The Nelson & Albemarle Railway Historical Society Website - www.nelson-albemarle-railway.org

Dedicated to the historical significance of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway, this site provides a reference point for publications, websites, film, and photographs of the N&A and where to find them and/or buy copies of those references, publications and photographs.

The Nelson & Albemarle Railway, notable for it's end to end connections for a number of years between the Southern Railway at Rockfish, Virginia (Nelson County) and the C&O Railway at Warren, Virginia (Albemarle County), was wholly-owned by the Alberene Stone Company (and predecessors).  Starting in Nelson County at company headquarters at Schuyler, Virginia, the original line extended along the Rockfish River within the county to Rockfish Depot for interchange with the Southern Railway while the company was known as the Virginia Soapstone Company.  With the C&O already providing trackage to another company with a mill operating in Alberene, Virginia, the track originated in Warren, Virginia (Albemarle County) thence to Boiling Springs, Dawson Mills, and Esmont (depot and other industry including Blue Ridge Slate Company) and from there on to Alberene.  A merger later, the combined company added trackage from Schuyler to a point at Guthrie, Virginia (Albemarle County) where it joined the original C&O tracks.  The Nelson & Albemarle took over rights to trackage down to Esmont and had right-of-way on the C&O from there to Warren based on maintaining the trackage.  My personal interest in the N&A is simple:  My Father worked at Schuyler for the Alberene Stone Company in the gang saw building as his first real job.  I've collected data about the N&A for years and this site has been started to share, where possible, any and all of the information gathered about the N&A.  Ever so often I'll make the effort to inform and enlighten those people who have interest in this shortline standard gauge railroad with where to find articles, pamphlets, booklets, books, photographs (some unpublished and heretofore not known as available for prints). 
 
Contributions are welcomed, as your input to where information about the N&A can be found is invaluable.  I'm also going to give credit where credit is due: Garth Groff did extensive research and published a great booklet about the N&A.  His booklet rekindled my interest in collecting this "where to find the N&A" effort.  Garth is employed over at the University of Virginia (my brother Gary works at Darden School of Business there) and while his publication is out-of-print, a copy can be found now and then via auction sites. Garth has planned to retire from the UVA community and now follows other interests around medieval re-enactments and archery (including teaching archery to children). There are other references of the N&A in various periodical publications as well, including Railroad Model Craftsman and Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette.  You'll see these listed on the "Publications About Nelson & Albemarle" link in the sidebar where we consistently add references with related or of interest publications in the section below on Recent Additions to the NEARSH Library.
 
DISCLAIMER:  As this is a site to publicize WHERE things can be found, any photo use will be by thumbnail and/or not reproducible in any quality (unless permission has been provided).  Our goal is to show you the link to where the original can be found (website, publication, book purchased, etc.) - not for anything more than a table of contents on where to locate copies or buy a specific book.  There is NO intent to violate anyone's copyrights.  As the owner of an original negative with prints of my negative in the Southern Methodist University Library and recently on an auction site, I am very aware of protecting copyright and having proper permission to utilize materials.  
 
Please email any references you might have with permission to use (or original photo with copyright permission to print or use on this site) to:  Rob Peters care of nelsonalbemarle@comcast.net or send email direct using this email address:
peters.robert@comcast.net - For 
MEMBERSHIP:  Please email request to participate as a member of the NEARHS.
 
Welcome to the Nelson & Albemarle Historical Society Website! 
Copyright 2014: NEARHS
 
Free Hit Counters 
 
Recent Additions to the NEARHS Library:   
Virginia Railroads, Volume 1: Railroading in the Old Dominion by William E. Griffin, Jr. & Thomas W. Dixon, Jr.;
Crossties to the Depot - Volume 1: Virginia Railroad Stations compiled and edited by John F. Gilbert;
Virginia Railroads, Volume 2:  The Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad by Thomas W. Dixon, Jr.
Historic Photos of Virginia; text and captions by Emily J. and John S. Salmon (photo of Esmont, pg. 46).
The Architecture of Jefferson Country: Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia by K. Edward Lay (photo/plan for Company President's house in Alberene).
West Virginia History - A Quarterly Magazine, Volume XVI, Number 3, April 1955 by State Department of Archives and History, Charleston, West Virginia - Article Canal-Boat Days in Virginia by Marshall Fishwick.
The Canal on the James by T. Gibson Hobbs, Jr.
Yesterday's Trains across the Commonwealth by Dale W. Diacont.
Hill City Trolleys: Street Railways of Lynchburg, Virginia by Harold E. Cox
Architecture In Virginia - Esmont, Albemarle County by Wayne Nelson (part of the series accomplished by the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia) - Spring 1992
Heartbeats of Nelson by Paul Saunders - 2007
O. Winston Link - Life Along The Line by Tony Reevy - 2011 
The Classic Eastern American Railroad Routes by Brian Solomon - 2011
Extra South, 2nd Edition by H. Reid with foreword by Manly Wade Wellman - 1986 (with Extra South New Photo Section and photo of #10 on page 132)
Tidewater Triangle by Robert J. Yanosey - 1988
Chesapeake & Ohio Railway: A Concise History and Fact Book by Thomas W. Dixon, Jr. of The Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society - 2012 (includes information on Alberene Subdivision)
Off the Track in Ivy - The Wreck of the Old Dominion Express by Garth G. Groff - 1992
Locomotive Quarterly, Volume XVIII, Number 4, Summer 1995 by Metaphor of Mount Vernon New York; Jack W. Farrell, Editor-In-Chief
The Search for Steam by Joe G. Collias - 1972
Short-Line Odyssey: Small Railroads in the Northeast from the '40's to the '70's (The Railroading Series, Volume 3): Photographs and Texts by William S. Young - 1980
Railroad Stories featuring "The Soapstone Limited" (short story):  A Pulp Magazine from November 1935
All Aboard:  American Train Journeys II - Volume 4: Steam Short Lines of the South from Columbia River Entertainment - 1997 (film)
Magazine of Albemarle Count History, Volume 71 - 2013 from Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society - 2013 (feature story on the making of the motion picture, "Virginia")
Illustrated History of General Electric Locomotives by O. M. Kerr - 1979
Centennial Treasury of General Electric Locomotives, Volume 1 by O. M. Kerr - 1981
Centennial Treasury of General Electric Locomotives, Volume 2 by O. M. Kerr - 1981
 
  
Your Help Needed: Do you have photographs of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway or the soapstone works?  We're always looking for previously unpublished photographs by known railway photographers (and not so known amateur photographers)!

Join in! ----- The Nelson County Historical Society is a great place to learn about the history of the community around the Nelson & Albemarle Railway stomping grounds of Schuyler, Virginia.  Membership is only $15 and Lifetime membership is $200.  (Family membership is $20).  Send your money to the society at:  Nelson County Historical Society, PO Box 474, Lovingston, Virginia 22949.  
 
Join in! ---- The Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society is another great place to learn about the history surrounding the area served by the Nelson & Albemarle Railway (Esmont, Alberene).  Membership is $40 for individuals annually.  Join up at the sites membership page:  http://albemarlehistory.org/index.php/membership
 
 
Please write to NelsonAlbemarle@comcast.net if you have memorabilia you'd like to sell or donate! 
 
 
Ever gotten a great photograph that you didn't have anywhere to use?  We recently purchased a negative of the GE c/n30856 locomotive (N&A #1) switching freight at Esmont with depot in photo and pulp car, hopper, 3 boxcars, another hopper, and caboose.  Halfway down train at switch stand is N&A employee ready to act when train is in or out of cut.  Wish we had the name of this photographer from this photo taken at Esmont in 1953. 
 
 
Or an even better photograph of Locomotive #10 with a view not seen before? 
This photo is courtesy of Janice Brown of Falls Church, Virginia who graciously allowed
it's use for our website.  The young lady and young gentleman on the younger brother and sister of the photographer, James M. Brown who is Janice's father.  Photo likely taken in 1943 while his father Obed O. Brown was working at the Schuyler mill.  It's rare to see the detail on the front of a locomotive as most photographers took their photo's of side or 3/4 views and few (if any) took views that were straight on from front or back).  We hope to have an article from Janice in the future on her family ties to the Schuyler
 
plant an
d the N&A.
Coming up in May:  Freight and Passenger equipment on the N&A.  Here's your teaser - a photo of an "N&A" combine....!!! 
The noted photograph has
this combine lettered as Nelson & Albemarle Railway and the car number "10".  We've compiled some of the cars used on the N&A primarily from photographic sources, so May's article should be of interest for both railfans and modelers.  (see larger photo in left column).
 
This Month's Article:  March/April 2014
The Story of N&A #3 Diesel
 
It was inevitable that the Nelson & Albemarle Railway would have diesels operating trains if they were to survive into the modern post-war (WWII) era.  Steam locomotives (and replacement parts) were expensive to maintain and the locomotives most relied upon for daily service were approaching 50 years of age.  Locomotives #9 and #10 were replaced by a General Electric 44-ton diesel (c/n 30856) built in December 1950 for Alberene Stone Company under requisition #RIC-29947 though lettered for the Nelson & Albemarle Railway as #1.  It shipped from GE's Erie, Pennsylvania factory on 9 January 1951 and was likely received by mid-January.    The Nelson & Albemarle Railway had acquired it's first diesel and the days were numbered for the remainder of the steam locomotives serving the quarry and Schuyler mill operations.  Locomotives #11, #12, #14, and #15 were next in line for replacement.   Diesel #1 had replaced main line interchange service with the C&O and now a single General Electric 35-ton diesel (c/n 31768) bought on requisition #RIC-49116-2 would be serving the Schuyler mill having been built in November 1952 and shipped on 5 December 1952.  While N&A #1 was utilized for quite some time in a second life with TTX (nee Hamburg Industries) in North Augusta, South Carolina (formerly Hamburg, South Carolina) it became a parts unit with the acquisition by TTX and would eventually be sent for formal scrapping with Progress Rail according to TTX sources.  N&A #2, the rare 35-ton unit, still lives on supporting rail operations for the French company, Imerys, Inc., at their facility in Sylacauga, Alabama where the unit was sent when the N&A shut down in 1963 (Alabama Marble at the time, a subsidiary of Georgia Marble that owned the Virginia soapstone works).  But it's Diesel #3 of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway that disappeared and eluded tracking until just recently and it is this story that we're telling now.
 
Life started for the General Electric 25-ton B-diesel as construction number 31778 in January 1953.  Alberene Stone Company ordered the diesel under requisition #RIC-49116-3 and the unit was shipped to Schuyler, Virginia as Alberene Stone Corporation of Virginia No. 3 on 6 February 1953 from GE's Erie plant. <PENNSYLVANIA> The dimunitive 4-wheel diesel would operate on the soapstone companies trackage at quarries in Schuyler.   <VIRGINIA>  Much like the 35-ton #2, this unit was owned by the company, but leased to the Nelson & Albermarle Railway for car movement at the quarries and mill.  Locomotives #11, #12, #14, and #15 would soon be off the property and scrapped during 1953 (likely at Peck Iron & Metal in Richmond, Virginia as the C&O and other Virginia rail lines utilized this scrap dealer heavily during the 1950's).  Daily operations would have been rather simple, moving loaded flat cars of soapstone block to be hoisted off the car and moved to the mill or gang-saw building by overhead crane.  This would carry on for 10 years until the N&A, weary and tired, would cease operations and rail operations shifted to trucking including moving what soapstone blocks were quarried to the nearby mill.  It's unfortunate that from those 10 years, there has not emerged any photograph of this unit in the Alberene Stone Corporation paint/lettering scheme.  N&A #3 would make it's way to Georgia Marble's facility at Nelson, Georgia in 1963.  <GEORGIA>  <
> After some minor use there, would sit idle for many years before bought by an industrial locomotive dealer, Lewis Rhodes of Railrhodes, Inc. out of Monroe, Georgia.  There was quite a bidding war going on for N&A #3 as Tom Lawson, Jr. also tried to purchase this industrial critter before Railrhodes won the deal. 
Jay Thomson captured views of former N&A #3 in August 1985 while in Nelson, Georgia and thanks go to Don Ross for permission to use these from his collection.  (See Don Ross' website at http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net for more info.) 
Lewis Rhodes would sell the small diesel in 2002 to the Great Lakes Calcium Company in Woodville, Ohio.  <OHIO>  Sometime after 2002 but before 2004, the little locomotive was involved in an accident in Woodville.  At that point it appears that our little engine was shipped off to Green Bay, Wisconsin to service the car operations at the Great Lakes Calcium site there.  <WISCONSIN>   Regardless of the accident, GE c/n 31778, repaired, went into daily service in Green Bay. 
Michael Ostertag recorded the units existence (Copyright protected) on http://www.rrpicturesarchive.net  with photo taken at Great Lakes Calcium-Green Bay on 14 June 2008, but was not able to include what construction number/serial number was on the unit.  His capturing the diesel confirmed some repairs to the front end by the headlight as well as notable inclusion of large rear view mirrors.  In late 2013, Kim Kafura captured the 25-ton B-diesel at Great Lakes Calcium in Green Bay and posted these two photos at https://www.Flickr.com.
Seeing the new photo, the NEARHS contacted Great Lakes Calcium to ask if the serial number could be confirmed as 31778.  On 14 February 2014, "Carl" returned the call with validation that indeed, the little diesel moving cars daily around the facility at Green Bay was GE c/n 31778. 
Great Lakes Calcium was also excited to hear the history of N&A #3.  Having been born in January 1953 and still alive and working daily in February 2014, it's 61st birthday was just celebrated!  It traveled from Pennsylvania to end up in Wisconsin having moved through three states to get there.  The Nelson & Albemarle Railway #3 diesel (along with N&A #2 diesel) still operates and proves that there is extended value in the small industrial locomotive.
 
Send email to NelsonAlbemarle@comcast.net if you have any comments or questions or wish to contribute to future articles.
 
NOTE: The 2014 Roster Update of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway will be staying with us (after each monthly article) until we finish loading photographs as permissions to use arrive!
This Month's Article - January/February 2014
Nelson & Albemarle Railway - Roster
 
Since C. E. Fisher first compiled a two-page document chronicling the motive power of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway in the 1940's, there have been 4 published collections of data that provided detail on the equipment used by the soapstone companies that was leased or provided to the Nelson & Albemarle Railway for it's use.  C. E. Fisher's roster is held in the Youngstown State University (Ohio) Archives Library in the Lester L. Dickson Collection and is a minor part of C. E. Fisher's lifes work.  He was author of such books as The Early Railroads of Kentucky, The McConnell Locomotives, and The United States Military Railroads
 
This is the annual update of information on the Nelson & Albemarle Railway equipment and includes steam, diesel, and motor-car information.  If you have additional information on the roster, or have a previously unknown photograph of any equipment, please write to NelsonAlbemarle@comcast.net and share your data.

Nelson & Albemarle Railway Roster
Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
Schuyler Railway Trolley N/A --- Lewis & Fowler 1891 Unknown 1899-1905

Three (3) Lewis & Fowler single truck, open platform trolley cars purchased secondhand from Lynchburg Street Railway.  Originally built with Eickemeyer trucks (jack shafts and side rods) there were 6 cars purchased from the manufacturer in Brooklyn, New York and received starting 3 March 1891 and ending 5 May 1891 as the Lynchburg Street Railway's first trolleys.  Schuyler Railway purchased and received them in summer/fall 1899 with Maguire #20 trucks and Westinghouse motors that had been retrofitted in May 1892.  A fourth trolley may also have been purchased to use for parts (or as noted in Hill City Trolleys by Harold E. Cox. this may have been used solely as locomotive). Noted in soapstone company memorandums, one car had all seats removed for use as locomotive.  Two remaining trolley had some seats removed to provide mixed train service.  Three non-powered freight cars were also noted as owned.

* Photograph in Hill Street Trolleys by Harold E. Cox in NEARHS colletion of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.  Copyright Protected - Permission requested to use.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
Alberene Railroad C&O         Equipment --- --- --- --- --- 1897-1903

Leased by the C&O immediately upon completion on 13 July 1897 for five years as their Alberene Branch, the line was subsequently purchased by the C&O on 15 February 1902.  All equipment used on the line was C&O power.  Albemarle Soapstone Company likely had own small locomotive (ST) to manage quarry operations moving soapstone to mill.

* Digital photo of the Roundhouse model 84773 Chesapeake & Ohio steam locomotive 2-6-0 #425 typical of the era (though paint scheme more likely black) and typical type used on branch lines from photograph of model in the NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
1 (1st) 0-4-0T 7x12 28" Porter May 1887 836 1903-1920

Former Richmond City Railway #1 "Belle" an 0-4-0DY based on Vulcan catalogue style, "Lake Side"; subsequently sold to SI&E in 1920 as #1599; thence to Pierce-Williams (Fruit Basket Company) in Jonesboro, Arkansas on 17 April 1924.  Only known photograph available in Smithsonian Institution, Negative #893603, Frame 42077.

* Photo Print on heavy photo paper from NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
2 (1st) Unknown --- --- --- --- --- 1903-1920
Likely small 0-4-0T unit serving quarry operations at either Alberene or Schuyler
Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
3 (1st) Unknown --- --- --- --- --- 1903-1920
Likely small 0-4-0T unit serving quarry operations at either Alberene or Schuyler
Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
4 2-6-2T 14x20 --- Porter Dec 1904 3107 1904-1924
1st NEW locomotive for Nelson & Albemarle Railway, subsequently sold to SI&E in 1924 as their #1939; thence to Batesville & Southwestern on 13 September 1924 as an 0-6-0 with 8 wheel tender as B&SW #11 in Batesville, Mississippi.  Sold back to SI&E as #2483 for scrap in 1942.

* Photo courtesy of David Price collection with permission provided for use.  View as seen at Southern Iron & Equipment before conversion to 0-6-0 with tender.  Print now in NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
5 0-4-4T 12x16 42" Pittsburgh Jan 1894 1510 1905-1924

Former Manhattan Ry. 2nd #60; Class K-2, engine weight 47000#, weight on drivers 33000#, wheel base 16', 1"; number of tubes=14, heating surface 546sf; boiler diameter 42" with Belpaire firebox; water capacity 512g; built 10 January 1894; (20 total locomotives built in this series). Noted to have vacuum brakes.  To Virginia Alberene Corp. via P. McManus, Cape Charles, Virginia (dealer).  Sold to Virginia Soapstone, 6 March 1905.; reportedly resold to P. McManus around 1920.  

* Photograph is from Collection of New York Transit Museum Archives (see copyright restriction embedded in thumbnail image) from NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia. Courtesy of the New York Transit Museum Archives.  "This image cannot be reproduced without the written permission of the New York Transit Museum Archives."  Please do not copy or infringe on these rights. Copies are available from the New York Transit Museum Archives via their website:  http://www.mta.info/mta/museum/archiveguid.html

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
6 0-4-4T 12x16 42" Pittsburgh Dec 1893 1508 1905-1924
Former Manhattan Ry. 2nd #56; Class K-2, engine weight 47000#, weight on drivers 33000#, wheel base 16', 1"; number of tubes=14, heating surface 546sf; boiler diameter 42" with Belpaire firebox; water capacity 512g, built 22 December 1893; (20 total locomotives built in this series). Noted to have vacuum brakes. To Virginia Alberene Corp. via P. McManus, Cape Charles, Virginia (dealer); Sold to Virginia Soapstone, 19 May 1905.;  reportedly resold to P. McManus around 1920.  
Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
7 2-4-2T 8x12 26" Baldwin Nov 1887 8874 1905-1920

Ex-Proctor Coal Company #1, "Hutchcraft"; Used as primary locomotive on Schuyler to Rockfish run; sold to SI&E in May 1920 as their #1597.  thence to A. F. Langford Co. #2  Bartey, Florida on 23 September 1920 with cylinders changed to 17x24.  Photo in Smithsonian Institution, Negative #893602 - Frame #42076.

*  Copy of photographic print "Nelson & Albemarle Railway Baldwin 2-4-2 Tank Locomotive", circa 1920, Thomas Norrell Railroad Collection, NMAH.AC.1174, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, box number 80, folder 17, digital file number 893602/42076 from NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
8 Unknown --- --- --- --- --- 1905-1920

Remembered by 'old-timers' as having a tender; however no known photographs or references.  Except, the Virginia Alberene Corporation stock certificate (blank) has a soapstone train depicted with a small locomotive with tender which could have been #8.  Stock certificate noted has preprinted 192_ referencing that the issue would be during that decade and likely after locomotive #8 was scrapped.  Personal Note:  The use of the steam locomotive with tender on stock certificate looks to be a Forney locomotive but with a tender providing water for continual use.  However, this view does not have a smoke stack of the height of the #5 or #6 locomotives.  This could be a third locomotive purchased from former-Manhattan Railway surplus, but there is no record or documentation as to that effect.

* Image taken from Virginia Alberene stock certificate blank in NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
"Maude" 4-whl  "Sheffield" Velocipede --- --- Fairbanks-Morse Company Unknown --- 1903~05-Unknown

Unit purchased through Fairbanks-Morse, a Sheffield Velocipede, (though term velocipede had been changed to 'Sheffield Car') was used in early days of N&A for the personal service of the general manager and executives though frequently allowed to be used for other purposes.  Purchased by J. W. Foster of the N&A Railway several years before 1910 (Reference:  Memo to Fairbanks Morse in 1910 where the unit is called 'Maude').  Note:  Sheffield Velocipedes had model names that all started with the letter "M" including "Maude", though no catalog has been found with the specific model mentioned.

* Photograph from public domain copy of Fairbanks-Morse catalog circa 1905.  No.2 is Code Word, Minturn while Code Word Maude is another model though similar to this depiction from the NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
1 (2nd) 0-4-0T 7x12 24" Vulcan Jun 1905 675 1916-1920

Old Dominion Soapstone Company was merged into the Virginia Alberene Corporation in February 1917 and their locomotives became part of the soapstone companies operations though on separate properties. Built for Old Dominion Soapstone of Esmont, Virginia as "Vulcan".  Company headquartered at Damon, Virginia at time of merger. Sold by the Nelson & Albemarle Railway to SI&E in 1920 as their #1600.  No record of resale.  Photo in Smithsonian Institution, Negative #893604 - Frame #42078.

*  Copy of photographic print "Nelson & Albemarle Railway Vulcan 0-4-0 Tank Locomotive", circa 1920, Thomas Norrell Railroad Collection, NMAH.AC.1174, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, box number 80, folder 17, digital file number 893604/42078 from NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
2 (2nd) 0-4-0T 11x16 30" Vulcan Oct 1909 1436 1916-1942

Old Dominion Soapstone Company was merged into the Virginia Alberene Corporation in February 1917 and their locomotives became part of the soapstone companies operations though on separate properties. Built for Old Dominion Soapstone on 4 October 1909, the locomotive had service weight of 41,000#, tank capacity of 750 gallons, Fuel capacity of 500#; a working pressure of 145# and rated tractive effort of 9050# and an oil headlamp.  Company headquartered at Damon, Virginia at time of merger.  Received new boiler in June 1926.  Continued in service until 1 December 1931 noted as out-of-service on the quarry property.  Virginia Alberene merged with Alberene Stone Corporation in April 1935 with no change to numbering or out-of-service status of locomotive except added to the Nelson & Albemarle Railway roster.  Though noted as sold to American Cyanimid in 1942, records at Virginia Blue Ridge Railway confirm that the locomotive was sold to the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway in June 1942 for $600 as their first #4 where it was used for a year and a half hauling ballast trains as the railroad upgraded its roadbed to accommodate  increase of traffic from aplite plants and Southern Mineral Products facility.  VBR sold engine 22 December 1943 to Leas & McVitty, Inc. a tanning extract manufacturer in Buena Vista, Virginia for $2500.  Taken out of service in the late-1950's, the locomotive was sold to Charles Watson in 1962 who displayed locomotive in front of a motel in Marion, Virginia (with the saddle tank removed).  Purchased later by Will Harris of North Fork Lumber Company of Goshen, Virginia where the locomotive remains in static condition on siding (next to a Shay) in private collection and viewable on request.  This is the only remaining Nelson & Albemarle Railway rostered-locomotive not scrapped.

* Photograph part of misc. set of photo prints purchased from dealer at Railroad Memorabilia show with no identified photographer and now part of NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
9 2-6-2T 17x24 46" Vulcan Apr 1920 3045 1920-1952

Built for Nelson & Albemarle Railway as 2-6-2ST #9 purchased by Virginia Alberene Corporation and delivered to Schuyler, Virginia.  148,000#.  Primary mainline locomotive from delivery until replaced by GE 44-ton diesel in 1951 30 years later.  Scrapped in 1952.

* Photograph from unknown photographer with negative in the NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
10 2-6-2T 15x24 42" Vulcan Dec 1922 3278 1922-1953

Built for Nelson & Albemarle Railway as 2-6-2ST #10 purchased by Virginia Alberene Corporation and delivered to Rockfish, Virginia.  112,000#.  Used in service between Schuyler and Rockfish and secondary locomotive for mainline between Schuyler and Esmont/Warren.  Scrapped in 1953.

* Photograph is W. H. Thayer picture postcard from NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
11 2-4-2T 14x22 40" Vulcan Oct 1909 1381 1923-1954

Built for Culver & Port Clinton Railroad, Gypsum, Ohio as their #2; 86,000#; Received new boiler #2929 in July 1916.  Was at Vulcan shops at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania before being sold to Nelson & Albemarle Ry in March 1923 (noted as going to N&A in April 1923).  New boiler installed in 1927 (though shown places as same boiler #2929 from 1916).  Said to have been scrapped in 1954, there is a known photograph from 1951 with #11 in Warren where the locomotive was usually operating in Schuyler.  While not conclusive evidence that #11 was en route to scrapping in Richmond in 1951, the first diesel had arrived and already displaced #9 as the mainline locomotive.

* Photograph is an unknown photographer print from photo taken on 20 August 1941 from NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.  N&A #14 is also shown in photo (and photo from opposite direction is also in the NEARHS collection).

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
12 0-4-0T 12x18 33" Vulcan Feb 1924 3426 1924-1953

Built for Virginia Alberene Corporation as Nelson & Albemarle #12 delivered to Rockfish, Virginia.  60,000#.  Scrapped 1953. 

* Photograph is an H. Reid picture postcard from NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
Not Named or Numbered 4 wheel - gas powered --- --- Plymouth (Fate-Root-Heath Company) Oct 1924 1860 1924-1963

Puchased by Phoenix Stone Company of New York City for delivery to Standard Soapstone of Arrington, Virginia as 42" gauge locomotive built 13 October 1924 as Model DLC, Type 6.  To Virginia Alberene Corporation on 18 December 1930 and converted to Standard Gauge at some point.  Photo of tracks by quarry show unit at Schuyler.   

* Photo from NEARHS collection of prints.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
14 0-4-0T 12x18 33" Vulcan Feb 1925 3507 1925-1953

Built in February 1925 (though shown some places as built in 1926) for Virginia Alberene Corporation as Nelson & Albemarle #14 delivered to Schuyler, Virginia.  60,000#.  Scrapped 1953.

* Photograph is an unknown photographer's picture postcard from NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
15 0-4-0T 12x16 33" Vulcan Jan 1917 2590 1928-1953
Originally built for Chile Exploration Company, 52,000#; diverted to Alberoyd Company, Esmont, Virginia as their #1; thence to Rhodes Construction Company, and Virginia Alberene Corp on 7 March 1928. 
Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
1 (3rd) B-B --- --- GE Dec 1950 30856 1951-1963

GE 44-ton B-B Diesel c/n 30856. Built in December 1950 for Nelson & Albemarle Railway #1 (the third #1) requisition #RIC-29947 555/733/D-17000, rated 44-tons and 400hp; date shipped 9 January 1951.  (The D-17000 is technically rated as 2, Caterpillar V-8 diesel engines at-180hp each plus 2-134kw motors though listed as 400hp for this unit).  Replaced 2-6-2T #9 as mainline engine until end of N&A career when line was shutdown in 1963.  Officially transferred to Georgia Marble ownership in 1963 and moved to Tate, Georgia.  After some time, the diesel was sent to Gantt's Quarry in Alabama, then sold to Industrial Maintenance (Service) Co. in 1976 but never on their property before being sold to Hamburg Industries, North Augusta, South Carolina (company was later purchased by TTX).  Unit was painted in Hamburg Industries color scheme and numbered as #2.  Last known photograph taken 30 July 1982 by Mac Connery of Durham, North Carolina.  When TTX planned a re-engine project, 30856 was not selected for upgrades.  Instead, #2 was used as spare parts for the remaining 44-ton units on the property, stored for short time on west side of property until eventually scrapped with Progress Rail (possibly as a trade-in for another 44-ton unit).  Noted as scrapped at Patterson, Georgia, but Progress Rail reports that any unit sent for scrapping would have been forwarded to Mayfield, Kentucky.

* Photograph is from Photographer, Charles Wales (slide) taken on 30 October 1953 near Esmont, Virginia and is original slide from the NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
2 (3rd) B --- --- GE Nov 1952 31768 1952-1963

GE 35-ton B Diesel c/n 31768 (rare unit). Built in November 1952 for Alberene Stone Corp. as Nelson & Albemarle #2 (third #2), requisition #RIC-49116-2 558/733/NHBIS, rated 35-tons, 234hp; date shipped 5 December 1952.  Replaced multiple steam locomotives used in quarry operations and in service until end of N&A career when line was shutdown in 1963.  Officially transferred to Georgia Marble ownership in 1963, but sent to Alabama Marble Division, Gantt's Quarry, as Alabama Marble #2 in Sylacauga, Alabama (repainted into Georgia Marble colors at some point) and now serves the Imerys Pigment Plant (merger activity of Georgia Marble).  Last know photographed in 2005, but considered still active and in-service in Sylacauga, Alabama in 2014.

* Photograph by Tom Lawson, Jr. captured on 8 June 1963 at Gantt's Quarry Alabama.  Tom is the author of "Locomotives of the Southern Iron & Equipment Company" available from Cabbage Stack Publishing in Birmingham, Alabama 35219 (P.O. Box 19912) for $49.95. Go to this webpage to complete form and forward for purchase:  http://www.cabbagestkpub.ns2.atspace.com/sieform.html 

The book is an invaluable resource to anyone working to find locomotive history such as that of the N&A Railway. Our photo used here is from a picture postcard from Tom's photograph held in the NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.

Number Type Cylinders Drivers Builder Built C/N or S/N Year Range
3 (2nd) B --- --- GE Jan 1953 31778 1953-1963

GE 25-ton B Diesel c/n31778. Built in January 1953 for Alberene Stone Corp. as Nelson & Albemarle #3 (second #3) requisition #RIC-49116-3 1503/747/HBI, rated 25-tons, 150hp; date shipped 6 February 1953.  Replaced  steam locomotives used in quarry operations and in service until end of N&A career when line was shutdown in 1963.  Officially transferred to Georgia Marble ownership in 1963 and sent to Nelson, Georgia where it remained stored out-of-service for quite some time.  Lewis Rhodes of Railrhodes, Inc. of Monroe, Georgia acquired the diesel and in 2002 made the sale of it to Great Lakes Calcium company in Woodville, Ohio.  In 2004, GLC Woodville site was sold to National Lime & Stone which immediately closed the Woodville Plant.  Conversation with NL&S found that no 25-ton unit was involved in the takeover of the location or movement of materials to NL&S's main site in Carey, OH.  While thought to be scrapped prior to 2004, there was a comment mentioned that #3 may have been involved in a wreck at the Woodville Plant property and might have been shipped to Green Bay, Wisconsin with no additional sightings since 2003 until mid-2008 with unconfirmed photos of a GE 25-ton unit taken by Michael Ostertag (and posted on rrpicturesarchive.net) on 14 June 2008 that appeared to be c/n31778.  Then in late-2013 photographs were taken describing the location as Great Lakes Calcium in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Great Lakes Calcium in Green Bay was contacted by phone and they advised on 14 February 2014, that the unit is in use daily to move cars and is indeed GE c/n 31778.  There are at least 2 photographs on Flickr from photographer Kim Kafura of the Green Bay engine taken in late-2013 and he has granted permission to use his image(s) here.

* Photograph provided by Kim Kafura to the NEARHS collection of Nelson & Albemarle Railway memorabilia.  Thanks go to Tom Lawson, Jr. for additional historical and personal detail on 31778 that was previously unknown and fills a large gap of the missing story.  Tom knew Lewis Rhodes of Railrhodes, Inc. when they were both with Republic Locomotive Works in the early 1980's.  Tom tried to purchase 31778 (d/b/a Locomotive Marketing, Inc.), but Railrhodes, Inc. won out.

Remember:  31778 started life in Erie, PENNSYLVANIA; then went to Schuyler, VIRGINIA; from there to Nelson, GEORGIA; and on to Woodville, OHIO before now appearing in Green Bay, WISCONSIN.  61 years old and lived in 5 different states!




Reference:  Photographs are available from sources as noted next to each picture used in the article.

Send email to NelsonAlbemarle@comcast.net if you have any comments or questions or wish to contribute to future articles.

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