Hi Giac......To clear up the "route" question and names in general, it goes like this.
Monroe is just north of Lynchburg, Virginia and was the railyard location. The Southern (now Norfolk Southern) tracks run down to the NC/VA border where Danville is loacted. White Oak Mountain is about 15 miles to the north of Danville. The Spencer is Spencer, North Carolina where the railroad had large engine shops and a yard (now a museum).
We went through this on another thread somewhere, but that's pretty much the gist of it. Hope it helps.
Also, the line in verse 8 about the "air was bad" leads into the "lost his air brakes" so I would say that is probably the line rather than "leverage." Whaddaya' think?