ARCHIVE: This Month's Articles

 
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Published ARTICLES
June 2009 - Researching Early N&A Locomotives
July 2009 - Featuring: Douglas Wornom, RR Collectibles Vendor
August 2009 - In Search of Nelson & Albemarle Steam
September 2009 - In Search of Steam Expands: A review of Rosters and Locomotive Information
October 2009 - I'm taking a break this month from my Search for N&A Locomotives to do some California Dreamin'
November 2009 - In Search of Steam...err... Diesels (and Motorcar!)
December 2009 - Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
January 2010 - "Fairville" and the movie "Virginia" - The Nelson & Albemarle / C&O Connection
February/March 2010 - "Depots & Stations of the Nelson & Albemarle"
April 2010 - What If.... the N&A were still operating?
May 2010 - Update on the Diesel/Motorcar Roster of the N&A Ry.
June/July 2010 - How we got here - covering research, sweat in creating articles with relevance
August 2010 - Publications that featured the Nelson & Albemarle Railway: Some major (and minor) publications that if you haven't seen, you should! (Part 1 of 2)
September 2010 - More Publications that featured the N&A Railway: the last 20 years of publications that you should know about! (Part 2 of 2)
October 2010 - Collectibles of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway: Paper or Metal, Ticket or Salesman's Sample, there's lot's out there
November-December 2010 - Happy Holidays Message from the Editor
January 2011 - In Search of Motor Cars: If not Electric or Steam, what Motor Car was left at Rockfish 
February 2011 - Building the N&A in HO - Warren, Virginia: Planning and Structures 
March 2011 - In Search of N&A Steam: Locomotives #3 and #4
April 2011 -  In Search of N&A Locomotives: An Update on #5 and Diesel #3
May 2011 - Editor on Vacation
June 2011 - Editor on Vacation
July 2011 - Editor on Vacation
August 2011 - Vistas of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway
September 2011 - Pot Luck!
October 2011 - Connecting with Historical Societies
November-December 2011 - Wishing you Happy Holidays!
January 2012 - New York Central on the Nelson & Albemarle
February 2012 - In Search of Steam - The missing locomotives, #2, #3, and #8
March 2012 - Nelson & Albemarle Railway Track Elevations (first article in Terrain-series)
April 2012 - Connecting to the Virginia Midland (Southern) Railway at North Garden (25th Article in the This Month's Articles series)
May 2012 - The Richmond & Alleghany Railroad
June 2012 - (A mini-note on a C&O advertisement)
July 2012 - The Alberene Railroad
August 2012 - Add on to the July Article with diagram of Alberene building and track layouts
September 2012 - Editor away on business
October 2012 - Tales of Warren, Virginia
November, December 2012 - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
January 2013 - The historical society's library collection
February 2013 - Author away on business
March 2013 - Author away on business
April 2013 - Tales of Esmont, Virginia - Part One
May 2013 - In Search of Steam - FOUND!  N&A #8 Locomotive Photograph
June 2013 - Research Continues
July, August 2013 - Editor on Vacation
September 2013 - Tales of Esmont, Virginia - Part Two
October 2013 - Update on Garth Groff and his full manuscript on the N&A
November, December 2013 - Tales of Alberene, Virginia
January/February 2014 - The Nelson & Albemarle Railway Roster; a 2014 Roster Update
March/April 2014 - The Story of N&A #3 Diesel
May/June 2014 - Freight & Passenger Equipment of the N&A
July 2014 - Modeling the Nelson & Albemarle Railway (Part 1)
August 2014 - Tales of Schuyler, Virginia
September/October 2014 - Tales of Rockfish, Virginia
November 2014 - Building a new Nelson & Albemarle Railway Map 
December 2014 - Status on the new Nelson & Albemarle Railway Map
January 2015 - The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway
February 2015 - Continuing to Build the new Nelson & Albemarle Railway Map
March 2015 - Did the N&A Lease Lane Brothers Locomotives?
April 2015 - New historical documents found
May 2015 - A side excursion to the Clover Hill Railway, Bright Hope Railway, Farmville & Powhatan Railroad, and Tidewater & Western Railroad 
June 2015 - Modeling the Nelson & Albemarle Railway (Part 2)
July 2015 - Writing about the Nelson & Albemarle Railway
August 2015 - The past and the present - N&A short stories
September/October 2015 - The future - an N&A short story
November/December 2015 - Photographers of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway, Part 1
January 2016 - Photographers of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway, Part 2
February 2016 - Chapter 11 as written for the new book on the Nelson & Albemarle Railway......
March 2016 - Photographers of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway, Part 3 - The Builder's Photographs
April 2016 - Photographers of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway, Part 4 - the Not-So-Amateur Photographers
May-June 2016 - Cabooses of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway
July-August 2016 - What we don't know about the N&A Railway
September 2016 - Asking for Donations
October 2016 - The N&A revisits "Fairville" and the movie, "Virginia"
November 2016 - Yes, I would Like to Lend My Photographs to be Scanned!
December 2016 - A Message for the Season
January 2017/February 2017 - The Nelson & Albemarle Railway Roster; a 2017 Roster Update
March 2017 - Nelson & Albemarle Railway Locomotive Use
April/May 2017 - Editor away on Assignment
June 2017 - "Hutchcraft" - the #7 N&A locomotive
July-August 2017 - What we don't know about the N&A Railway, Part 2
September-October 2017 - The Culver & Port Clinton Railroad - Original owner of N&A #11
November-December 2017 - Collectibles of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway (Part 2)
January-February 2018 - The Nelson & Albemarle Railway Roster; a 2018 Roster Update
March-April 2018 - Timetables of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway
May-June 2018 - Tales of Rockfish - Part 2 (Rockfish Depot)
July 2018 - Tracing Nelson & Albemarle Railway Vulcan Locomotives
August 2018 - Researching Old Sources for Information


Article Initial Planning (subject to change)
Map of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway including sidings, bridges, etc. - planned for introduction in 2018 once Rockfish tracks are identified
The Schuyler Railway
In Search of Motorcars
Bridges of Albemarle County (and Nelson County, too) -
Famous Authors, Railfans, chronological view of Photographs, Video, Film, Builders Photos 
The 2018 Roster Update - planned for January 2019 as annual update
Modeling the N&A at Esmont
The C&O Railway at Warren, Virginia
In Search of Steam - Locomotive Updates (All, but special interest on #2, #3, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #14, #15)
The Southern Railway at Rockfish, Virginia
In Search of Diesels - The 3rd #2 in Sylacauga, AL (scrapped in about 2010/2011!)
Modeling the Nelson & Albemarle Railway (Part x - Alberene)
Modeling the Nelson & Albemarle Railway (Part x - Schuyler)
Modeling the Nelson & Albemarle Railway (Part x - Rockfish)
Keeping Trains on Time - N&A Timetables
 

This Month's Article - August 2018
Researching Old Sources for Information

I remember my Mother storing old photographs in a shoe box on the high shelf in her bedroom closet.  Most of the photos were of family with a few of nearby subjects such as the first C&O train through Howardsville, Virginia after track had been rebuilt from a derailment.  It's those other subject photographs that have been the basis for my searching.  Finding photographs of the very early days of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway has always been a challenge.  Previously, early N&A photographs depended on the locomotive builder making a professional photograph or when the locomotive was resold to a was reliant on builder's photographs or resellers photographs and less on the amateur photographer.  The issues with professional photographs is they usually only dealt with the locomotives and not any of the on site premise - especially of the terminals or depots.  Later in the life of those locomotives, the engine would be resold and depending on the reseller, the locomotive might be photographed as a marketing tool for the resale.  Much as the photograph is a good representative of the history of any railroad, data - such as a roster or timetable - is as valuable in setting the stage with locomotive details and train movements.  Railroad enthusiasts such as Charles Eben Fisher collected both data and photographs in those early 1900's and provide a view of many railroads early operations from before World War I through Wold War II and the Korean conflict.  But finding those photographs, timetables, and other data remains difficult.  In the early days, Railroad Stories Magazine (later Railroad Magazine) featured a mail-order photo/negative advertisement whose owner, Warren Miller, would collect over 200,000 photos.  When he died in the late 1980's his collection passed to his nephew, Robert Hall.  The Railway Negative Exchange known as REX or RNE was popular but with the rise of amateur photography in the 1970's and 1980's (and the iPhone in most recent years), the railroad enthusiast need only photograph their own subjects (I own two quite expensive Nikon digital cameras myself and find that my iPhone frequently takes the best photo).  Still, it would be great to see the database of negatives listed somewhere so that the search for early Nelson & Albemarle Railway photographs could be put to rest. Recently a new book was presented to the Nelson & Albemarle Railway Historical Society's library.  Some Vernacular Railroad Photographs by Jeff Brouws and Wendy Burton is a collection of unique photographs that bring to mind the variety of images that people experienced through the years related to railroads and the existence people held during those industrial years represented.  Nicely done, the preface to the photographs even mention how collectors began exchanging photos and negatives in the early 1920's and 1930's through the coordination of people like Charles E. Fisher (mentioned above), founder of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society.  The International Engine Picture Club was another facet of railroad enthusiasts that provided for the exchange of photographs.  And a photo spread in a 1937 Life Magazine issue also had the editor's providing a dissertation on a preferred methodology of photographing locomotives in a 3/4 view that would become the mainstay of many photographers as they captured their local railway's best locomotives on film.  In a funny twist, a photographer was also captured taking a photograph as H. Reid, noted author of The Virginian Railway, published it in a railroad book!  Businesses sprang up with very simple names like Rail Photo Service (run by H. W. "Jack" Pontin).  Still finding a current access to these original sources is difficult.

It was interesting to note that the exchange started in the back of Railroad Stories magazine with free ads to offer or wanted notes to seek, photographs or negatives.  The xxxxxxxxxxx began teaching the preferred methodology of photographing locomotives and it is that methodology or 3/4 view that was the mainstay of many photographers as they captured their local railway's best locomotives, but fortunately for the readers of this book, there are plenty of other photographs that capture more of the feeling of life along the rail line.  H. Reid even captures a photographer taking a photograph in one picture!

Sunset Express Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Who ran a mail-order B&W photo and negative
> business by that name?
> I bought some prints from them in the early 1970's
> and just wondered about the business.

Yes indeed!! Railway Negative Exchange (REX), also referred to as RNE was run by
Warren Miller who lived in Moraga, CA.
Born in Oakland, CA--(1923) Warren was this nation's foremost authority on Western railroads and devoted virtually his entire life to assembling more than a quarter of a million negatives, most in glass plates, as well as over 200,000 photographs.

Upon Warren's death (1989), his collection was left to his nephew, Robert "Bob" Hall. Bob has continued his uncle's devotion to the railroad photographic hobby. If you are interested in a particular photo or are conducting research for a project, contact "Bob Hall" at the "Railway Negative Exchange"-- 1496- Los Rios Drive, San Jose, CA 95120..
"Warren" will smile down at you if you do !!

Ken Shattock (KRK)

(Note: Bob's address was what I listed, as of 1996)


International Engine Pictures Club


This Month's Article: December 2017
Living on the N&A Right-of-Way (Schuyler to Rockfish saga)

Recently, I had an inquiry from someone wanting to tell me about their home in Nelson County somewhere between Schuyler and Rockfish.

This Month's Article - May 2018
Tales of Rockfish - Part 2 (Rockfish Depot)

If you could slip back in time to a point where there were few, if any, automobiles and you were living in a small, country village off the beaten path alongside a rail line (the life blood of communities around the turn of the 19th century), that period in time could best describe the Rockfish Depot along the Southern Railway.  Those early days of the last century were difficult days for the people in Nelson and nearby Albemarle County.  A primary occupation was farming and the nearby quarries of the soapstone works at Schuyler.  The center of the community was the railroad and the businesses that sprang up around the depot.  This section of railway began life as part of the Orange & Alexandria Railway (formed by charter in the late 1840's)  which would merge into the newly-created Southern Railway system in 1894 after a tumultuous previous twenty-four years of evolution.  Names changed from the Orange & Alexandria Railway to the Orange, Alexandria and Manassas Railroad before entering into bankruptcy and emerging as Virginia Midland but being controlled by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.  The Virginia Midland would become part of the Richmond & Danville (while retaining the Virginia Midland name) until the merger into the Southern RR).   While life in the country setting revolved around either work or the enjoyment of leisure time activity, working at the Soapstone Works could not have been considered an easy life.  Drilling and cutting stone blocks out of the quarries was a labor-intensive effort aided by some mechanical tools, but outdoors regardless of the weather.  Indoors (without any air conditioning as we know it today) was hot in the summertime and while there were large fans, working in the Gang Saw building (as my Father did in the early 1940 time period) or in the mill, drilling and assembling wash tubs, could not be considered comfortable.  Mentioned in a previous article written in September/October 2014, the first trains connecting the Soapstone Works to Rockfish Depot were trolleys purchased secondhand from the Lynchburg Street Railway System - their original first trolleys and in definite secondhand condition.  This connection would be updated quickly once the merger of Virginia Soapstone Works and Albemarle Soapstone Works completed and with the creation of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway to service the rail needs of the combined company. 
In Archie Robertson's 1945 book, Slow Train to Yesterday, he mentioned how the railway was served at Rockfish Depot by the use of 'poling' the cars into place.  Around the depot opportunity flourished.  Some of the nearby buildings included a mechanic (more than likely handling anything mechanical such as a tractor, farm implement, or automobile), a general store (unfortunately having burned down during the 1960's), the post office (still standing since moving from the depot in about 1914), and, in deference to work or leisure, a church.  This was a tight-knit little area of businesses supporting the people of the area and any travelers coming off of the North-South line of the Southern Railway as well as any going east on the
Nelson & Albemarle Railway mixed use train to Schuyler, Esmont, or Alberene.  Sadly, the depot itself is long gone with the last available photograph taken about 1957 though recently a photograph was found with no date of the Rockfish depot covered in snow.  The few photographs of the area (two used for postcards and shown here again as in the previous article of Rockfish) depict a medium size station with facilities to handle freight and passengers easily.  In an unusual twist, two brothers, including one who worked for the Southern Railway, purchased the materials of the Rockfish Depot to use as a 'family hunting cabin'.  They disassembled the station, reconstructing it as a the 'Rockfish Cabin' at what is now 1197 Braley Pond Road in West Augusta, Virginia.  Up until recently, it was available to rent and had become know as "The Rustic Moose".   When the Lohr family completed the cabin around 1963, it had been partially reconstructed to include stones from the area.  Although no longer looking like the depot with it's waiting room facing the tracks, the reconstruction of the building truly recycled what could otherwise have ended up in a landfill.

Finding a photograph 
The Rustic Moose is a historical cabin nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It is located at 1197 Braley Pond Rd. West Augusta, VA 24485
The Rustic Moose, formerly known as the Rockfish Cabin, is much more than a little three-bedroom stone house in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley. In around 1960 two brothers, one a worker on the Southern Railway, the other a carpenter and builder by trade, decided to build a family hunting cabin. Being employed by the Southern Railway the brothers were able to purchase the decommissioned train station at Rockfish in Nelson County Virginia. The Lohr brothers dismantled the train station and transported the depot over the Blue Ridge Mountain to their land in West Augusta Virginia. There with the help of their sons the Lohr's completed the cabin around 1963.
It has been said that almost the entire cabin, with the exception of the stone came from the old train station. The stone was gathered by the cousins from the local streams and rivers.
The cabin features very comfortable living space with a great room with a wood burning stove, 1 master bedroom with king size log bed & wood burning stove, 1 bedroom with 2 twin log beds, 1 bedroom with a twin over full bunk bed, a completely renovated kitchen (with dishwasher) & bathroom & utility room with washer and dryer. The bathroom features a tub/shower combination with a truly unique pebble stone wall.

The Rustic Moose does not have central air conditioning, but with many cool nights in the summer and the stone exterior, the inside stays comfortably cool. We have a window unit AC in both upstairs bedrooms along with fans. In the master bedroom there is a separate heating and cooling unit that does provide air conditioning.
The water system in the cabin was updated in 2014 giving guests clean, safe, filtered well water. No need to bring bottled water. Bottle straight from the tap for delicious tasting cold water.
Enjoy all the outdoor has to offer with the George Washington National Forest at your back door. Stay close and sit around the firepit or venture off to hike many of the nearby trails. Don't forget your fishing pools as Braley Pond is just down the street.
Rustic Moose is located at 1197 Braley Pond Rd. West Augusta, VA 24485
Nellysford, Va was originally known as “Rockfish, Va” until 1870, when the post office at Rockfish Depot was established. Rockfish Depot became “Rockfish” in approximately 1903. The post office was moved from the depot to its current location sometime in 1914. The depot (top picture) was supposedly dismantled and moved to be a cabin in West Augusta, Va. The store (bottom picture) burned down during the 1960s. The post office can be seen to the left of the store in the picture. Long time residents still consider Rockfish to be “Rockfish Depot” and that Rockfish is the area near “Rockfish Valley” on 151 near Nellysford.

 There doesn't appear to be a photo of Rockfish from those early days prior to 1905/06 and we've seen only 2 photographs of the village  (about 1920 and from 1957) and none with N&A or Schuyler Railway rolling stock in the photograph.  We mentioned in Part 1 published in July-August 2016 that...to spot cars, the N&A had to 'pole' them into position and that readers should see Archie Robertson's book, "Slow Train to Yesterday" for the prosaic description of the process.  A photo with poling of cars would be the best possible one to find but not holding my breath on that.  We're also looking for a diagram of the N&A tracks interchanging there up through 1947-48.  Finding any track diagram for Rockfish has been a desire for several years now..
We've long been excited to find out detail on the N&A terminus with the Southern Railway at Rockfish Depot.  While there are many details yet to find, this recap of where we are will focus on the limited but vibrant industry at the depot including the general store, machine shop, post office, warehouses, and churches. 

The railroad entered Reconstruction in dire shape, with much of its track ripped up and most of its rolling stock destroyed. However, Barbour proceeded to rebuild the railroad, soon with the help of various politically connected financiers and his brother in law J.S.B. Thompson. In 1867, the O&A merged with the Manassas Gap Railroad (led by Edward Carrington Marshall) to become the Orange, Alexandria and Manassas Railroad.[3]

After the Panic of 1873, the railroad was consolidated into the Virginia Midland Railway, which was controlled by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. It later became part of the Richmond and Danville Railroad, which went bankrupt in the Panic of 1893. The following year it was merged into the Southern Railway.

This Month's Article:  September/October 2014
Tales of Rockfish, Virginia
 
Like many places in Virginia and other states during the mid to late 1800’s, Rockfish as a community developed around the railroad putting down rails and the need to support both freight and passenger activity plus the activities to maintain the locomotives with water stops and coal.  Rockfish Depot, in the early 1900’s was a thriving village with stores (like Smith’s Cash Store) and would also have a small Post Office (where the Depot might be the center of all that happened in town and people would wait for those daily trains to arrive to see who might slip off a Pullman car or coach and spend money nearby.  There would be a gas station by 1915 or so, demonstrating that automobiles would become an active part of everyone’s life soon.   But Rockfish was, like many towns in Virginia, either associated to farming or some form of industry/business. 
For this tale, it is the industry of the very late 1800’s that had soapstone veins being exploited to create an industry that utilized the quarried stone for wash sinks, laboratory countertops, and even to construct the buildings used to saw or mill the stone for final products.  Virginia Soapstone created its relationship with the Southern Railway in Rockfish as the closest rail junction that could handle the volume of crated products emanating from Schuyler.  The interchange worked both ways with the Southern bringing in goods and materials to keep not only the mill running but also to supply the Company Store at Schuyler with items that workers would need to subsist in the industrial area that supplied them with employment.  The worker’s houses were scattered in nearby areas but the Company Store was their window to the outside world in most cases, bringing them products that could only be found there (such as wood stoves, cookware, and other sundry goods).  Connecting to the Southern Railway at Rockfish Depot first was the trolley equipment purchased secondhand from the Lynchburg Electric Street Railway Company. This equipment was well used, but quickly became modified for the distinct needs of moving crated soapstone sinks for shipment via boxcars more suited for long haul than the short distance traveled along the Rockfish River to deliver items to the warehouse along the rail line at the Depot.  The trolley setup included the high trestle at Schuyler that was removed later as the merger of the soapstone companies and the formation of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway superseded the need for the Schuyler Railways electric line. 
The amount of rail traffic through Rockfish Depot was significant enough to have the Southern Railway double-track the main line and there were passenger trains that met up with the scheduled mixed trains of the N&A Railway though there may have been some issues with the Southern changing their schedules and not notifying the N&A leaving passengers stranded at Rockfish either coming or going.  But it was the floods that impacted the Rockfish River that would damage and finally end the link between Schuyler and Rockfish for the Nelson & Albemarle Railway.  Flooding in 1947 finally washed out several bridges and much of the roadbed supporting the rail. 
The N&A requested formal abandonment the following year and the remainder of track would be torn out and the use of the interchange with the Southern Railway ended.  Like any town, the depression had caused many a business failure but the change in America due to World War II had lasting impact on Rockfish. 
While cars had been difficult to procure during the war, the post-war period saw a boom in automobile production and the rise in car ownership.  With cars as a prime mover of people and the railroad no longer the main way to get to other towns, Rockfish lost it's stature as a key railroad stop on the Southern Railway's main route to the South. 
The depot would eventually be torn down to reduce the taxable property on the railroad.  Business endeavors near the depot such as warehouses, merchandise stores, etc. would leave for better locations such as by the now well-traveled roadways.  Rockfish reverted back to the quaint community with a basis on farming.  As other communities experienced an outflow of it's youth in search of employment and a better life, so did Rockfish lose many of it's youngsters to the lure of business in Waynesboro or Lynchburg.  Left today are a single track mainline crossing the Rockfish River on bridge abutments designed for the double track of the Southern Railways highest moments.  The small Post Office is also a reminder of the active village Rockfish once was and receives quite a few visitors each year.
 
 
Send email to NelsonAlbemarle@comcast.net if you have any comments or questions or wish to contribute to future articles.





This Month's Article:  Future Month 2018

The Early Story of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway (Part 1)

Over the last 9 years we've written about the history of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway from it's founding in 1903 to it's general demise in 1963 with one steam engine and one diesel remaining in existence.  A lot of research has taken place to collect that history which primarily ends up in the form of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway Roster and the "This Month's Article" series.  What is not become evident is the story of the early days of the N&A and how the original transition from horse or mule-drawn wagon and trolley migrated to steam power.  So the following may be a 'story' to some, but an interesting hypothesis on how the N&A evolved with new and used equipment in those early days between 1903 and 1925.  Here goes.....

The merger of the Albemarle Soapstone Company with the Virginia Soapstone Company was

This Month's Article: November-December 2017
Collectibles of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway (Part 2)

This is a significant update to the Collectibles of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway article written for the This Month's Article of October 2010.  Originally, there were no plans to write additional detail on Collectibles because as collectibles, they can gain in value (like gold coins) or lose value (like Beanie BabiesR) but in the case of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway, collectibles have significantly GAINED in value.  I received an email from Mike S. over in Charlottesville recently where he was asking if I could help to value an N&A artifact - a lantern stamped in metail with "N&A Ry. Co.".  Step back about 3 years and a similar email generated the same response - a search of the value of an N&A artifact - in that case, the bell from locomotive #10.  For that research, the general nature of a steam locomotive bell found many clues as to the price people would be willing to pay and while the price received when it eventually sold is not known, the process used to value it at the time is known.  That research process (used again in the most recent case) looked at the sale of steam locomotive bells from across the country primarily at local railroadiana events and online auctions.  What was found at the time in using that process remained valuable but held a special key to gaining the highest sale price possible.  In the same way that locomotive bells had collectors across the country, so has the lantern, a Keystone/Casey manufactured between 1903 and 1930 with a plain clear, glass globe without any embossed lettering.  Locomotive bell collectors are an interesting group - they collect ones specific to a rail line or region where they live or lived and where the rail line holds a special significance for them.  At the time, bells from short lines were not selling for great prices UNLESS they were being sold local to the rail line or region where the rail line existed, the special key to getting the best price possible.  The value of bells ranged from $200-$4000 at the time, with significant bells (i.e.; off of a N&W Class J) selling for top prices.  Lesser bells (those from smaller locomotives and relatively insignificant rail lines sold for not so much.  Enter the Keystone/Casey lantern inquiry - the same collectors of railroadiana have a special segment that just collect lanterns.  I've known one personally and his basement (unlike mine with a 10' x 17' HO-gauge N&A Railway layout) had rows and rows of shelves with lanterns from all across the Midwest region (where he grew up).  Key was having lanterns from his beloved Chicago & Northwestern (C&NW).  He paid the highest prices for those to make sure he could claim them for his collection.  For Mike S. the research showed that most lanterns from before the turn of the 20th century garnered the highest prices especially with embossed glass globes.  Prices ranged from $400 to $800 and while short lines had no particular shift in value (especially for later manufactured lanterns) the key was to sell at local railroadiana shows where collectors of that rail line would likely be present, looking for something that fit into their collection and willing to pay top dollar for it. Scarcity may be the reason value shoots up for these rail collectibles or possibly just the time that has passed since the rail line even existed.  In the case of the bell, valuing it at around $400 likely was selling it short.  For the lantern the value was between $200 and $250 based on similar sales in the last 6 months of short line lanterns within the region where the short line ran.  Gladly, Mike S. did his own research and discovered a very hot market for N&A Ry. Co. items and when attending the local railroadiana show in Virginia he sold his lantern for $1200!  And he had another higher offer, but had already committed to sell at that price.  I can only imagine the bell from N&A #10 selling to a collector like that and bringing upwards of $4000 for that owner.  The market for collectibles of the N&A Railway has changed and artifacts such as the lantern, the bell from #10, and other physical items is very hot.  The Nelson & Albemarle Railway Historical Society still collects visual artifacts such as photographs, negatives, and paper memorabilia but believes that physical parts of the railway either belong to private collectors or should be shared with the public at appropriate venues such as the C&O Historical Society in Clifton Forge, Virginia.  As a feeder line to the C&O, the historical society would seem to be a good choice as a repository for Nelson & Albemarle artifacts.


This Month's Article: September-October 2017
The Culver & Port Clinton Railroad - Original owner of N&A #11

Much like the Nelson & Albemarle Railway, the Culver & Port Clinton Railroad was created to serve a parent industry, the Granite Hill Plaster Company (a gypsum-quarrying company), with both companies formed in 1889.  Nearby gypsum companies (Marsh & Co.; Consumers Gypsum Co.) would be absorbed (like Granite Hill Plaster) into the foundation of the U.S. Gypsum Company that consolidated many small operations around the country in 1901/1902. Gypsum had been discovered in the early 1800's along Lake Erie and specifically in Portage Township of Ottawa County near Port Clinton, Ohio. 
The unincorporated town of Gypsum was an indication of the impact this mineral made on the area with two rail lines being developed from the Lake Shore & Michigan Railroad main line (later, the New York Central RR).  The first locomotive was purchased by either Granite Hill Plaster or the Culver & Port Clinton Railroad and while likely a new engine, it could have been purchased used (like the N&A's first locomotive acquired from the Richmond City Railway) but no information has been discovered to identify the engine's builder or construction number though a photograph from U. S. Gypsum exists that could be locomotive #1.  
Locomotives of that era were expected to have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years (though later locomotive evolution would find the useful life to be closer to 50 years if properly maintained).  That first locomotive managed the immediate need of transporting gypsum out to mills and to other manufacturers in Ohio and nearby states using gypsum in their processes (such as glass/ceramic manufacturing).
Granite Hill Plaster would use that first locomotive for 20 years (including the period of their inclusion in U.S. Gypsum at year 12) before Culver & Port Clinton Railroad #2 was ordered from Vulcan to be built at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in October, 1909. 
Construction number 1381 had 14x22 cylinders with 40" drivers, slightly different than the standard Vulcan locomotive known by the code word, "Ilios", which could be easily ordered without specifying many details but standardized with 14x20 cylinders and 37" drivers.For those who don't understand the measurement of cylinders, the 14 represents the cylinder diameter in inches and the 22 represents the stroke distance in inches, so while we abbreviate the representation, it could also be shown as 14"x22" cylinders.  The 2-4-2T wheel arrangement was augmented by "step" pilots on both ends primarily recognizing that the locomotive would not be 'turned' on a turntable or with use of "Wye" trackage and that the 'step' would be used by workers to ride along with the engine and manage coupling and uncoupling cars of gypsum.
This was much the same way in which the N&A used their locomotives - never turned, using only passing sidings to bring the locomotive to the front of the consist.  Vulcan not only prepared a builder's photo of the Culver & Port Clinton Railroad's #2 locomotive, but also featured the engine in it's "K" edition of their locomotive catalog of 1911. At 86,000 pounds, and with leading/trailing trucks, #2 would serve the Culver & Port Clinton Railroad only through 1923 when acquired by the Nelson & Albemarle Railway.  Before shipping the locomotive to Schuyler, Virginia, the Vulcan Locomotive Works would refurbish #2 to become N&A #11 as noted in an "as re-built" photograph shown here.  The clean look that #2 held when first built and as re-built into #11 would not last too long on a soapstone railway. 
The fancy white outline on the driver weights and on the driver tires along with the outline pinstripes on the cab and flank would be quickly tarnished by daily use.  And there were issues with #11 that caused it to be sent back to Wilkes-Barre for a new boiler in 1927 though that extended the useful life of the locomotive to allow it to be kept through 1954..  Research did not identify any specific use of #11 during the lean years of the 1930's (no photographs found) and it can only be assumed that #11 held general duties during those years.  In 1940, however, Paramount Pictures and Edward H. Griffith's production company came to Albemarle County to film the feature motion picture "Virginia" and N&A's #9, though planned to be featured in Esmont, ended up on the main  line of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway at Howardsville for opening sequences of the movie.  In preparing #9 for that eventful debut, lettering identifying the Nelson & Albemarle Ry. Co. was placed on the flanks of the tank engines mounted tender - where coal was stored for the locomotive.  In the movie, it's really difficult to identify the locomotive number, obscured by the dirt and dust of the soapstone line, but the lettering on both the locomotive and boxcar was clean and crisp being just added. This lettering also found it's way onto #11 as witnessed by a photo-postcard in the historical society's collection.  In February 1951, Railroad Magazine featured a photograph of a slightly different angle than the photo-postcard but obviously taken on the same day, some time in 1950 at Schuyler.  With #11 now running on the mainline (albeit possibly due to #9 and #10 being out of service for maintenance) there are many photographs of the locomotive compared to the tank engines that serviced the quarries.  
This early time of the 1950's was pivotal for the Nelson & Albemarle Railway as dieselization was being executed even on industrial or short lines and the mainline would become the domain of a GE 44-ton diesel locomotive (c/n 30856) in the spring of 1951, numbered as #1 to restart the roster with diesels.  About this time, #11 was sidelined (retired) and it's 42 years of work life ended.  No longer needed on the mainline, #11 was kept serviceable as dieselization moved forward.  While the diesel replacement for mainline power had been purchased directly by the Nelson & Albemarle Railway, the next two diesels delivered in early 1953 (GE 35-ton, c/n 31768 and GE 25-ton, c/n 31778)  would be purchased by the soapstone works and numbered in sequence with the railway's first diesel.  These two switchers were decidedly for quarry operations and would replace steam for all operations at Schuyler.  Scrapping came quickly in those years and steam locomotives #9 and #10 would leave the N&A via the connection at Esmont/Warren and likely be sent to Richmond, Virginia's Deepwater Terminal where the scrapper would cut apart the engines for reclamation as they did for so many of the Virginia-based motive power of Class I railroads such as the C&O Railway, Seaboard Air Line, and the Atlantic Coast Line. With two new diesel switchers supporting the quarry and making up trains in Schuyler, the quarry engines, #12, #14, and #15, also left the property to be scrapped. Though there are no photos yet found of N&A steam being cut up at Deepwater Terminal, the search remains to find at least one photograph that includes the last moments of the diminutive tank engines.    Steam was definitely finished it's last hurrah at the N&A with the full dieselization and while #11 still remained on the engine house siding at Schuyler, it's time was coming to make that trip to the scrapper's torch.  N&A #11 may have been kept into 1954 as a precaution on any issues rising out of the diesels, but the new locomotives were very reliable sending #11 to follow the other N&A steam locomotives.  For the brief years between the end of World War 2 and the forced retirement in 1951, #11 was photographed several times documenting it's continued use and support for the soapstone works before the diesels arrived to end the era of steam along the N&A's right of way.
With #11 gone, the only remaining steam locomotive was one that escaped the scrap heap by being sold to Virginia Blue Ridge Railway and from there through a couple of small industry owners until ending up in front of a motel/restaurant in Marion, Virginia.  That locomotive, N&A's second #2, previously owned by the Old Dominion Soapstone Company (also their #2), remains today.  It's located in Goshen, Virginia albeit without it's signature saddle-tank at North Fork Lumber Company (ask permission to visit).  Only N&A #9 had a longer lifespan serving the railway, 32 years compared to the just over 31 years for #11.







-
  - Photograph Credits:
Reference:  Locomotive #1, Culver & Port Clinton Railroad; U.S.Gypsum Company.
Reference:  Vulcan Locomotive Works, Builder's Photo, Culver & Port Clinton Railroad #2; also shown in Steam Locomotive & Railroad Tradition, May 1963
Reference:  Portage County maps; depicting Culver & Port Clinton Railroad tracks; Ottawa County (Ohio) Historical Society
Reference:  Vulcan Locomotive Works, Builder's Photo, Nelson & Albemarle #11; also shown in Steam Locomotive & Railroad Tradition, May 1963
Reference:  Vulcan Locomotive Works, Catalog K, Culver & Port Clinton Railroad #2 specifications and builder's photo
Reference:  Railroad Magazine, February 1951, N&A #11 at Schuyler, page 16
Reference:  NEARHS Collection, Photo Postcard, circa 1951 (photographed same day as Railroad Magazine view, but different angle)
Reference:  Don Ross Collection, photograph of #11 from June 22, 1950
Reference:  Unknown photographer, negative in NEARHS collection, #11 at Schuyler
Reference:  Unknown photographer, print in NEARHS collection, #11 at Warren on C&O main line, circa 1950
Reference:  Unknown photographer, print in NEARHS collection, #11 at Schuyler with #12 in background, circa 1948-50
Reference:  Unknown photographer, print in NEARHS collection, #11 at Schuyler Engine House, fires dropped, dormant circa 1951-53




















 This Month's Article:  July-August 2017
What we don't know about the N&A Railway, Part 2

Last year at this time, we took stock of the things we don't know about the Nelson & Albemarle Railway, but would like to know.  It seems almost impossible to look back to the last century and find the information about this small, shortline, industrial railway.  A tenacious spirit is required to visit libraries, archives, and museums seeking that elusive photograph or memorandum from 100 years earlier.  Those trips have been made both physically and virtually (via web) for several years now, but we still don't know everything about the N&A to complete the story of it's existence.  In last years missive, there were 10 items noted with 1 addition in late August.  This year, I'm trying to be much more descriptive of the items being sought (and the list has grown) so that they can be checked off as some document, photograph, or other piece of memorabilia is located.  So here goes with what is still, a partial list:

1) Early Days
    a) TROLLEY: We're looking for a photo of the former trolleys from Lynchburg that served the Schuyler Railway electrified line between Schuyler and Rockfish at the turn of that century up through 1905/6 before the line was rebuilt for the Nelson & Albemarle Railway's steam trains.  Even finding a photograph with the trolleys in their original Lynchburg Street Railway livery would be a good start!  There is one, quite poor photograph in a book on the Lynchburg Street Railways (Hill City Trolleys by Harold E. Cox), however, there's no definitive caption noting which ones in the photo were the ones sold to the Schuyler Railway.
    b) ROCKFISH:  There doesn't appear to be a photo of Rockfish from those early days prior to 1905/06 and we've seen only 2 photographs of the village  (about 1920 and from 1957) and none with N&A or Schuyler Railway rolling stock in the photograph.  We mentioned in Part 1 published in July-August 2016 that...to spot cars, the N&A had to 'pole' them into position and that readers should see Archie Robertson's book, "Slow Train to Yesterday" for the prosaic description of the process.  A photo with poling of cars would be the best possible one to find but not holding my breath on that.  We're also looking for a diagram of the N&A tracks interchanging there up through 1947-48.  Finding any track diagram for Rockfish has been a desire for several years now..
2) Beginnings of the N&A
    a) #2 AND #3: While we know about the N&A's first locomotive, an 0-4-0ST named "Belle" bought used from the Richmond City Railway, we know nothing of the first locomotives numbered 2 and 3.  For those, we can only speculate that they were diminutive switchers primarily used to move soapstone blocks from quarry to mill at Alberene and Schuyler, but again, that is only speculation!  Both of them may have been purchased used, leased, or bought new but there are no records found yet.  If leased and then returned to lessor, then the lack of information (including original documents) could be understandable.  We continue to search for what may not exist - a photograph of either #2 or #3.
    b) VELOCIPEDE: Early on, Henry Lane had a "Sheffield"-brand motor car purchased from Fairbanks-Morse with the model name, "Maude".  This was done around 1903-1904 based on a memorandum written a few short years later regarding parts for the velocipede.  Finding a photograph would be great, but even a graphic depiction of the "Maude" model from a Fairbanks-Morse catalog would be great to at least understand what this motor car really looked like.  There have been several descriptions on it's use, but nothing describing how many seats, how much capacity for baggage, etc.
    c) #8 WITH TENDER: There has been speculation by 'old-timers' that the locomotive numbered 8 on the N&A roster had a tender.  This was further complicated by the fact that Nelson & Albemarle stock certificates were adorned with a graphic image of a locomotive 'with tender' pulling a line of flat cars loaded with soapstone blocks!  Whether this was actual or imagined doesn't matter anymore.  What is known is that prior to #8 being acquired, the N&A bought two used-Manhattan Railway Forney locomotives in 1905 that would become N&A #5 and #6  (from Patricius McManus in Cape Charles, Virginia, a used locomotive dealer), Around the same time, another locomotive was bought used from the Proctor Coal Company of Kentucky that received #7 as it's locomotive number.   Likely, the locomotive that came to be N&A #8 was bought used and per 'old-timers' (and some N&A correspondence) was assigned to serve the Alberene mill site.  Finding an actual photo of #8, properly documented, would be huge.  Also note that on the Nelson & Albemarle stock certificate, the locomotive doesn't appear to have a saddle tank (much like Forney's #5, #6), so this tender may have been added to provide for coal/water capacity while servicing Alberene.
3) Mid-years of the N&A
    a) FIRST ROSTER: For the years between 1920 and 1955, there are MANY things we'd like to know not only about the railway, but also the soapstone operations.  Charles Eben Fisher aka C.E.Fisher, born in Taunton, Massachusetts in 1889, would start the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society in the early part of the century and as part of his fascination with the early days of railroading he would publish rosters that were hand-typed.  The list of his rosters is held at Youngstown State University and includes a notation for a 2-page roster compilation of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway from around 1940.  From this early life of the N&A this roster may include detail on locomotives #2, #3, and #8 that have never been identified.  While the list of rosters is at the university the actual rosters are not (and not in the archives of the R&LHS either).  We continue to look for those 2 pieces of paper and the valuable content they might hold.
    b) SCRAPPING STEAM (EARLY):  We have photographs of certain locomotives that were sold off to Southern Iron & Equipment (SI&E) for rebuilding and resale around 1920 which include the first #1, the second #2 (Old Dominion Soapstone), and #7 (the former "Hutchcraft" of the Proctor Coal Company) where those 3 were included in the sale but a 4th locomotive advertised locomotive, a Forney (either #5 or #6), apparently did not get sold and was scrapped.  We also have a photograph of #4 (the first 'new' locomotive on the N&A) from it's being sold to SI&E in 1924.  What we don't have is any photograph of the sale or scrapping of #2 (the first #2), #3, #5, #6, or #8.  These locomotives likely went to a scrap metals dealer somewhere along the line of the Southern Railway or Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, but there are no records or memorandums that explain the sale and, of course, there are no photographs of them being scrapped.  Note that only recently, we received information from a contributor making us aware of an advertisement for sale of locomotives by the N&A in the trade periodical, Industrial Development and Manufacturers Record (dated January 8, 1920).  It's also possible other locomotives were advertised for sale in that same periodical, so we'll keep looking for those notices too.
    c) REMAINING STEAM:  Yes, there is a remaining steam locomotive, #2 (the second #2) from the Old Dominion Soapstone Company merger/acquisition.  When this was finally sold off for the third or fourth ownership AFTER the N&A, and likely when displayed at a restaurant/motel in Marion, Virginia, the saddle tank over the boiler (used to store water) was removed.  There are no details on the tank removal (the locomotive was sold to an individual, Charles Watson, in 1962) and no photographs have been found while the engine was working on the N&A.  There is one known photo of the second #2 while working as Blue Ridge Railway #4 during the brief time that they owned and used the locomotive for track rebuilding on an upgrade project.  The next photo is of the sans tank view while displayed outside the noted restaurant/motel.  This locomotive may be currently seen (once permission is granted to visit) in Goshen, Virginia at the North Fork Lumber Company.  Call (540) 997-5602 to arrange your visit with owner, Will Harris.  If you do go, be sure to wear long sleeves and pants as the locomotive is on a track segment at the edge of the woods and slightly overgrown.
    d) MOTOR CAR (VELOCIPEDE #2):  At some point, the soapstone company looks to have acquired the Phoenix Soapstone Company and took possession of a 2nd motor car which has been noted as a 4-wheel, gas-powered model DLC, Type 6 Plymouth (from the Fate-Root-Heath Company).  It had been noted as still in the engine house at Schuyler in 1965 making it the last unit from the roster to be present on the property.  There is a photo that may show the motor car in the distance, but the photo is too grainy to tell if this is indeed the motor car or some other industrial car such as a gondola or ballast car.  So, a photo of the motor car, either while on Phoenix Soapstone or N&A property, would answer many questions.
    e) CULVER & PORT CLINTON RAILROAD:  We found good information on the life of N&A Locomotive #7 before the N&A purchased it from the Proctor Coal Company (at the Filson Historical Society in Kentucky).  However, for #11 which belonged to the Culver & Port Clinton Railroad in Ohio before arriving in Schuyler and becoming the last N&A steam locomotive to be scrapped (1954), there is next to nothing!  While public records show The Culver & Port Clinton Railroad in operation, there are no other records, documents, or photographs that show this 2-4-2 wheel arrangement engine. 
    f) CHILE EXPLORATION COMPANY:  A similar situation to the lack of information on the Culver & Port Clinton Railroad also exists regarding N&A #15 which was originally built for the Chile Exploration Company but never delivered to them.  While a builder's photograph does exist, there doesn't seem to be one while serving the soapstone works.  This locomotive was present while many photographers (including H. Reid) visited Schuyler and photographed both the mainline engines and those used in the quarries yet no photograph has been found.
    g) SCRAPPING STEAM (LATE):  With the arrival of diesels to the N&A in 1951, '52, and '53, the railroad started disposing of not only main line steam, but also quarry operations steam as well.  The soapstone company owned (and leased/rented to the N&A) locomotives #9, #10, #11 primarily used for mainline operations and making up trains at Schuyler as well as locomotives #12, #14, and #15 which handled quarry operations moving soapstone blocks from quarry to overhead crane (for transfer to the gang saws and eventually the mill).  There was never a locomotive #13 for obvious reasons.  #9 was 30 years old when the first diesel arrived and would have been scrapped first followed quickly by #10 when the 2nd diesel showed up on the property.  Once diesel #3 came to Schuyler, the need for #12, #14, and #15 would also be gone.  So by 1953, there were five locomotives to be scrapped (four of which were bought new for the soapstone company 28-30 years earlier).  The N&A kept the former Culver & Port Clinton Railroad locomotive, N&A #11, around for another year and scrapped it in 1954 according to company documents found in the University of Virginia Special Collections Archives.  But where were these locomotives scrapped?  At the time, the C&O, Seaboard Air Line, Atlantic Coast Line, and RF&P were scrapping their locomotives at Deepwater Terminal south of the city of Richmond.  It may have been that the N&A locomotives followed that same process and were scrapped there as well, leaving the N&A at Esmont/Warren for the trip to Richmond.  But there are no known photographs showing these locomotives on the scrap line and no document have been found that could confirm they were sent there for their final disposition.
4) Last years of the N&A
    a) Having tracked down what were thought to be the last known locations for the diesel roster of the N&A, a visit was made to North Augusta, South Carolina (formerly known as Hamburg, SC) to see if the 44-ton GE that served as N&A #1 (c/n 30856) was still serving TTX, the company that had purchased Hamburg Industries.  Hamburg was once the end point of what was at the time the longest railroad in the world - 136 miles long.  Former #1 had been repainted into Hamburg Industries colors/livery and this was documented via at least one photograph taken by Mac Connery of Durham, North Carolina.  TTX appeared to have sent the locomotive out as scrap (possibly to Progress Rail) when they did not select the unit for a re-engine project.  Another unit did come back from that project with c/n 39088 which would put their re-engine effort during the 1980's.  There is no clear data on the scrapping or disposition and much of this data comes from the personal recollection of TTX management on site.  They also do not recall c/n 30856 ever being repainted in TTX garb.
    b) Similar to the visit to locate N&A #1, a visit was made to Sylacauga, Alabama to look for former N&A diesel #2 (35-ton GE c/n 31768).  There are a couple of photographs of former #2 being repainted to Imerys (evidently a division of Georgia Marble/Alabama Marble) colors.  But as fate would have it, this locomotive was scrapped in in late 2009 or early 2010.  The guard on duty at the entrance provided that the locomotive had been the subject of several inquiries as to it's history, but that it had been scrapped.  No late photographs exist nor does any information on who might have performed the scrap operation.
    c) Green Bay, Wisconsin turns out to be the last location that N&A diesel #3 has served!  And it's still there, serving the Great Lakes Calcium Company's lake-side facility.  The 25-ton GE (c/n 31778) was the last of the diesels purchased for use by the N&A in January 1953 and was stored out-of-service for some time while in Nelson, Georgia.  Having originated in Erie, Pennsylvania, worked in Schuyler, Virginia, Nelson, Georgia, and Woodville, Ohio before making it's way to Green Bay, Wisconsin, it's been photographed several times at it's current assignment.  This author visited the site (with permission) and was provided an opportunity to pilot the locomotive in spotting a covered hopper and then returning to it's storage siding.  While the unit had been involved in an accident while in Ohio, it is back in working condition for daily operations.  There are currently photographs of this in Schuyler, Nelson (Georgia), and Green Bay, but none from Woodville (Ohio).

Well, there you have it.  This is another attempt to identify the missing links with the Nelson & Albemarle Railway and close the gap on the knowledge across the span of its existence for 60 years and beyond once transferred to Georgia Marble ownership.  The earliest years remain the hardest to gain traction on information so any help across any of the categories would be helpful, but the earliest ones really have my focus for this next year.


Who scrapped the locomotives in the 1950's?  Were locomotives 9, 10, 11 (known to be scrapped in 1954), 12, 14, 15 all scrapped at Deepwater Terminal in Richmond?  Do photos exist of them in the scrap line there?
7) Speaking of scrapping locomotives, we'd like to know whether Progress Rail actually scrapped diesel #1 of the N&A when TTX traded it in sometime in the late 1990's.  We'd also like to know where diesel #2 of the N&A was scrapped after it left Imerys in Sylacauga, Alabama in about 2011 for the scrap heap.  (Yes, diesel #3 is still operating in Green Bay, Wisconsin).


A late-August postscript to our July-August 2016 Article:  We also are searching for the impossible - a photo of any of the original Lynchburg trolley cars as used on the Schuyler Railway and subsequently the Nelson & Albemarle Railway.  This would be especially nice to find if the Rockfish Depot of the Southern Railway were shown in the background, but we might be asking a bit much to even find a photo from the 1903-1906 era.  We have only 2 photographs of the Rockfish, Virginia area - one, a photo of the Southern Depot from 1957 (long after the Southern Railway was no longer a terminus for the N&A) and the other, a photo of the nearby businesses from the early part of that century (but not showing how the N&A Railway track interfaced with the Southern tracks there).   Remember, to spot cars, the N&A had to 'pole' them into position.  See Archie Robertson's book, "Slow Train To Yesterday" for the prosaic description of this process.

This Month's Article:  July-August 2016
What we don't know about the N&A Railway

Whenever we write an article about the Nelson & Albemarle Railway, there has been a huge amount of research building up to actually composing the message and preparing it for publication.  We have been fortunate to travel to the University of Virginia's Special Collections Library and hold in our own hands, the documents and ledgers of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway, the Albemarle Soapstone Company and the Virginia Soapstone Company plus the unpublished manuscript of Garth Groff's entitled the same as his booklet, Soapstone Shortlines: Alberene Stone and it's Railroads.  What a wealth of knowledge is carried inside that work!  But still much remains to learn about the N&A Railway and it turns out that while we know quite a bit, we don't know everything we'd like to know.  What's missing?  The list keeps growing on us as we discover clues to several parts of the Nelson & Albemarle and soapstone operations in general.  So here is a partial list of what we don't know about or what we're looking for:

1) A page from a Fairbanks-Morse catalog of about 1903 or 1904 with the "Sheffield"-brand motor car with the model name "Maude".  We know it kept that name on the N&A as it was mentioned by the name in correspondence.  Not likely to find a photo of this, just a copy of that page would be nice to know what Maude really looked like.  We've written about this motor car before, but still have not found the catalog.
2) A copy of C. E. Fisher's roster of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway.  Charles Eben Fisher, noted for being a founder of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, prepared typewritten rosters for many railroads and included the N&A (2 pages) in his listing which can be found in the Youngstown University Library.  Unfortunately, the actual roster he prepared was not part of that collection and may be lost to the times as it is not included in the current day holdings of the R&LHS archives. 
3) What was the first #2 locomotive?  Was it a little 0-4-0T like the first #1?  Was it leased from Henry Lane, the builder of much of the N&A railway?  There's no photograph of it known to exist, but we're still looking.
4) Same goes for the first #3 locomotive!
5) Where oh where is a photo of #8 locomotive - thought to have a tender based on first hand observations and comments noted by writer, Garth Groff.  However, the only locomotive found with a tender is a graphical representation of the N&A soapstone train on the face of the N&A stock certificate.  No clear proof that the locomotive actually existed, but at least interesting as it may have been the model chosen to be displayed on the company's stock.
6) Who scrapped the locomotives in the 1950's?  Were locomotives 9, 10, 11 (known to be scrapped in 1954), 12, 14, 15 all scrapped at Deepwater Terminal in Richmond?  Do photos exist of them in the scrap line there?
7) Speaking of scrapping locomotives, we'd like to know whether Progress Rail actually scrapped diesel #1 of the N&A when TTX traded it in sometime in the late 1990's.  We'd also like to know where diesel #2 of the N&A was scrapped after it left Imerys in Sylacauga, Alabama in about 2011 for the scrap heap.  (Yes, diesel #3 is still operating in Green Bay, Wisconsin).
8) We'd like to know when and where the saddle tank from the second #2 locomotive was removed.  This is the locomotive from the Old Dominion Soapstone Company merger, which still exists in Goshen, Virginia at the North Fork Lumber Company (the little locomotive sits next to a Shay that is also owned by Will Harris).  It would be nice to see this cosmetically restored (with a replacement saddle tank) and part of a display in or near Schuyler, Virginia.
9) A diagram of the track layout at Rockfish would be very nice!  We've had a new drawing of the track layout with detail on Warren, Schuyler, Alberene, and Esmont but we don't have detail on Rockfish and it's holding up publication of the new drawing.
10) And lastly for now (before we think of more things we don't have or can't get) there is the 2nd motor car, likely acquired from merger with the Phoenix Soapstone Company which was noted as a 4-wheel, gas-powered model DLC, Type 6 Plymouth (Fate-Root-Heath Company).  It was noted in the engine house at Schuyler in 1965 making it the last unit from the roster to be present on the property.

So, there you have it - a list of what we don't know, cannot find, may not exist.  But we continue to look as the search is almost as good as the finding.


WHAT WE DON'T KNOW:
Don't know anything about the original motorcar and little about the 2nd and last motorcar.
Don't know anything about the original #3
Only suspect things about #8 (i.e.: on the stock certificate)
no photographs of early locomotives except by SI&E
No color photographs from earlier years (including steam locomotives)
We don't have a copy of Garth Groff's full manuscript (though it's in the UVA Special Collections Library)
Original trains - Schuyler Railway - with Lynchburg original traction equipment.

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



Future Article Ideas
Terrain of the N&A, Part 1 - from Warren to Alberene
Terrain of the N&A, Part 2 - from Guthrie to Schuyler
Terrain of the N&A, Part 3 - from Schuyler to Rockfish
Modeling the N&A at Schuyler
Modeling the N&A at Rockfish
Gain permission to publish excerpts from published works on the NEARHS website
  
 
Book Planning:
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.)
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.
 


WHAT WE DON'T KNOW:
Don't know anything about the original motorcar and little about the 2nd and last motorcar.
Don't know anything about the original #3
Only suspect things about #8 (i.e.: on the stock certificate)
no photographs of early locomotives except by SI&E
No color photographs from earlier years (including steam locomotives)
We don't have a copy of Garth Groff's full manuscript (though it's in the UVA Special Collections Library)
Original trains - Schuyler Railway - with Lynchburg original traction equipment.

This Month's Article: November 2016
Yes, I would Like to Lend My Photographs to be Scanned!

Part of our goals for this society has been to provide data for people researching the Nelson & Albemarle Railway (other than ourselves).  But we always miss opportunities to capture photographs and other related memorabilia offered either on  eBay or other auction sites.  Auctions are just that and while the society is non-profit the pockets that do support our operations are not deep.  So we lose auctions and those photographs that would otherwise grace our articles and be available for download from this site (see Sidebar item - Image Repository). 
As we come closer to year end, it has become evident that we've discovered and have made available many photographs and much memorabilia which has been shared either in one of these "This Month's Articles" or in one of the multiple data sets provided in other sidebar items show to the left of this column.  We have been fortunate to have new sources this year such as William "Bill" Gordon's great photographs from the late 1950's/early 1960's of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway operations with N&A diesel #1 (GE #30856).  This revelation provided the society with access to never before seen or published photographs from the era just prior to the shutdown of the line.  At the other end of the spectrum the only photographs of the early Nelson & Albemarle Railway locomotives (1903 to about 1920) are from builder's photographs or photographs from Southern Iron & Equipment (used in promoting resale of used/refurbished locomotives).  We've mentioned in this series of articles how photography was a profession and hobbyist were few and far between in photography of railroads in those early years of the N&A).  The feature film, "Virginia", released in 1941, provided significant exposure for the N&A (for about 3 minutes of the film) where Fred MacMurray and his film daughter conversed with the engineer for a scene where the N&A Railway name printed on the side of the small tank engine's flank could be seen.  The next exposure from Archie Robertson's "Slow Train to Yesterday: A Last Glance at the Local" and Lucius Beebe's "Mixed Train Daily" (with photography by Charles Clegg, Jr.) provided impetus for railroad hobbyist photographers to visit and start photographing from about 1948 onward.  It is those photographs taken either in the late 1940's or before (especially prior to 1920) that are missing from the society's holdings.  We have some personal photographs with family shown with locomotives and this may be the photograph you have in your scrapbook that would provide the detail missing from the N&A's history as we present it.  There are no photographs of early locomotives #2 or #3.  Also, none anywhere (found as of yet) on N&A #8.  But also, the only photograph of #5 is from the Manhattan Railway (their 2nd #60) showing the locomotive at a station (from the Collection of New York Transit Museum Archives).  No photograph of #6 (also from the Manhattan Railway) was ever located.  Later, in 1928, Virginia Alberene acquired a used locomotive originally slated for the Chile Exploration Railway (#15) of which only a builder's photo exists (that we are aware of).  So, we now reach out to you, our readers, for the opportunity to support the society and share (for scanning) your photographs of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway (or predecessors or subsequent owners).  Whenever you share memorabilia or photographs we are asking for permission to share a photograph with the proper credit (such as: From the Collection of New York Transit Museum Archives - Do not Copy without Permission).  We've asked for your help before, but now we are working to fill in gaps in the visual history of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway during the upcoming months to provide the most accurate data we can to our members and researchers.  Please contact us at the following email address if you can help in this area:  nelsonalbemarle@comcast.net





"Fairville" and the movie "Virginia" -
The Nelson & Albemarle / C&O Connection
 
Recently, I was reading a new book acquisition, "Appalachian Conquest: C&O, N&W, Virginian, and Clinchfield Cross the Mountains" (ISBN-13 978-1883089795) relased by TLC Publishing in conjunction with the C&O Historical Society in 2002 that held an interesting storyline on the Nelson & Albemarle and the fabled use of the Esmont depot for a set of scenes in the movie, "Virginia" (1941).  As luck would have it, the fictional town of "Fairville" was recreated elsewhere - evidently with much dismay according to reports on the reactions of local people in Esmont noted in various books.  However, it is part of my own family history that the movie crew ended up in Howardsville and that my Grandmother & Grandfather (on my Father's side) were both extras that appeared on the station platform behind Fred MacMurray (holding his movie-daughter, Carolyn Lee in his arms) in scenes that included the arrival of the Nelson & Albemarle train on the C&O James River Line at the Howardsville depot.  (My other Grandfather, my Mother's father, was Section Gang Foreman for the C&O in Howardsville, and while not where the camera was ever trained on him, he was likely present in his official capacity).  Now, the Howardsville depot wasn't really gussied up for the occaision, but it did have a new, albeit temporary name, "Fairville" and I've included a photo in the Image Repository by that name that shows some of the movie crew out in front of the station.  I've got little comment on the actual movie itself, except that it bore some resemblance to another movie of that period.  "Viriginia" has it's best moments (in my opinion) not only when my Grandparents are on camera, but also when the Nelson & Albemarle train comes into view and I hear that whistle blowing.  This movie is somewhat available (in a less-than-good-quality copy on DVD) from http://classicreels.com/product_info.php?roducts_id=46 for $10 + shipping.  It's listed in Black & White now, but there were older copies in color on DVD, so if you want a color copy, look for it on iOffer or eBay.  It's also available (in Color) from http://www.ashfaultsclassicmovies.com/virginia41.html for $14.99 plus $5.00 media mail shipping.  There was much talk about the filming in the 1963 publication of Steam Locomotive & Railroad Tradition (May issue, #13-14) when H. Reid mentioned it in his feature article, "An Upcountry Romance: A reminiscence of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway".  Evidently, this was considered an affront to the good people of not only Esmont and many citizens of the area, but also the Nelson & Albemarle crew that ended up being replaced with C&O counterparts.  It seems in any publication commenting on the movie filming, there is a lot of speculation over the locomotive and cars used to serve this unique opportunity.    So, I took my first color copy of the film and spent some time breaking down the original movie and lighting so that I could lighten the background and hopefully get a clear picture of the engine and coach arriving at the station.  Now, I've recently stated that engine 11 (a 2-4-2T) had lettering that matched that seen in the movie as shown in some photographs.  But, after spending a lot of time with the movie, it is obvious that the locomotive that arrived was #9 and by using stop action on the movie, I was able to tell this when the scene turned to a conversation with the engineer just after arrival.  The lettering for Nelson & Albemarle Railway is nice and bright on both the engine and the boxcar behind it.  The number 9 on the cab side underneath the window is faded and also matches the font/style used by the builder (as seen in the builder's photograph used in this site's logo).  So, #9 - the 2-6-2T primary engine of the era, was used for this starring move role.  I also saw where Eugene Huddleston, author of the Appalachian Conquest, believed that a "doodlebug" might have been used as a replacement for the combine.  That's really hard to tell in the movie scenes as these copies are quite dark.  I've asked my video editor brother to break down the scenes for me with his AVID production-editing equipment, so we will know the answer soon.  What I can tell is that mail bags were thrown off the train by a baggage door (either a combine or doodlebug would have that) and that the arrival of Miss Dunterry was off the rear steps which could be either the combine or the doodlebug and no one could really tell the difference in the manner in which this was portrayed and used in the filming.  Guess I'll have to wait for my brother's efforts to show more detail and possibly which car was used in this scene.  But with a little luck from my new fine-detail monitor, I've been able to notice one thing that didn't stand out before.  And it related to my preparations for the October 2009 Article as I reviewed photographs from the California State Railroad Museum.  It turns out the arrangement of wall, baggage door, wall, windows and stove pipe stack align to the photos taken by Charles Clegg in January 1946 - 5 & 1/2 years later of the combine used in day-to-day service.  So it appears that this may be the same combine used with a boxcar that had a wider opening and no door (2x4's appear to be the only blocking to keep a large boxed-soapstone piece from shifting out of the car).  Engine # 9 was the primary locomotive for the N&A in 1940's Nelson & Albemarle counties and having it taken up with a day of filming must have put a crimp in the normal operations that most trains adhere to on a very accurate schedule.      I frequently enjoy these types of mysteries as they require some investigation and discussion among friends and fellow fans of the N&A.  It appears that the normal train of the day was used for filming with no substitutions!   It's also been 70 years since this scene was shot and while there likely are still certain families upset at the change of venue, it's only lucky that we have a slice of life to savor in the beginning 3 and 1/2 minutes of the film showing Howardsville as it was in 1940 near the Nelson & Albemarle county line.


This Month's Article:  2016 series
The N&A's Motorcars

In the early days of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway, there was a need for transportation that allowed executives and their family to get from the company house in Esmont to Schuyler, but more importantly, from Schuyler to the connection at Rockfish where passenger trains came direct from Washington, D.C. and direct connections to the Northeast and Midwest where much of the soapstone business was derived.  When not in use this mode of transportation was available for other company officials and crews when needed such as bridge or track inspection.  In 1888 Fairbanks, Morse Company added Sheffield Velocipedes to their catalog and became the 'general sales agency' for the Sheffield line.  In 1896 when Sheffield introduced a gasoline-powered motorcar, the Sheffield works in Three Rivers Michigan was the premier location for development and assembly of quality modes of transportation on rails for section gang foreman, crew, and even some single-truck trolley cars. The gasoline-powered motorcar could attain speeds up to 25 mph.  By 1918, the Sheffield Company would be entirely merged into F-M and disappear as the innovative manufacturer of velocipedes that had started a new mode of traversing rails.

This Month's Article: 2016 series
Found!  Locomotives #3 and #8

It's been 7 years since we started chronicling the Nelson & Albemarle Railway and the locomotives that plied those spindly rails through two counties.  We reported on detail found on locomotives previously on the Manhattan Railway and those from Ohio and one originally planned to ship to Chile!  But the elusive ones were #3 and #8 where little if any information was documented or found in numerous archival letters and reports stored at the Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia.  In the early 1920's it was fortunate that 4 men led by Charles E. Fisher formed the Railway & Locomotive History Society.  As part of that endeavor, Charles Eben Fisher started publishing (and selling) rosters of various rail lines and his 30 page list of rosters (held in the archives at Youngstown State University library) includes a notation for the Nelson & Albemarle Railway (2 pages). While the library at Youngstown State University does not have the actual rosters, the R&LHS does have them in their archives held in Florida.  I recently requested the Virginia State and Industrial shortline section (paying for the entire set of pages as a member) and found #3 and #8 listed.  However, it wasn't really #3 and #8 at all.


This Month's Article:  May-June 2016
Cabooses of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway
Early in the life of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway, the purchasing agent recognized great deals in buying much equipment for the line as good-used or pre-owned from other railways or railway supply dealers.  This was especially true of non-revenue equipment used to transport stone from quarry to the gang saws or providing the last car on trains bound for Rockfish or Esmont from Schuyler.  While there are no photographs of the earliest non-revenue equipment, the numbering scheme used on the Nelson & Albemarle Railways first two cabooses is easy to follow. While locomotives (either Steam or Diesel) started with number 1 and went up to number 15 (steam), the first cabooses on the N&A were numbered 101 and 102. 
No records of the purchase of these cabooses has been found as of yet, leaving speculation as to when they were bought and also if they were bought together.  Caboose 101 doesn't appear in any photograph or reference found either.  Caboose 102 is a different story however.  For the longest time, the only photograph of caboose 102 was a black & white postcard print stamped with William S. Young, 23 Parker Avenue, Cranford, N. J. on the back along with a handwritten pencil notation:  Nelson & Albemarle 102, Esmont, Va., 7-23-54.  It took the color photographs of William "Bill" Gordon to recognize that it was blue in color.  That blue color was never painted over and there was reference to the purchase of this as a former-Richmond, Fredericksburg, & Potomac caboose making the blue understandable as the RF&P's color scheme for cabooses rather than the more traditional colors.  This caboose had arch-bar trucks which were removed from authorization to use on main-line railroads and thus outlived it's usefulness.  The N&A would replace the caboose with another good-used one.  This one was a necessity as passenger service ended on the N&A in 1951. 
This bright red caboose had a door on one side only (as the N&A was a point-to-point railway by that time serving only Schuyler to Esmont and then over C&O tracks to Warren) to provide some general freight service but also limited passenger use.  Warren Calloway provided a black & white photograph of the business side of the caboose (with open door) on page 45 of Garth Groff's booklet, Soapstone Shortlines: Alberene Stone and It's Railways.  But it took the surfacing of Bill Gordon's great color photographs from 1959-1960 to see that bright red paint on the caboose with yellow accents.  The simple lettering, N&A, were all that identified the ownership of this caboose.  Tracking down the history of this caboose has also been near impossible as there have been no documents found that show it's purchase or any reference to it whatsoever.  Bill Griffin compiled an RF&P Caboose Roster for the RF&P Railroad Historical Society that can be found at http://www.RF&P.org which may explain how the N&A acquired another used caboose originally part of the RF&P fleet.  In reviewing the roster, the following disposal notes may reflect how the N&A acquired the last caboose secondhand:

Number Built Disposed Comment Info From: Bill Griffin
809 1917 1950 Sold to Iron & Steel Products 1950
811 1904 1937 Sold to Railway Associates 1937
814-2 1917 1950 Sold to Railway Associates 1950
816 1917 1950 Sold to Iron & Steel Products 1950
826 1904 1936 Sold to J. E. Skelton Company, 1936
836 1904 1937 Sold to Railway Accessories, 1937
839 1904 1938 Sold to Appalac, 1938 (Appalachian?)
843 1904 1937 Sold to Railway Accessories, 1937
845 1904 1950 Sold to Iron & Steel Products 1950
Unfortunately, there are no records for any of these companies that can be easily located and even if available, may not include the detail necessary to understand which original caboose was purchased and when.  One place were there were lots of references to non-revenue equipment was in Annual Reports or other documents filed with governmental agencies. 
However, none of those documents provided detail other than an accounting of having a number of non-revenue equipment of which cabooses were one type. 

Some Notes:
Quarry opens in 1884 along Beaver Dam Creek in Johnson's Mill Gap renamed to Alberene in the late-1880's.
Branch factories were set up in New York, Boston, and Chicago were stone was shipped rough to the factory and there carved by immigrant artisans.(from Soapstone Shortlines).
Alberene Railroad Company was incorporated on December 20, 1895.  Henry Lane was contracted to build the line.
july 13, 1897 the C&O leased the Alberene Railroad which began operations as their branch on April 14, 1898.  
The C&O ran one pair of mixed trains daily on the branch as numbers 57 & 58 originating from either Gordonsville or Richmond as local frieght servicing industries along the line including this branch.
On Februay 15, 1902, The C&O purchased the Alberene Railroad line. 

Guthrie Hall is a historic mansion located near Esmont, Albemarle County, Virginia. It was built in 1901, and is a 2 1/2-story, seven bay, concrete structure faced in quartz in the Colonial Revival style. It is topped by a standing-seam sheet metal hipped roof with a copper wash pierced by shed-roofed dormers. The front facade features a two-story Doric order portico with three dormers that open onto the portico roof.[3]  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 05-12-2013. 
  3. ^ Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission Staff (March 1981). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Guthrie Hall".  and Accompanying photo
A sales brochure of ca. 1905 praised the house for its "full concrete structure, quartz granite-covered walls; massive hewn oak beam ceil-ings; guest rooms; a l l - t i l e d bath rooms; mahogany-finished office, with large built-in combination safe; railroad station; water system; electric light-steam heating plant; b i l l i a r d room; bowling alley; manager's house; stable-garage . . . ' 1 2 Hopkins sold Guthrie Hall i n 1906 and s e t t l e d i n Loudoun County, where he continued his i n t e r e s t i n restoring houses. The e s t a t e passed through a succession of owners, none keeping the place for more than a few years. In 1939 the property was acquired by a Danish nobleman, Baron John von Liedersdorf,who gained a reputation in the county as an adventure-some art dealer. The present owner, Maryann Jessup MacCon~chie, purchased Guthrie Hall with her l a t e husband, P h i l l i p Jessup, i n 1968. IA. Lee Knowles Agency, "Guthrie Hall, " (Real Estate Pamphlet, Staunton, Va., ca. 1905) .
 <<<Virginia Soapstone Company incorporated on October 19, 1893. Operations at Schuyler - used teams of horses/wagons to transport soapstone and products to Rockfish station on Southern Railway.  Products were crated at a warehouse at Rockfish!  Note: this belongs before the incorporation of the Alberene Railroad>>>  Railway constructed during 1899 and 1900 so that by August 29, 1900 it was reported complete except for trestle work at Schuyler.  Three obsolete Lewis & Fowler single truck, open platform trolley cars were purchased from the Lynchburg Street Railway.  When built in 1891 (opening year of the trolley in Lynchburg), they rode on Eickemeyer trucks with jack shafts and side rods. On arrival in Schuyler, they were on Maguire #20 trucks and had Westinghouse motors.  One car was completely stripped of seats for use as a locomotive.  The other two had only some seats removed and carried both freight & passengers.  The line also owned three non-powered freight cars (no details).  From Soapstone Shortlines"
 
C&O Railway:  Locomotives used on branch in early days.  Track through C&O Historical Society - and brother, Gary.
Schuyler Railway:  Former Lynchburg Traction & Light single-truck cars (see graphic) originally purchased when the company was Lynchburg Railway & Electric Company incorporated in 1891 and these were of the first cars purchased.
 
  
Consideration for the ARTICLE Schedule for the future 

Month:  In Search of Steam with locomotives 1st #2, 2nd #2, 1st #3, & #4 and the merger with Old Dominion Soapstone Company.  Reminder that we've already discussed the 1st #1 (Richmond Railway) as well as the existence of the 2nd #2 (in Goshen, VA) and discussed the diesels (#1 - 44-ton; #2 - 35-ton; #3 - 25-ton; and will mention them again in a future article covering their current or final dispositions).   .  to clarify: engines 2 of steam (there were 2 of them); as well as engine 3 and what was the primary engine between Schuyler and Warren, #4.  (Remember, at the time that #7 was the primary engine to Rockfish from Schuyler, #8 was the Alberene mill engine and #4 was the main line engine).
   

UPDATE:  February 2012 Article - Just as quickly as we complete an article, more detail flows across my desk about the topic.  In this case, there is some indication of the 1st #2 being the original #1 locomotive of Old Dominion Soapstone, an 0-4-0T Vulcan built in June 1905 (builders #675) - widely suspected of  being the 2nd #1 of the N&A (possible); What is known is that the 2nd #2 was Old Dominion Soapstone #2, an 0-4-0T Vulcan built in 1909 (builders #1436) and still in existence as the last remaining steam locomotive from the N&A. The only way to sort this out will be to examine the corporate record and determine when Old Dominion Soapstone became part of the Alberene empire and how those two engines from Damon, Virginia might have been used in the greater Nelson & Albemarle Railway.  More to follow as the details continue to flow in....   A copy of the SI&E photograph of the #675 locomotive (as SI&E #1600) is available from the C&O Historical Society (COHS.org) as COHS 28055 as shown on the transfer table at SI&E.

Tentative Planning:  Vulcan Locomotives

Builders #
#675  June 1905 for Old Dominion #1 (later the 1st #2 of N&A) 7x12  0-4-0T  24" Drivers
#1381 1909 for Culver & Port Clinton Ry. (later #11 of N&A)  14x22  2-4-2T  40" Drivers
#1436 1909 for Old Dominion #2 (later the 2nd #2 of N&A)  11x16  0-4-0T  30" Drivers
#2590  January 1917 for Rhodes Construction (later #15 of N&A)  12x16  0-4-0T  33" Drivers
#3045  April 1920 for N&A as #9  17x24  2-6-2T  46" Drivers
#3278  December 1922 for N&A as #10 15x24  2-6-2T  42" Drivers
#3426  February 1924 for N&A as #12  12x18  0-4-0T  33" Drivers
#3507  February 1925 for N&A as #14  12x18  0-4-0T  33" Drivers

New York Transit Museum

2 Broadway, 20th Fl, Office B20.30

New York, NY 10004

646-252-2446


Maps

posted Mar 20, 2009, 12:59 PM by Rob Peters
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
Topographic Maps USGS:  Covesville and Lovingston Quadrangles
Aerial Photographs from 1937

Notes for Myself (reference for others)

posted Mar 10, 2009, 4:40 PM by Rob Peters   [ updated Apr 7, 2009, 4:16 PM ]
PHOTOGRAPHERS:  Information on August A. Thieme
 
Evidently, August Thieme's day job is/was as a qualified expert in inorganic and analytical chemistry.  (see page 3) at Froehling & Robertson in Richmond, Virginia.  Froehling & Robertson is an engineering/construction company with headquarters at 3015 Dumbarton Road 23228, phone 804-264-2701
 
His address is:  580 Ville Ponteaux Lane, Richmond, VA 23238-6429, phone number 804-784-5867 age 65+ (actually 82), wife Margaret M. Thieme. 

  
 
Month:  Photographer Series 1: Charles Clegg, Jr. and the California State Railroad Museum Collection
Month:  In Search of Locomotives will continue during 2016 with the middle roster, engines 7 & 8 - in research stage
7 2-4-2T, 8x12, Baldwin, 1887  C/N 8874, Ex-Proctor Coal; to SI&E, 1920; to A. F. Langford Lumber Company. 
8 Unknown; said to have a tender; bought used about 1905.  This detail from Soapstone Shortlines roster. There is a photo of this engine in the Soapstone Shortlines book from when new to Proctor Coal as Hutchcraft (sp).  No photo or knowledge of the #8 engine except likely bought used with a tender and maybe the only non-tank engine used on the line.  Probably brought in about 1905/06.  #7, Hutchcraft, was built by Baldwin in November 1887 and named for the General Manager of the mines of the Proctor Coal Company, Brent R. Hutchcraft who had developed the Jellico mine fields in Kentucky and as a representative of the company was well respected by all.
#8 noted as off the property by 1927 in NHRS bulletin as referenced by Mark Chase in email.
 
Month:  Officials through the years on the N&A  Contact detail:
To subscribe, contact Tre Sanders at 609-759-4705 or tsanders@ubmglobaltrade.com.
to determine if there are copies from 1903-1963 in an archive for the Pocket List of Railroad Officials. 
 
Month:  C&O combines - under investigation - C&O 254 and 409, there were others, coaches, etc. that are shown in photographs.
Future:  In Search of Locomotives: Part 4 (if you include our other roster articles) - Engines 9, 10
Future:  In Search of Locomotives: Part 5 - Engine 11
Future:  In Search of Locomotives: Part 6 - Engines 12, 14, 15 - find another photograph of #15 while on property - original builder's photo in Library of Congress
Future:  Photographers: Series 2, Series 3, Series 4 (the lesser known shutterbugs); photographers such as Charles Clegg, Jr.; H. Reid, August Thieme; Earl Lipscomb, Frank Mayo, New Alberene Stone Corporation, Schuyler Centennial Committee Collection, Charles Arnold, Thomas Lawson, Jim Shaw, Warren Calloway, Richard E. Prince, Ted Gay, D. W. Johnson, Irene Leak Newcomb, Holsinger Collection (UVA), Virginia Department of Mines and Mineral Resources, Broadbelt Collection (Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania), C&O Historical Society, Garth Groff.
 
Future:  Travelling along the right-of-way: tripping through Albemarle and Nelson and what it feels like to be back in time.
 
Future (May 2010):  In Search of Diesels (and Motorcar!) Update - Contact at National Lime & Stone in Carey, Ohio - Ryan Phillips @419-396-7671 re: 25-ton purchased when NL&S bought Great Lakes Calcium in Woodville, OH in 2004 and shut down the site.  Looking to have answer on scrapped (if so, where) or if still operating and if in Carey (or other NL&S site).  First phone call back from Ryan found that he was not in charge of the operation that acquired GLC, and he didn't think that a locomotive was part of the deal (which could mean that the 25-ton GE unit was already scrapped or sold by GLC before then) however he is going to check with someone who was actively involved in the acquisition on Monday 26 April 2010 and call me either way - with or without any further detail.....  Thanks Ryan, it's appreciated.!!!!
 
Future:  Businesses along the Right-of-Way on the N&A Ry.  (see notes below).
Future:  How to set up this site for any railway or capturing information on your favorite shortline where no one really has a lot of detail (the also ran syndrome).
 
  
ARCHIVE: Future Articles for 2014 or 2015
As the Nelson & Albemarle Railway became more and more active during 1905 with mulitple daily trains, the need arose for a substantive locomotive to handle both freight and passenger traffic.  Enter N&A #7, built by Baldwin in 1887 as construction number 8874, this locomotive was built as "Hutchcraft" in honor of B. R. Hutchcraft, xxxxxx, for the Proctor Coal company from the Jellico mining area of Kentucky/Tennessee.  The 2-4-2T locomotive with 8x12 cylinders continued the purchasing policy of good quality used engines that could continue their life on a relatively easy basis on the shortline railway. 
7 2-4-2T, 8x12, Baldwin, 1887  C/N 8874, Ex-Proctor Coal; to SI&E, 1920; to A. F. Langford Lumber Company. 
8 Unknown; said to have a tender; bought used about 1905.  This detail from Soapstone Shortlines roster. There is a photo of this engine in the Soapstone Shortlines book from when new to Proctor Coal as Hutchcraft (sp).  No photo or knowledge of the #8 engine except likely bought used with a tender and maybe the only non-tank engine used on the line.  Probably brought in about 1905/06.  #7, Hutchcraft, was built by Baldwin in November 1887 and named for the General Manager of the mines of the Proctor Coal Company, Brent R. Hutchcraft who had developed the Jellico mine fields in Kentucky and as a representative of the company was well respected by all.
#8 noted as off the property by 1927 in NHRS bulletin as referenced by Mark Chase in email.
   
Contact Information
Will Harris, President
North Fork Lumber
250 N. Fork Lane
Goshen, Virginia 24439
Phone 540-997-5602
  
 REFERENCE MATERIAL FOR ROSTER ARTICLES:
Predecessor companies:  C&O leased line just after built between Warren and Alberene. 
Schuyler Railway - Lynchburg trolley cars bought to furnish line.  Note:  these were the first powered cars bought for Lynchburg, so there should be photographs of them somewhere even if not one from where modified for use by the Schuyler Railway.
Then Virginia Alberene built to Guthrie and line to Esmont (and Alberene) leased from C&O.  C&O maintained line between Warren and Esmont where they had a small yard and 56' turntable due to other shippers on this line (Esmont Slate Company).
 
# 4 is mentioned, however there is no mention of #3 (as this locomotive was a mystery to all of the roster-compilers). 
 
 
There were 3 # 1's, 3 # 2's, and 2 #3's!  Nice of the N&A to fill in the numbers as they merged with other companies or replaced the stable with diesels, but it has confused the historian trying to ascertain the purchase or disposition of a locomotive in the early 1900's.
 
It is really difficult to find a lot of details because after each locomotive left the property, the company really didn't care what final disposition was awarded these engines.  So while we may know the action taken to have certain engines disposed, any further detail awaits research much like what these three authors did to create their published works. 
The earliest understanding of the Nelson & Albemarle being formed takes into account the story of the Alberene branch being built and the C&O Railway immediately leasing the line and the subsequent forming of the Virginia Soapstone Company (and Railway which became the Schuyler Railway).  It's best to start here as the story gets quite interesting.
 
Albemarle Soap Stone Company (1883) - product: Alberene Stone
Quarry opens in 1884 along Beaver Dam Creek in Johnson's Mill Gap renamed to Alberene in the late-1880's.
Branch factories were set up in New York, Boston, and Chicago were stone was shipped rough to the factory and there carved by immigrant artisans.(from Soapstone Shortlines).
Alberene Railroad Company was incorporated on December 20, 1895.  Henry Lane was contracted to build the line.
july 13, 1897 the C&O leased the Alberene Railroad which began operations as their branch on April 14, 1898.  
The C&O ran one pair of mixed trains daily on the branch as numbers 57 & 58 originating from either Gordonsville or Richmond as local frieght servicing industries along the line including this branch.
On Februay 15, 1902, The C&O purchased the Alberene Railroad line. 
 <<<Virginia Soapstone Company incorporated on October 19, 1893. Operations at Schuyler - used teams of horses/wagons to transport soapstone and products to Rockfish station on Southern Railway.  Products were crated at a warehouse at Rockfish!  Note: this belongs before the incorporation of the Alberene Railroad>>>  Railway constructed during 1899 and 1900 so that by August 29, 1900 it was reported complete except for trestle work at Schuyler.  NOTE:  Note listed in the September Article: On arrival in Schuyler, they were on Maguire #20 trucks and had Westinghouse motors.  One car was completely stripped of seats for use as a locomotive.  The other two had only some seats removed and carried both freight & passengers.  The line also owned three non-powered freight cars (no details).  From Soapstone Shortlines" see page 15.
 
C&O Railway:  Locomotives used on branch in early days.  Track through C&O Historical Society - and brother, Gary.
Schuyler Railway:  Former Lynchburg Traction & Light single-truck cars (see graphic) originally purchased when the company was Lynchbrug Railway & Electric Company incorporated in 1891 and these were of the first cars purchased.  (Probably looked like horse car from photo attached below - single truck)....
 
Notable to this research would be to know where engines #9 and #10 were scrapped...   IN SEARCH OF STEAM, led me to a single photo of what is credibly the last remaining steam engine that ran on Nelson & Albemarle rails.  The second #2, an 0-4-0-T survived to stand forlorn in front of the Virginia Manor House in Marion, Virginia for several years.  The current disposition of second #2 is that it resides near Shay 949 in Goshen, Virginia as part of the Will Harris collection (North Fork Lumber).  Yes, you can visit the Shay on appointment which I hope means you can visit ol' second #2 also.
 
Rosters were published in 1963 in Steam Locomotive & Railroad Tradition (Number 13-14) authored by H. Reid, in 1973 in The Richmond-Washington Line & Related Railroads authored by Richard E. Prince, and in 1991 in Soapstone Shortlines: Alberene Stone and its Railroads by Garth Groff.
 
There are only three publications about the Nelson & Albemarle Railway that provided a roster listing and detail on the Nelson & Albemarle engines.  It becomes difficult to find details anyway as until the diesel era, they weren't owned by the railway, but by it's parent company(ies).  And while each of the rosters (done in 1963, 1973, and 1991) provides some mention of disposition, none of them goes into final disposition (i.e.: scrap vendor) in enough detail to know where any specific locomotive was cut up or where the diesel (or single gas-powered) units ended their lives or if they are still in existence.   Part of this is because the last roster was done in 1991.  Part of it is because records weren't kept very well.
 
So this month, I'm doing a comparison of the roster lists compiled by those writers who have chronicled the comings and goings of these small engines both steam and diesel with the hopes of identifying who ended up with what engines and the final disposition or continued existence if known.  First, IN SEARCH OF STEAM, has led me to the only photo of a still intact steam engine now in private storage in Goshen, Virginia which for many years was spotted outside of the Virginia Manor House hotel in Marion, Virginia.  Finding this was a bonus as an engine still in existence (albeit not under steam) is amazing. 
 
The first listing of locomotives that I found published was the collected information compiled by H. Reid and appearing in the May 1963 issue of Steam Locomotive & Railroad Tradition (Number 13-14).  <<<See attachment for comparison spreadsheet>>>>>'
 
Next up was the listing provided in the Richard E. Prince book, The Richmond-Washington Line & Related Railroads (though not sure how the N&A was ever related to the RF&P) which again has a nice list but it differs from other rosters found. 
 
The Garth Groff article in the March/April issue of Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette magazine provides unique insight into locomotives.  I know that final dispositions are hard to track especially when resold to a reseller who may not have kept such great records or even saved records at all.  But what of the late-era diesels?  Are they still in existence?  Garth noted items that went to Georgia Marble (GE units specifically) but once there, where they end up (as in a subsidiary company) is anyone's guess.  It might just be nice to know who scrapped #9 and #10 2-6-2T's and where those engines were cut up in 1952 (or at least #9 was, it may have been later for #10, but not too long).  So the only remaining engine is ol' #2, and 2nd #2 at that....
 
 <<<detail info listed here for roster extracted from article>>>.  Information on 2 engines from the Manhattan Railway and their next stop on their journey is found in The Railway & Locomotive Historical Society bulletin, "Railroad History 162" published in Spring of 1990 and while only for 2 locomotives, it shows the acquisition of the engines and their sale.  Garth Groff's publication, "Soapstone Shortlines: Alberene Stone and its Railroads" includes a roster on the back inside cover.  This Drop Leaf Press published booklet is now out-of-print and seems to be much sought after for its historical tale of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway.  One engine was clearly sent to a dealer (Southern Iron & Equipment - SI&E) as noted by a photo with caption in the August 1993 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman and sold to Pierce-Williams Company around the time of it's rebuild in 1920 (date of the photo).  So technically, there were only 3 'full' rosters prepared and detail from another 3 sources that provide enough information to be dangerous in guessing the final outcome of these locomotives. 
 
 
 
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