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CSX North Mountain Subdivision

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CSXT North Mountain Subdivision


CSXT Virginia Network
Typical traffic and volume
Timetable
Listening in
Photos
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Description of line
The scenic North Mountain Subdivision runs west from Charlottesville to Clifton Forge. The line crosses the NS at grade at JC Cabin, adjacent to Charlottesville Union Station, now used by Amtrak. Once the line leaves Charlottesville, the grades intensify on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge. One notable structure on the eastern end is the high bridge over Mechum's River. See photos. The "Mountain" crosses the Blue Ridge in the 3000-foot-long Blue Ridge tunnel, just west of Afton. At the eastern portal of the tunnel the opening to the original bore dating from the 1850s can be seen. Originally, there was another tunnel east of the Blue Ridge, at Greenwood Station. This one has been bypassed, but the sealed entrances can been observed in wintertime.

West of the Blue Ridge tunnel, the line passes through Waynesboro, where some traffic is interchanged with the NS. To the west, across the Shenandoah Valley, lies Staunton with its connection to the Shenandoah Valley Railroad. Just west of the C&O station in Staunton lies the yard where the Virginia Central's excursion fleet and steam locos are stored. West of Staunton the line becomes mountainous once more, as the line threads its way through Buffalo Gap. After passing through Buffalo Gap, it turns southwest and reaches the crest of North Mountain summit at 2082 feet, only five feet lower than the Alleghany summit. West of Goshen the line passes through Panther Gap and then on to Millboro, where there are a pair of tunnels. The North Mountain sub joins the James River sub at JD Cabin before continuing west to the station and yard at Clifton Forge.

The single-track line is dispatched by CTC. There are controlled sidings at Ivy, Crozet, Afton, Brand, Lagrange, North Mountain, Craigsville, Bells Valley and Goshen. There are no talking detectors on the line, although these may be installed soon.

The North Mountain Sub is accessible from parallel roads, grade crossings and overpasses over much of its length, with the exception of west of Millboro.


Typical traffic and volume

The North Mountain Sub, once the western leg of the old C&O main line through Charlottesville, was nearly eliminated as a through route in the early 1990s. The North Mountain Sub, the preferred route for passenger trains, once hosted the C&O's name trains: The FFV, the George Washington and the Sportsman. In a dramatic turnaround, the line has enjoyed a marked revival lately. CSX uses the line as a safety valve for the James River line, as a handful of empty grain and coal trains, usually about four to six daily, are routed "over the Mountain" to relieve congestion on the River line. Another factor in the retention of the line is the presence of Amtrak's thrice-weekly Cardinal, symboled P050/P051 on CSX. If both Amtrak trains are on time they will meet at La Grange. Meets between #50 and coal empties are quite common at Afton and Brand. Due to short sidings, the empty trains usually hold the main. On very rare occasions, #51 will perform a "zig-zag" meet with a westbound empty train. Traffic has increased since the completion of the "AM Connection" in Richmond, which allows traffic from North Carolina direct access to the routing through Charlottesville.

A Clifton Forge-based local (H740/H741) works the line east to Charlottesville on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a 6AM call in Clifton Forge. This train commonly works west out of Charlottesville the next day after the crew has their rest. The biggest shippers on the line are a woodyard at Goshen and interchange coal traffic for Dupont in Waynesboro. The only regular customer east of Waynesboro is the University of Virginia's steam plant. On-line traffic being sparse, this line's future is by no means certain.


Timetable

C&O Business Unit--North Mountain Subdivision

Charlottesville to Clifton Forge--Westward
M.P.*StationsTracksNotes
179.6
Charlottesville Yard

CTC
Yard
181.4
Charlottesville.....
182.3
JC Cabin............
NS, A
188.9
Ivy.................
4580' siding
194.8
Crozet..............
3940' siding
203.8
Afton...............
4240' siding
207.9
Basic...............
208.6
Waynesboro..........
NS
217.5
Brand...............
5640' siding
220.9
Staunton............
SV
224.2
LaGrange............
3690' siding
234.0
North Mountain......
4370' siding
243.9
Craigsville.........
5086' siding
248.8
Bells Valley........
3660' siding
252.9 
Goshen..............
3630' siding
266.2
Crane...............
276.0
JD Cabin............

2MT
CTC
James River
Sub
277.6
Clifton Forge.......
Yard
Legend
*Miles from Newport News
NSInterchange
AAutomatic interlocking
CTCCentralized traffic control
2MTTwo main tracks
Listening in
08    Road Channel         160.230
14    Dispatcher           160.320
45    Maintenance of Way   160.785
77/19 PBX (Afton)          161.265/
                                   160.395
Jacksonville AM Dispatcher

Photographs from the North Mountain Subdivision
Click on the thumbnail for a larger image.

1
2
3
4
Charlottesville Yard
Charlottesville Yard
Charlottesville
Charlottesville
5
6
7
8
Charlottesville
Charlottesville
Charlottesville
Charlottesville
9
10
11
12
Charlottesville
Charlottesville
Farmington
Ivy
13
14
15
16
Ivy
Ivy
Ivy
Crozet
13
14
15
16
Jarman's Gap
Fishersville
Brand
Craigsville
17
Afton
Brand
Staunton
North Mountain


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