July 2018 Article

This Month's Article - July 2018
Tracing Nelson & Albemarle Railway Vulcan Locomotives

The Nelson & Albemarle Railway was a subsidiary of the Soapstone company that provided most locomotives either directly or by lease for their use.  The Soapstone business was either feast or famine when it came to supporting their railroad.  Sales could be hot and heavy with money flowing well, allowing the purchase of new locomotives.  Or times could be tough, barely permitting any locomotive purchase and even then, only if used or discounted in price.  Reselling locomotives that were no longer needed also provided some limited income during financial struggles.  Along the timeline of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway there came a year when mechanical needs for keeping locomotives operating caused them to seek out a master mechanic to care for their locomotives.  By hiring that mechanic away from a locomotive manufacturer, a particular discipline was instilled in the railway.  A significant part of that discipline was selecting Vulcan Locomotive Works products from the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania manufacturer as the locomotive of choice.  Costs were also reduced by limiting the spare parts needing to be maintained.  While there were many locomotive manufacturers in the United States during the early part of that century, Vulcan was well known for it's small, but reliable line of locomotives that could be tailored for specific use.  Vulcan locomotives arriving on the Soapstone company property included two purchased new for the Old Dominion Soapstone Corporation and four purchased new for the N&A (#9, #10, #12, and #14).  A secondhand locomotive arrived from previous owner Culver & Port Clinton Railroad that had supported Gypsum mining in Ohio by Lake Erie becoming N&A #11.  And in a strange purchase, a locomotive built for the Chile Exploration Company of Chile ended up not being taken and was resold to the Alberoyd Company of Esmont, Virginia as their #1 locomotive.  This part of company history is interesting in itself, but the end result was the absorbing of that endeavor into the Soapstone company's larger enterprise and the locomotive came to the Virginia Alberene in March of 1928 becoming N&A #15.  Trying to find information on these N&A locomotives led to a prepared list of all Vulcan locomotives produced but one that was static and not searchable.  Four months were spent preparing a new searchable spreadsheet format for the data and a sample of some of the items found is shown here.  Being able to search is a distinct advantage for research into any of the railroads purchasing from Vulcan Locomotive Works.

C/N Date Dlvrd Type Gauge Cylinders Drivers Weight Description - Original Owner Subsequent Owners
138 Jun 1883 ? 36” 9x14” ? ? W. A. Douglas & Co.  – Virginia Alberene Corp
406 Apr 1903 0-4-0ST 36" 9x14" 30" 26,100# P. McManus (Lancaster, Pa.)  
675 1979 0-4-0ST Std 7x12” 24”   Old Dominion Soapstone Corp. (Esmont, Va.) #1 - Virginia Alberene Corp. 2/1917
- Nelson & Albemarle Ry. #1
- SI&E 1920 #1600
767 Dec 1905 0-4-0ST 36" 9x14" 30" ? Ashburner Ellis & Co. "Vulcan" - Lane Bros.
924 Aug 1906 0-4-0ST 36" 10x16" 30" ? Sims Bros. (Barboursville, W.Va.) - C. W. Lane & Co.
996 Nov 1906 0-4-0ST 36" 9x14" 30" ? Johnson & Briggs #7 (Culloden Sta., Cabell Cnty, W.Va.) - Frazier Ballast Quarries 11/1931
- C&O Ry. (Richmond, Va.) 3/1938
1039 Jan 1907 0-4-0ST 36" 9x14" 30" ? Lane Bros. #38 (Lexington, N.C.) - Piedmont Const. Co.
- Hummel-Ross Fibre Corp.
1262 Jun 1909 0-4-0ST Std 9x14" 30" 28,000# Geo. B. Mullen #1 (Washington, D.C.) - Richmond & Rappahannock R. R.
- Crawford Vau…an Boilder Works
1269 Jun 1909 0-4-0ST 36" 9x14" 30" 28,000# Geo. B. Mullen #2 (Washington, D.C.) (shown on list as Nullin) - Richmond & Rappahannock R. R.
- Harry Waugh
- Scott & Trinkle
1381 3562 2-4-2ST Std 14x22” 40” 86,000# Culver & Port Clinton R. R. (Gypsum, O.) - Alberene Stone Co. of Va.
- Nelson & Albemarle #11, 3/1923
- new boiler #2929, 1927
1389 Oct 1909 0-4-0ST Std 11x16" 30" 40,000# Transit Const. Co. (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) - Fred. T. Ley & Co.
- Leas & McVitty
1436 10 or 12/1909 0-4-0ST Std 11x16” 30” 40,000# Old Dominion Soapstone Corp. #2 (Damon, Va.) – Virginia Alberene Corp. 2/1917
– Nelson & Albemarle Ry. #2 (2nd #2)
– new boiler 6/1926
– Virginia Blue Ridge Railway #4 6/1942
– Leas & McVitty (Buena Vista, Va) 12/1943
– Charles Watson 1962 (saddle tank removed)
– Will Harris, North Fork Lumber Co. (Goshen, Va.)
- Not Scrapped
1450 Jan 1910 0-4-0 Std 16x24" 48" 80,000# American Car & Foundry Co. #4 - C&O Ry.
1515 Apr 1910 0-4-0ST 36" 11x16" 30" 40,000# Rinehart & Dennis #38 (Valhalla, N.Y.) - C. W. Lane & Co.
- Gray Knox Marble Co., (Knoxville, Tenn.)
2390 Jun 1915 0-4-0ST Std 11x16" 30" 36,000# F. H. Clement & Co. #107 (So. Bethlehem, Pa.) - Blue Ridge Stone Co.
2590 Jan 1917 0-4-0ST Std 12x16” 33” 52,000# Alberoyd Co. #1 (Esmont, Va.) - Virginia Alberene Corp. 3/1928 (#15 / #1)
2591 Jan 1917 0-4-0ST Std 12x16” 33” 54,000# Chile Exploration Co. (Chile)  
3045 Apr 1920 2-6-2ST Std 17x24” 46” 148,000#  Nelson & Albemarle Ry. #9, (Schuyler, Va.) - Virginia Alberene Corp.
3278 Dec 1922 2-6-2ST Std 15x24” 42” 112,000# Nelson & Albemarle Ry. #10, (Rockfish, Va.) - Virginia Alberene Corp.
3426 Feb 1924 0-4-0ST Std 12x18” 33” 60,000# Nelson & Albemarle #12 (Rockfish, Va.) - Virginia Alberene Corp.
3507 Feb 1925 0-4-0ST Std 12x18” 33” 60,000# Nelson & Albemarle #14 (Schuyler, Va.) - Virginia Alberene Corp.


Send email to NelsonAlbemarle@comcast.net if you have any comments or questions or wish to contribute to future articlesWe continue to look for diagrams of the railway track at Rockfish for our Nelson & Albemarle Railway map.  If you have something to share, please write to us at the email address above. Copyright 2018 - Nelson & Albemarle Railway Historical Society.

Comments