Series-- Exploring Railroad History: Roanoke VA

Posted by John Brady on

While Roanoke, Virginia is a bit farther afield (5-6 hrs from Pittsburgh), it it worth exploring if you are a railroad history buff! Several members of the Brady's Crew visited Roanoke this summer.

Roanoke is the former headquarters of the now-defunct Norfolk & Western railway. The Roanoke Shops built the iconic N&W J-class (including #611) engines of the 1940s.  

There are many reminders of Roanoke's history as a railroad hub, and a good place to start is the Virginia Museum of Transportation. 


While not as large as Steamtown, the museum features a variety of engines from Southwest Virginia, including many pieces from the N&W, Norfolk Southern, and Virginian railways.

In addition to the museum, Roanoke is also peppered with a lot of railroad-themed art, including a Love sign!

Even the iconic Hotel Roanoke, built in the 1880s, is connected to the railroad. It was originally built by N&W after the company established its administrative offices in the city.

Have you visited Roanoke, Virginia? Tell us your experience below!

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