July 2015 Article

This Month's Article: July 2015
Writing about the Nelson & Albemarle Railway
For the past two years I've been contemplating putting down on paper, the story of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway.  Not that this would actually be on paper and published as a normal book would be.  It's more likely that to gain the media needed to present the story, an ebook is more appropriate.  Why an ebook?  There are two film clips that if allowed to use, could only be shared via an ebook format.  So in March work began to outline how the book would be formatted.

How long will it take to complete the actual writing and formatting into the correct layout?  I'm expecting the next two years will be consumed with preparation and the planning for the various areas shown in the "Book Planning" segment below.  Each month I will also make sure that an update on the book progress is included in this space.

Much of what needs to be included has already been published online in the monthly articles but there are new and as yet unreviewed documents at the University of Virginia that were recently donated at our recommendation.  The Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library is a unique and valued space to store historical information and already houses much of the data used by Garth Groff to prepare his unpublished manuscript on Alberene Stone and it's railroads as well as his self-published booklet of the same name.

I am looking forward to your comments and suggestions on our planning for this large endeavor.  Please forward comments to me at nelsonalbemarle@comcast.net

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.)  Note:  This map has been created, but there is a notable gap in the track diagram for the Rockfish, Virginia area which has kept this map from being completed.  We continue to look for that detail as we move forward to publish this book.
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1 - Origin of the N&A; predecessors Schuyler Railway, Alberene Railroad, Lease of the C&O Alberene Subdivision
Chapter 2 - Soapstone Company histories; (Albemarle, Virginia, Alberene + others such as Old Dominion that merged)
Chapter 3 - Nelson & Albemarle Railway - how it began, leases, where it ran, topical discussions on why and where
Chapter 4 - Depots, Yard(s), Sidings, Interchanges, Timetables
Chapter 5 - Steam Locomotives (1, 2; Old Dominion 1, 2; the mystery of 3; 4; 5 & 6; 7; the mystery of 8 and how it got on the N&A Stock Certificate; 9 & 10; 11; 12, 14, 15.)
Chapter 6 - Diesel Locomotives (1, 2, 3 and their subsequent histories)
Chapter 7 - Misc. Powered Equipment (4-wheel Sheffield Velocipede bought from Fairbanks-Morse Company model="Maude" which name it kept)
Chapter 8 - Mixed Train Service (great chapter for photographs, but also to showcase the requirement of mixed trains to serve needs)
Chapter 8A - Passenger Service, Equipment, + Caboose(s) including 1 former RF&P (passenger only trains, equipment 'borrowed' from the C&O, end of passenger service, caboose as passenger service)
Chapter 8B - Freight Service, Equipment + off line equipment such as freight dollys, soapstone dollys for gang saws, etc.; (boxcars from NYC, etc.; hoppers, ballast car, flat cars to service quarries and gang saws;
Chapter 9 - Photographers (Charles Clegg, August Thieme, H. Reid, etc.), Motion Picture Photographer (only 1 known - August Thieme), and Authors (Archie Robertson, Lucius Beebe, Richard Prince, Garth Groff, Mallory Hope Ferrell)
Chapter 10 - Publications, etc. on N&A (the web site detail here)
Chapter 11 - The N&A what if and what is (what if the N&A had continued to exist; what is left of the N&A today and how Soapstone is again in a revival period)
Inside back - Fanciful map of the sightseeing along the route, plus the industries other than soapstone served by the line including school 'bus' service.
Send email to NelsonAlbemarle@comcast.net if you have any comments or questions or wish to contribute to future articles. Copyright 2015 - Nelson & Albemarle Railway Historical Society.