March 2015 Article

This Month's Article:  March 2015
Did the N&A lease Lane Brothers locomotives?

Recently, we started investigating the locomotives that were purchased/owned by Lane Brothers Construction Company.  With GREAT help from Tom Lawson, Jr. and his "Roster of Contractor's DInkies" compiled with the assistance of Robert W. Brendel, we've pieced together detail that truly excludes the use of these small locomotives by the Nelson & Albemarle Railway!  It's always been difficult to identify the original #2 and #3 steam locomotives and also the #8 locomotive (though it appeared to be another Forney with a small tender attached).  The Lane Brothers constructed the main line of the N&A from Schuyler to Guthrie and also the reconstruction of the line between Schuyler and the interchange at Rockfish Depot.  Many of their small 'dinkies' were 36" narrow gauged and not capable of use on the standard gauged N&A rails.  There are few details on the earliest locomotives owned by Lane Brothers (whose business was headquartered across from the Esmont Depot) with no detail on locomotives numbers 1-4, 6 or 8, 10-13, 16-21, or above 40.  There were some locomotives that then started in the 100-series after #39, but no records past the year 1911.  The small 0-4-0 narrow gauged locomotives were not likely converted to standard gauge.  Most of the Lane Brothers equipment was purchased from Porter and were either Class B-T-4, Light Four Wheeled Connected Locomotive with Tender or Class B-S, Medium Weight Four Wheeled Connected Saddle-Tank Locomotive.  With purchases from American Locomotive Works - Pittsburgh and even some Baldwin and Glover, it was truly an opportunistic purchasing plan that sought out available resources at the best price to meet the bids that were being submitted and won.  Of the known Standard Gauged Lane Brothers Locomotives, only the following could have been easily leased or loaned to the N&A and with the busy schedule that Lane Brothers maintained for rail construction, it is unlikely that they had opportunity to be provided for use at any time:
#23 - 10x16+30 (10" Diameter Cylinders with 16" stroke and 30" driving wheels)
Code named "KIZLOZ" by Porter, This locomotive and a mate, #24 were built in April 1905 as construction #'s 3208 and 3209.  Because of the configuration of these locomotives by Porter, they could only be Class B-S Medium Weight Saddle-Tank builds.  Lane Brothers #'s 25 and 26 were bought from American of Pittsburgh (11x16) in July 1905 as construction #'s 38607 and 38608.  #'s 27 and 28 were bought in March of 1906 and were again the KIZLOZ code locomotives as #'s 23 and 24 were.  Their construction numbers were 3491 and 3492.  #'s 30 and 31 were again a duplication of the KIZLOZ build with construction numbers 3580 and 3581 during May 1906.  The remainder of Standard-Gauged Lane Brothers locomotives, #34 (another KIZLOZ configuration), constructed as #3611 in August 1906 by Porter and #'s 35 and 36 which were built in September 1906 with c/n's 3687 and 3688 were all of the Type B-S Saddle Tank.  As each set of locomotives (usually bought in pairs) was ordered it was obvious they were for specific bids for railroad construction and NOT finding their way onto the N&A property except by chance delivery to the Lane Brothers headquarters in Esmont, Virginia.  In 1910, Lane Brothers purchased two larger standard-gauged locomotives from American-Rogers (#47323 and 47324) and in December 1910 and May 1911 two more (#48405 and 48406) with 13x20 cylinders.  While Lane purchased some locomotives secondhand, most of the purchases were for new, but small, locomotives to meet their construction needs.  While being a nearby source of locomotive ownership and with a significant interest in the N&A operations, there doesn't appear to be any correlation (nor documented proof) that locomotives were leased from or loaned out from the Lane Brothers Construction Company.  We continue to look for early historical documents and letters that would provide some enlightenment on the N&A locomotives #2, #3, and #8, but until that data is available, the search will continue with this potential source discounted from providing that service.  Again, let me thank Tom Lawson, Jr. (author of "Locomotives of Southern Iron and Equipment Company" available from Cabbage Stack Publishing, P. O. Box 19912, Birmingham, Alabama 35219) for his contribution that made the basis of this article possible.

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