Price's SAL book, p. 237. Off to the side in the photo is part of the yard.

I remember that, in the 50s, Norlina had a large Y-intersection using the Richmond and Portsmouth main lines as arms of the Y, which could be used to turn trains.

-- Jim Hecht (, February 09, 2000.

The bridge over Lake Gaston is a garden variety plate girder bridge with the crossties bolted directly to the plate girders. The last time I stood on the bridge a couple of years ago, all the crossties appeared to still be in place.

-- larry walter (, December 09, 1999.

There's a section in Bill Griffin's book ALL LINES NORTH OF RALEIGH, a history of the SAL Virginia Division,featuring the Norlina Subdivision. There are exerts from Timetable No.1, Dec. 19,1943. There are a couple of photos taken in the '40's, and one from 1902. You also might try looking at the valuation maps, mentioned in another question on this site,"Early Depots". Good Luck!

-- Russell Underwood (, December 04, 1999.

When making your model remember that Gaston Lake and dam was still under construction in 1963.

-- Randall Bass (, December 01, 1999.

Further regarding my June 9 answer-- in preparation for a trip to Wise, NC, I purchased a U.S.Geological Survey map which shows the Lake Gaston trestle. I scaled off the distance from the north abutment to the south abutment and it is approximately 2950 feet long -- significantly shorter than I originally advised. The lake level at the trestle is 200' above sea level and there is a bench mark on the south abutment which is 224' above sea level. The map shows a penninsula extending in a southeastward direction which is crossed by I-85 and the trestle. The body of water north of the penninsula is identified as the Roanoke River and south of the penninsula it's Lake Gaston, so the trestle actually spans two bodies of water.

-- Harry Bundy (, November 30, 1999.

Regarding the length of the Lake Gaston trestle -- for lack of a better reference, I consulted SAL's VIRGINIA DIV. TIME TABLE NO. 1 eff. 10/27/63 for any speed restriction between Bracey (Mile Post 86.4) and Paschall (Mile Post 91.3) and find that the maximum speed for Psgr + Express trains for engine series 3000 + 3100 was 50 MPH between Mile Post 86.2 and Mile Post 87.1, so it was approximately nine-tenths of a mile. As I recall it was an innovative design known as a ballasted deck trestle -- the piling supported a trough that con- tained ballast so that the track could be laid just as on terra firma. The advantage was that made-to-order bridge cross ties did not have to be cut. The disadvantage was that the ballasted deck trestle did not drain very well.

-- Harry Bundy (, June 08, 1999.

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