New Book

Virginian Railway

Errata Page

 

If you have corrections or comments please forward them to

salmont - at - mindspring.com

 

There have been a number of books and articles published over the years concerning the late great Virginian Railway.  Sadly some of these contained errors or inaccuracies that have been passed down as truths to the uninitiated.  If left uncorrected these inaccuracies linger and taint the historical record of a great American industrial enterprise and the noble efforts of the fine folks who made a living and a life  working for the Virginian.

Friends of the Virginian Railway (an ad hoc, unofficial collection of individuals) strive to protect the accuracy of the historical record.  In that spirit we would like to present corrections to some portions of an important new book about the Virginian Railway:  Images of Rail, The Virginian Railway, published by Arcadia Publishing with credit for authorship given jointly to the Princeton Railroad Museum and Mr. William R. "Bill" Archer.

We encourage individuals to purchase and use this valuable photographic record of the Virginian because the photos are excellent for the most part.  We also encourage the purchasers copy and use this errata sheet.

This errata sheet is still under construction and subject to revision.

 

Boldface type indicates topic under discussion

 

       

Page

Photo

Comment - Correction/Addition

Contributor

10 to 18

13 photographs on these pages are from the C.H. Slayton collection of his grandfather's, Clarence E. Slayton collection. Clarence E. Slayton, pictured on page 18 was the Master Mechanic of the Deepwater Railway from 1905 to 1907 and was responsible for the construction of the line to Matoaka. The 60 plus photos of this collection were given by C.H. Slayton to the Princeton RR Museum in early 2007. The Slayton family had a 10 year history in Princeton, as Frank Slayton was the Virginian Master Mechanic from 1911 to 1919 and lived in the town. These photos were also loaned to the Norfolk Southern Corporation so that they could copy them in their Digital Railroad History project. Digital copies of these photos were also provided to the Norfolk and Western Historical Society Archives in Roanoke, Virginia.

TS

9

If this is indeed a Deepwater crew dated 1905, the location is probably Fayette or Raleigh county as the line did not reached Wyoming county until late 1905

TS

10

 

Both photos from the C.E.. Slayton collection

TS

11

 

This is a photo of Bridge 65 at Covel, West Virginia in Sept. 1906. C.E.. Slayton collection.

TS

12

top

Previously published photo. C.E.. Slayton collection

TS

12

bottom

Jenny Gap, West Virginia 1905. An official party that may include C.P.. Howard, Chief Engineer, sitting at the end of track of the C&O branch line planned through the mountain gap. To the left is the grade of the Deepwater line, soon to be built into the bore. C.E.. Slayton collection

TS

13

Aunt Sadie to C.H... Slayton, she was the daughter of Master Mechanic C.E.. Slayton. The photo is Dec. 1905 and Miss Slayton has been out collecting holly (in the basket) for Christmas decoration of their Page, WV home. This photo was the cover photo of the National Railway Bulletin, Volume 57, Number 4, 1992 of the National Railway Historical Society. C.E.. Slayton collection

TS

14

top

An unidentified Deepwater Railway trestle. West of Mullens all Deepwater bridges were originally constructed of wood. All major bridges were rebuilt of steel by 1913. C.E.. Slayton collection

TS

14

bottom

Bridge number 40, MP 401.9, near Harper, West Virginia. C.E.. Slayton collection

TS

15

 

C.E.. Slayton collection

 

16

 

C.E.. Slayton collection

 

17

bottom

Clarence E. Slayton, Mater Mechanic, Deepwater Railway 1905-1907 sitting in his Office Car somewhere on the Deepwater line. Note the windows and stovepipe built into this Deepwater boxcar.

TS

18

Two photos from the C.E.. Slayton collection. An inspection train in Sept. 1906 proceeding up the Clark's Gap grade, here stopped at Bud, West Virginia. Two items of note here. First the Official photographer is standing in Mr. Slayton's view, and secondly, the bents to support the roadway are twice as wide as necessary. Thinking ahead, Virginian planners installed the double wide bents to support an additional track that was added to the grade in less than a decade.

TS

21

A very interesting photograph. This photo from the Millicent Library is nearly an exact duplicate of a photo in the Virginian records at the National Archives. The only difference is that in the National Archive photo the photographer has moved a couple of feet to the right in order to capture the complete bridge - however he lost the engine. That photo is dated April 6, 1909. The last car on this westbound train is Mr. Rogers private Business Car, the Dixie. One is allowed to assume that this is Mr. Rogers' Inspection train stopped for the moment to allow the photographer to capture the moment.

TS

28

top & bottom

The captions on these photos have been swapped.

TS

29

Tralee did not predate the railroad as stated. It was a company town named by the coal operator.

One flaw with the book is the authors failure to identify the coal company in captions.

TM

30

 

Wouldn't this probably have been in the Oak Hill area where the White Oak Ry. ran.

 

34

top

Pete Andrews was a VGN employee and professional photographer that lived in Mullens.

TM

35

It's true, Virginian bridged traffic from NYC to the Southern at Altavista, SAL at Alberta and to ACL at Jarratt, but to the N&W at Norfolk?  Where was N&W going to haul it?  Norfolk was open to reciprocal switching agreements, ie. SAL would, for example, bring a car for Foreman-Bundy Lumber Co. to Portsmouth.  SAL would get the long-haul revenue, but SAL had N&PBL deliver the car to VGN and VGN would spot and pull the empty.  SAL had to pay N&PBL, but all VGN got was a switch charge - a flat rate of about $17 as I recall.  Coal? No way was N&W going to incur all the costs of dumping a car at Lamberts Point for a  measly  $17 switch charge.

HB

36

 

Lillybrook was located on the Stone Coal Branch that ran between Amigo and Princewick.  Cranberry was located on the C&O (Piney River and Paint Creek) not the Virginian.

TM

39

 

Picture taken on the N&W.  Some suggest Eckman yard while many think it was on the Bluestone Branch based on the presence of the very small engine on the head end of the passenger train.

TM & TS

40

bottom

Mine location may be Deerfield rather than Tams

TM

45

The title of the song by Blind Alfred Reed was the Wreck of the Virginian. It was recorded in Bristol as part of the famous Bristol sessions with Jimmy Rogers, Carter Family and others.

TM

46

Electric rectifier locomotives, Class EL-C as pictured in a post N&W merger number, arrived on the Virginian in 1956

TS & TM

48

top

Pictured is a standard gasoline powered Kalamazoo Motor Car

TS

49

bottom

The Narrows power plant was in operation from 1925 until 1961.

TS

50

 

Steam service on the mainline ended in 1954, prior to the arrival of EL-C's

TS

51

 

The train is westbound

TM

52

These 2 photos and the top one page 53 were first published in the Virginian Railway Annual Report of 1948. They are showing the complete overhaul of Class USE number 737 immediately after it was purchased from and delivered by the Santa Fe Railroad, who had purchased the locomotives from the Norfolk and Western Railway in 1943. Originally built by Alco in 1919 and classified by that railroad as Class Y-3.

TS & TM

53

Photos show the re-wheeling of the locomotive. In the bottom photo the front engine has been pulled closer to its final position under the boiler.

TS

54

top

Eight Lima built Class AG 2-6-6-6 Steam locomotives arrived new on property in the spring of 1945

TS

56

top

Did number 4 work in Princeton?  It's likely that SA #4 worked Princeton & other points as needed.   Although H. Reid immortalized B. Moore (no relation) working #4 in and around Sewall's Point in the last days of steam, SA's could & did work other VGN points.

As many as three SA's could be found at Sewall's Point, but I have photos of #2 at Mullens in the 1930's; & likely #5 (or #3) at Princeton about 1912.  As the Home Shop, each would've wound up in Princeton one time or another & VGN seldom allowed active power to be idle for long.  Remember, VGN had 5 of these switchers - Class of 1909 -10.

BM

56

top

Class SB switchers were C&O Railway Class C-16 switch engines when purchased by the Virginian in September 1950. They were used exclusively as yard switchers until retired in 1957 and scrapped in 1957-1959. The last VGN steamer to run was SB 251 at Princeton on June 1, 1957.

TS & TM

57

top

SB's were never used in passenger service.  Lack of pilot wheels meant the drivers were constantly "hunting" to keep the engine  on track. Special Instructions in VGN's Norfolk Div. timetable authorized a maximum speed of 25 MPH for locomotives without engine trucks - so even without station stops, meets, slow orders, etc., it would take No. 4 ten hours (+ or -) to make Norfolk from Roanoke.

HB

57

bottom

Number 410, Class MD, was constructed in Dec. 1921 and was cut up for scrap after its retirement in May of 1953

TS

58

All PA Class 4-6-2 passenger locomotives were retired in 1956 at the termination of passenger service on the road, nearly 4 years prior to the merger with the N&W Railway. All were scrapped during 1957-1958

This not Roanoke, Virginia.  If you'll note, there are no overhead wires.  Moreover, the stack in the background makes me think it's Norfolk Terminal.

TS & TM & HB

59

All U.S. railroads were Federalized from 1917 into 1920. Did VGN repair outside engines at Princeton during the war???

TS & TM

60

Wreck at Kumis on March 13, 1941 caused by failure of spring switch. Fireman was killed and head end brakeman injured. Fireman was the son of a VGN supervisor at Elmore.

TM

61

November 20, 1958 accident at Kumis. A side collision caused by extra 135 east failing to obey a meet order. Two men were injured. Both trains were electrics not diesel as stated.

TM

63

top

Proceeding eastbound at the Sweeneysburg trestle at MP 403.5

TS

65

It was the Guyandot River Branch, a part of the New River Division. Virginian used the Guyandot spelling except for the business car "Guyandotte River".

TM

66

What is a station foreman? Does he mean section foreman? John Wood is the father of long time former editor of the Beckley Register Herald. Woods worked at Lester and Herndon and probably many other places.

TM

68

 

This is not Kegley - there are too many tracks in the background -  where???

 

69

Is this Virginian?  Probably Tunnel 12 at MP 362.9. Centenary still appears to be under construction.

TM

71

 

The EL-C laying on its side in the river is an electric locomotive.

Everyone

73

bottom

The bridge carries WV Route 3 over the mainline. This bridge has been replaced since this photo was taken.

TM

74

top

This is Oak Hill Junction. Buildings are not tool sheds but are flag stop shelter and a small freight house for storage of express shipments. This was constructed during WWII to replace the depot that was eliminated with the construction of the CTC signal system.

TM

74

bottom

"The Shops", the engine house at Page, West Virginia. The photo is looking west from State Road 61, however the image has been "flopped", i.e. flipped side to side. Thus the 50,000 gallon water tank is shown on the south end of the complex when in reality it was on the north side. The engine pointing toward the right is actually on the Ready Track ready to pull a train in a southerly or Timetable East direction. The new steel coaling facility dates this post July 1944 when a fire destroyed the old wooden coal wharf.

TS

76

bottom

The bridge pictured is the Garwood bridge east of Covel. There are no tunnels between Herndon and Covel. This appears to be train three. The only thing out of place is the extra coach behind the engine. The train has the normal baggage/mail car, baggage car, two coaches and club car. The extra coach could be for employees deadheading or possibly a branch line car returning from Princeton Shop.

TS & TM

78

top

West end of newly built classification yard that replaced the hump yard. View toward the east.

TM

79

bottom

Mullens depot and dispatchers office as seen from across the road bridge to Mullens Motor Barn.

TS & TM

80

top

Exact same photograph as page 78 bottom.

81

E.R. Belcher could not have worked for Norfolk Southern Corp. if he retired in 1966

TM

84

bottom

The yard at Sewell's Point was the eastern terminus of the railroad and served primarily as a storage yard for coal hoppers prior to dumping the coal into ships. The empty hoppers were generally assembled into westbound trains as soon as possible and departed without further classification. The Virginian also did very limited classification at Sewalls Point including:  Ford Assembly Plant cars, and interchange cars for all other roads in South Hampton Roads. These cars were brought back to Sewalls Point by yard runs; South Branch Switcher, etc. to be classified and placed into time freight No. 71.  Sewalls Point also ran an extra train every afternoon known as (73). (73) was a symbol and not a scheduled train. It hauled Clinchfield Railroad hoppers back to ACL and SAL at Jarratt and Alberta, Virginia.

TS & HB

86

Mine run with two ex VGN Train Masters at Kopperston, WV, not Stateburg, WV. Some would argue that it was not a merger of equals as the only name remaining was Norfolk and Western. Additionally the N&W did hardly any repainting of any Virginian equipment.

TS & TM

89

top

Pier One at Sewell's Point was purpose built in 1909 as a high level pier for loading coal into ships.  

TS

89

bottom

The Virginian's tugboat was named the William R. Coe, not Cole 

HB

90

top

Picture looks like Lamar, WV at Clarks Gap. VGN did not go through Arista as stated.

TM

90 & 91

Electric revenue service began Sept. 14, 1925 to Clarks Gap, and October 1, 1925 to Princeton. Electric revenue service through to Roanoke was begun on Sept. 16, 1926.

The 2 photos on this page show the running of one of the first test run and inspection trains, witnessed by the 2 riders on the front.

TS

91

top

The first electric powered revenue train is leaving Elmore yard east toward Clark's Gap, WV

TS

92

bottom

An interesting photo that may correct a myth that steam did not run under the wires, except for the passenger service. It was not uncommon for steam to run under the centenary. Tom Marshall Sr. worked Hill Runs and Princeton Turns from Elmore with 700s. Jim Arrington also told similar stories as he had worked Hill Runs with steam pushers.

TM

95

top

Virginian passengers had better connections via the Norfolk & Western Railway, the Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Airline Railroads.  A photo of one of those lines would have been more appropriate.

HB

95

bottom

Westbound on Winding Gulf Branch at Mullens Shop and just west of Gulf Junction. This picture appears to have been taken seconds after the picture at the bottom of page 96.

TM

96

bottom

Just a few seconds before the photo on 95 bottom, this photo is looking toward the mainline at Gulf Jot, with the sanding tower at the Motor Barn just barely visible. The train is proceeding westbound on the Winding Gulf Branch.

TM

97

bottom

Number 804 is sitting on the "next in line" track waiting, prior to entering the Page, WV engine house for normal between assignments servicing. The 800s were purchased for use as pushers on the Clarks Gap grade. Replaced by electrification they were used on both the New River and Norfolk Divisions. They ended their service as hump engines at Elmore and the occasional trip on the road.

TS & TM

98

bottom

The TAs were used on trains 5 and 6, Winding Gulf passenger trains between Princeton or Mullens and Fireco starting when the branch was built and lasted until December 1940. Local train service between Mullens and Princeton ended in the early 30s however.

TM

101

top & bottom

This locomotive was on loan from the Fairbanks - Morse company and was used as a demonstrator unit only in order to showcase its capabilities to the Virginian and other railroads prior to the Virginian's decision to purchase a diesel fleet. At the present time there is uncertainty as to precisely where this location is. Some think it is Mullens area. For example: "I always thought it may be across from South Mullens playground. It has been identified as a Mullens Grade School which is definitely wrong. Could be Amigo but I don't think a steel cab would have been used there at that time."

TS & TM

102

B-19 was the Roanoke crane until replaced by B-37. It was then sent to Elmore where it replaced an older crane. It served till about the late 70s and was then sent to New Haven, In. What does "used to help combine the two competitors into one railroad" mean?

TM

105

top

Did this man work for the Virginian Railway???????????

 

106

This picture is the Rocky Hollow bridge on I-77 under construction southeast of Princeton, WV.  Same bridge asao shown on the top of page 107. It is not Baileysville on the Guyandot River Branch.

TM

110

The building in the background is the Norfolk & Western Railway station in Roanoke, Va. The men are standing on the station platform next to a active passenger train.

TS & TM

113

top

Did number four work in Princeton??? See number 56 above

 

114

bottom

What the heck was the "pivotal significance" of the town of Huddleston to the Virginian other than it went through the town?  The author omits the other town named after Rogers. Glen Rogers, WV actually had an impact on the Virginian and was the largest mine at one time.

TM

123

top

Replica of a baggage cart

TS