March-April 2018 Article

This Month's Article:  March-April 2018
Timetables of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway

Ever since the Schuyler Railway started operating with streetcars purchased secondhand from the Lynchburg Street Railway system, there have been schedules to follow so that people could know when trains would arrive and depart particular stations.  Much of the information shown in this article on timetables comes from the Official Guide of the Railways.  The guide started monthly publication in 1868 and the first mention of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway or it's predecessors found was from a 1909 edi
tion listing H. L. Lane as the General Manager based in Esmont and describing each scheduled train rather than providing a timetable as other railroads of Class I status published.  The 1910 version shifted to that standard timetable construction and provided the officers and their locales in addition to the basic information included from the previous year.
Now shown was D. J. Carroll as President residing at 223 East 23rd Street in New York City, H. L. "Henry" Lane as General Manager being relocated from Esmont to Schuyler and Samuel H. Purcell as Superintendent, Auditor, and Secretary of the railway.   ***  As the search through the available Official Guides progressed, the Official Railway Equipment Register for the years 1907, 1909, and August 1916 were discovered.  While there were no notations for the N&A Ry. in the 1907 edition, the 1909 edition listed the N&A but without note of any equipment.  The 1916 edition included only a small block of detail but noted a significant fact - there were 3 locomotives attached to the Nelson & Albemarle Railway at publication which confirms that the roster contains correct information for the period leading up to 1920 when a new Porter locomotive was purchased, numbered 4.  Recently a listing of Vulcan locomotives identified a secondhand purchase of a small locomotive
 that was likely never formally transferred onto the books to the
Nelson & Albemarle Railway but may have been the first locomotive considered to be #2 or #3 on their roster. Virginia Alberene had purchased a diminutive tank engine, assumed to have a Whyte wheel configuration of 0-4-0, as secondhand that without confirmation will remain a mystery to historians of this shortline. However, Virginia Alberene was formed during 1916 so the timing of the acquisition and the reporting looks to be the same year.  New in June of 1883, the locomotive was originally built for the W. A. Douglas Co. as Vulcan construction number 138.  The equipment detail identified may not provide specifics for the locomotive, but it's one more clue to the early engines that supported transport for the soapstone company.  ***  The next available complete Official Guide was from 1921 but the scans of the page are so blurred that the detail is almost impossible to make out.
 It does identify a significant change in leadership at the railway though.  W. W. Hepburn is now President and Secretary of the N&A Railway and is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A. H. Lloyd is Treasurer and General Manager replacing Samuel H. Purcell who must have succeeded Henry Lane between 1909 and 1916 when the Official Railway Equipment Register noted him as Treasurer and Gen. Manager!  Lastly, the 1925 edition now lists A. J. Belmore as Master Mechanic.  This may have been more of an advertisement for the railway as this appears to be the Mechanic hired away from the Richmond Locomotive Works.  His impact, moving the N&A Railway to standardization on Vulcan-built locomotives may have been the best outcome of his hiring.

The last Official Guide found from the early period of the N&A Railway (1925) had very good scans of the pages, but does not contain the scanned page that held the N&A Ry. entry.  Later, there would also be schedules that the Nelson & Albemarle Railway published and distributed for agents and personnel (not to mention local riders).  These letter size timetables have been found in several University libraries and there are three held in the NEARHS archives that will be shared here in the next week.

[For the months of March and April we will be reporting on the timetables used by the Nelson & Albemarle Railway and it's predecessor lines and associated schedules with their interchange with the C&O and Southern Railways.]  More to follow as this article gets built on the cover page.

Send email to if you have any comments or questions or wish to contribute to future articles. Copyright 2018 - Nelson & Albemarle Railway Historical Society.