September 2016 Article

This Month's Article:  September 2016
Asking for Donations

Since 2009, the Nelson & Albemarle Railway Historical Society has been striving to secure the maximum amount of historical data and artifacts of the railroad and provide that history and guidance to the places to find out everything possible about the railroad.  It's a daunting task that was undertaken and it's led to many adventures and lots of visits to the former N&A line and numerous archives and libraries.  We have pay envelopes, salesman samples, timetables, and company store tokens.  There are large numbers of original slides, negatives, and prints that make up a great part of the society's collection.  A library of books now exists ranging from early catalogs of rail equipment and books written about the rail line to film of the Nelson & Albemarle within a major motion picture and amateur film shot be a rail historian.  At one time, we even had a chance to purchase a locomotive bell off of one of the various steam engines that roamed the quarry properties (which we didn't for what were obvious reasons at the time - no space to store it)! 

As most readers are aware, we've been writing the story of the Nelson & Albemarle Railway and in the process continue collecting background data which includes not only photographs and documents, but actual mementos of the rail line and the various soapstone works that held ownership over the years.  As the story gets written, we've tried to capture more and more of that background.  We'd like to ask you, the railfan and reader alike to share with us (by copy or original donation if possible) any historical data, photo, document, memorabilia you possibly can as we close on the final edits of the new book.  When each chapter was written, there were segments created that shared either personal experiences (such as how someone's brother and sister were photographed as children on the front steps of locomotive #10's pilot) or photographs of memorabilia that had been donated (or just shared).  The book has plenty of information in it and yet we're looking for more.  So if you have an old photograph of the N&A hanging around, please consider sharing it or donating it for help in wrapping up each chapter of the book.  It's expected that we'll mention quite a few people in the final publication.

Writing the story on the N&A is not a new idea; many rail writers have done this before, most notably, Garth Groff who has a complete unpublished manuscript that includes many, many, personal stories of railroad life along the Nelson & Albemarle and soapstone works.  The goal of this book is to provide factual information with great detail on the equipment used while leaving the great stories to Garth and others who captured many tales while the story tellers were living.  So this is how we've come to ask for donations of photos, documents, or memorabilia that will help tell the N&A story.  If you have something to sell, please let us know as well.  There might not be money to purchase something or we may work with a benefactor to get a particularly important item.  And while money is always nice (as eBay and other auction sites don't take our IOU's for Nelson & Albemarle Railway items) please don't send any cash, check or money orders.  The thought is appreciated, but we're really looking for that missing information about the N&A that will help tell future generations the story of this soapstone short line railroad.

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