November 2016 Article

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:

Send email to if you have any comments or questions or wish to contribute to future articles. Copyright 2016 - Nelson & Albemarle Railway Historical Society.