Roanoke, VA

I will be spending the next few days at the Hotel Roanoke for a business meeting and am curious if anyone can point me towards the better hobby shops or rail attractions in the area? I enjoyed the transportation museum during the last visit.


David Campbell Norton, VA

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David R. Campbell
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They have redone some of the Transportation Mus. I have been told, the N&W 1218 is next to the 611 & are under a big roof type shed. try Rick's Hobby Shop or The Rail Yard, I have been to both. Older stuff mainly & some custom items in both places. jaijef

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I was there last week - you are correct; 611 and 1218 are shined up and under the new shed - along with some other stock including IIRC a Virginian electric.

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As other's have mentioned, the two good shops are Rick's Hobby Shop and the Rail Yard, both on Williamson Rd. a mile or so NE of the airport. Both shops are similar (the owners used to be partners) with perhaps slightly more emphasis on 3 rail O gauge, but also a good selection of HO.

When in Roanoke, I always like to drive east from the Hotel Roanoke on Norfolk Ave on the south side of the old N&W main to see what's going on at the Roanoke Shops, and to drive west on Shenandoah Ave on the north side of the old N&W along the yards to the Shaffer's Crossing engine terminal. At the NW corner of Shaffer's Crossing, on the hill just below the large oil storage tanks, is an employee's parking lot that overlooks the terminal area, and where they often change crews on westbound trains bypassing the yard. I never have had any trouble parking in that lot or stepping out of the car to take a pix. Another view point is to pass south under Shaffer's Crossing and turn back east up the hill and follow your nose into the parking lot for the elevated yardmaster's tower.

When you're near the yardmaster's tower, you are also close to the N&W Historical Society's archive and library - see

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They have very limited hours, but it is worth a stop if your schedules match. Just a short walk east from the Hotel Roanoke is the old N&W passenger station which is being refurbished as a museum to house the collection of O. Winston Link photographs. I don't believe it is open yet, but you could check progress. Gary Q

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Gareth Quale

Thanks to all.


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David R. Campbell

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