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in this shortline standard gauge railroad with where to find articles, pamphlets, booklets, books, photographs (some unpublished and heretofore not known as available for prints).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 2015: NEARHS
 
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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
Images of Rail: Richmond Railroads by Jeff Hawkins - 2010
Greetings from Charlottesville, Virginia and Albemarle County by Samuel Pyeatt Menefee - 2009
H. K. Porter Company - Light Locomotives (catalog reprint) from Periscope Film, LLC - 2010
Train Shed Cyclopedia #6 - Passenger Locomotives from the 1930 Locomotive Cyclopedia by Newton K. Gregg, Publisher - 1973
Train Shed Cyclopedia #2 - Switching & Freight Locomotives from the 1930 Locomotive Cyclopedia by Newton K. Gregg, Publisher - 1972
Virginia Railway Depots by Donald R. Traser through the Old Dominion Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society - 1998
Nelson & Albemarle Railway - Alberene Stone Co. in The Short Line: The Journal of Shortline & Industrial Railroads, Volume 6, Number 1; TSL #31 - January/February 1978
 
  
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)!  See photos below that were recently added to the archive.

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 prior to the addition of yellow stripes to the ends of the locomotive.. 
 
 
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 and the N&A.
 

 

Upcoming:  Don't forget - We need your help to finish our new N&A map with detail on the track layout at the junction in ROCKFISH or a partial map will be made with this area left blank.  Your help would be appreciated in locating this detail.

This Month's Article: August 2015
The past and the present - N&A short stories
 
It is sad to report on the demise of one more Nelson & Albemarle locomotive.  GE 35-ton diesel c/n 31768 (the N&A 3rd #2) is now reported scrapped as junk by the Imerys Corporation in Sylacauga, Alabama (actually having happened in 2009 or 2010) as noted in a site visit on August 26, 2015 to the Gaant's Quarry location by Sylacuaga.  Starting life in November 1952, the unit was a rare 35-ton diesel of 234hp that shipped to the N&A in early December of that year.  Having moved to Alabama Marble (then owned by Georgia Marble) the unit never strayed from it's location as the company evolved into Imerys. Security personnel at the Imerys site at the quarry advised that the unit had become severely rusted and could no longer safely perform service.  Imerys' manager of rail operations, Abel Mendoza, will be contacted to determine (if possible) the company where and the actual date the diesel was disposed.   ###  This leaves only two remaining N&A locomotives; one static and one active.  +  The static unit is of course the former Old Dominion Soapstone Company #2 (and 2nd #2 of the N&A) which is sitting in the lumbar yard at Goshen, Virginia albeit without it's signature boiler-wrapped saddle tank for water.  With a build date of October 4th, 1909, the Vulcan unit (c/n 1436) saw varied service before receiving a new boiler in December 1926.  The steamer was placed in out-of-service status in December 1931 and was later sold to the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway in 1942 (though shown sold to local-Nelson County business, American Cyanimid) and became VBR's 1st #4 locomotive.  VBR sold the 0-4-0T to Leas & McVitty of Buena Vista, Virginia (a tanning extract manufacturer) for a little more than four times what they had paid for the saddle-tank loco after only a little more than a year of use re-ballasting their main lines to support additional traffic!  In 1956 L&McV sold the locomotive to an individual, Charles Watson, who removed the saddle tank and featured the steamer outside of a motel in Marion, Virginia until Will Harris purchased the unit and moved it to his North Fork Lumber Company site.  +  The active unit (as last we knew) remains in use at Great Lakes Calcium in Green Bay, Wisconsin (to be confirmed by site is visit in October).  The GE 25-ton 'B' diesel (c/n 31778) was the N&A 2nd #3 unit.  Built in January 1953 in Erie, Pennsylvania, the 150hp locomotive completed it's use on the N&A at Schuyler, Virginia and was transferred to the Georgia Marble Nelson, Georgia site in 1963 though stored out-of-service for some years.  Railrhodes, Inc. bought the unit and in 2002 sold it to Great Lakes Calcium in Woodville, Ohio where it apparently was invlived in a collision.  GLC, prior to selling it's facility in Ohio, shipped the damaged unit off to their Green Bay, Wisconsin location (around 2003).  In mid-February 2014, GLC confirmed by phone that the unit now sporting a Green Bay Packers emblem is indeed GE c/n 31778.  ###  The goal of any historical society is to provide the background and value that the railroad provided to the community and company it served.  The last remaining diesel is still providing service to the Great Lakes Calcium Company and the last steam locomotive, though missing parts, is still available to visit and photograph.  It was quite disappointing when it was discovered that the GE 44-ton diesel (N&A 3rd #1) had been scrapped by TTX in North Augusta, South Carolina some years back as they re-engined their remaining small critters.  Now that the GE 35-ton diesel (N&A 3rd #2) is also gone, it is with mixed emotion that we contemplate their extended lives - they were born in 1950 and 1952 and lasted through into about 1990 and 2009; 40 and 57 years!  These were fantastic life spans and the GE 25-ton diesel (N&A 2nd #3) is still operating today, 62 years later!  If you have the chance to see the last steam locomotive in Goshen, Virginia, by all means get out there and experience it firsthand.  If you can see the last diesel out in Green Bay, Wisconsin, please do so.  It is not likely that either of these locomotives will ever be finding their way into a static display in Schuyler, Virginia or possibly at the C&O historical society facility at Clifton Forge, Virginia, but we can always hope.

Now, the past is present!  August 2015 took this author to the University of Virginia and the Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library where recently Laird Ramsey donated historical documents found in an old desk in Schuyler, Virginia at a garage sale.  There were 145 sets of documents as yet uncatalogued by the staff at UVA.  This led to a review of ALL of the sets and an informal cataloging by this writer (as well as photographs of many of the pertinent items that help the historical society provide it's goal of identifying where railfans and researchers can find information on the Nelson & Albemarle Railway).  When complete, the initial cataloging will separate the 145 sets into a matrix of data including company involvement, year reference, and historical commentary and share that data with the UVA staff tasked with reviewing and understanding the historical significance of each document.  Laird had many options on disposition of these documents.  He could have kept and sold them individually, but his recognition for their historical value and significance led him to ask myself and Becky Howard of the Nelson County Historical Society for the best place to have them available for research use.  He then chose the Special Collections Library at UVA which already held a significant amount of documents and historical photographs that reference the Nelson & Albemarle Railway and the various soapstone company iterations it served including the unpublished manuscript by Garth Groff, Soapstone Shortlines:  Alberene Stone and it's Railroads which he condensed into a booklet of the same name in 1992.  So, we applaud you, Laird Ramsey, for your donation of these significant and historical legal and company documents which provide more insight into both the soapstone company and the Nelson & Albemarle Railway operations during it's very early years.

And the future approaches!  As promised last month, the current status of Book Planning is now included monthly:  We have completed the initial book layout format (eBook, with limited page size) and are now working on securing individual permission to use certain materials the least of which is a film clip by August Thieme that shows an N&A train operating in the late 1940's or early 1950's.

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

We will continue to include the book planning segment in each month's article as shown here:
Cover - Photo of #9 with boxcar and combine from California Railroad Museum (a Charles Clegg photograph from the Mixed Train Daily series)
Inside - Detailed map of Nelson & Albemarle (to be prepared from multiple sources including plats, valuation maps, diagrams from COHS, topographical maps, etc.)  Note:  This map has been created, but there is a notable gap in the track diagram for the Rockfish, Virginia area which has kept this map from being completed.  We continue to look for that detail as we move forward to publish this book.
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1 - Origin of the N&A; predecessors Schuyler Railway, Alberene Railroad, Lease of the C&O Alberene Subdivision
Chapter 2 - Soapstone Company histories; (Albemarle, Virginia, Alberene + others such as Old Dominion that merged)
Chapter 3 - Nelson & Albemarle Railway - how it began, leases, where it ran, topical discussions on why and where
Chapter 4 - Depots, Yard(s), Sidings, Interchanges, Timetables
Chapter 5 - Steam Locomotives (1, 2; Old Dominion 1, 2; the mystery of 3; 4; 5 & 6; 7; the mystery of 8 and how it got on the N&A Stock Certificate; 9 & 10; 11; 12, 14, 15.)
Chapter 6 - Diesel Locomotives (1, 2, 3 and their subsequent histories)
Chapter 7 - Misc. Powered Equipment (4-wheel Sheffield Velocipede bought from Fairbanks-Morse Company model="Maude" which name it kept)
Chapter 8 - Mixed Train Service (great chapter for photographs, but also to showcase the requirement of mixed trains to serve needs)
Chapter 8A - Passenger Service, Equipment, + Caboose(s) including 1 former RF&P (passenger only trains, equipment 'borrowed' from the C&O, end of passenger service, caboose as passenger service)
Chapter 8B - Freight Service, Equipment + off line equipment such as freight dollys, soapstone dollys for gang saws, etc.; (boxcars from NYC, etc.; hoppers, ballast car, flat cars to service quarries and gang saws;
Chapter 9 - Photographers (Charles Clegg, August Thieme, H. Reid, etc.), Motion Picture Photographer (only 1 known - August Thieme), and Authors (Archie Robertson, Lucius Beebe, Richard Prince, Garth Groff, Mallory Hope Ferrell)
Chapter 10 - Publications, etc. on N&A (the web site detail here)
Chapter 11 - The N&A what if and what is (what if the N&A had continued to exist; what is left of the N&A today and how Soapstone is again in a revival period)
Inside back - Fanciful map of the sightseeing along the route, plus the industries other than soapstone served by the line including school 'bus' service.
 


NOTE: The Roster of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway will be staying with us as we listen to your comments and make corrections and/or updates!
 
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. And it should also be noted that some switching locomotives sold by the Baldwin Locomotive Works included separate tenders to extend the operational capacity of the locomotive when access to clean water was not always available.

* 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 from the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway held by the Whippany Railway Museum 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.  Noted historian, Tom Lawson, Jr. (author of Locomotives of the SI&E Company) received detail from Alan Maples in 2014 that showed that VBR had shipper, American Cyanimid at Piney River pay for work on the locomotive and they did not have an ownership stake in the engine.  The Virginia Blue Ridge sold the locomotive when no longer needed to Leas & McVitty, Inc. a tanning extract manufacturer in Buena Vista, Virginia on 22 December 1943 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 the arrival of the first diesel had already displaced #9 as the mainline locomotive, #11 would be the last active steam survivor on the N&A with scrapping taking place in 1954.

* 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.   According to article by Ed Fielding in The Short Line: The Journal of Shortline & Industrial Railroads in January/February 1978 (Volume 6, Number 1; TSL #31), this Plymouth unit (un-numbered) was in the engine house at Schuyler in 1965 making it the last of the roster to be present on the original property.

* 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.  Confirmed scrapped for metal in 2009 or 2010 by security personnel at Gaant's Quarry on August 26, 2015 while onsite in Sylacauga, Alabama.  Unit was rusted out badly and no longer able to perform workload.  Working to confirm what company scrapped the diesel with Abel Mendoza, Imerys rail operations manager in Georgia.

* 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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