Bluefield in 1908 -- New railroad

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Mon Oct 20 21:49:04 EDT 2008

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
September 27, 1908

Building of New Railroad Would Mean Much in Bluefield--Clinch Valley Division Not for Sale

The following item is taken from a coal trade journal known as "Coal" and published in Pittsburg, Pa. The item is taken from the Charleston correspondence of that journal and has a great deal of local interest:
"A report states that the Southern Railway, having become aroused over the plans of the Clinchfield & Ohio Railroad Company to acquire the Clinch Valley division of the Norfolk & Western, has decided to parallel that division in order to reach the coal territory which lies in and adjacent to that valley and which promises to become one of the important coal producing sections of the state."
A representative of the Daily Telegraph called at the local offices of the Norfolk & Western yesterday and asked if there was any truth in the report that the Norfolk & Western intended selling the Clinch Valley. A positive denial was given the report and it was further said that if there was any buying to be done the Norfolk & Western would perhaps buy the Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio.
However, should the Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio purchase the Clinch Valley division it will mean a great deal for this city, as the road would in all probability make a route through here, locating its tracks in South Bluefield, where it would perhaps have a depot. From here the line would go on, taking another route to Bristol or perhaps Roanoke. It would mean that Bluefield would have another railroad and Bluefield is in a receptive mood.
Should the Southern railway build a line to parallel the Norfolk and Western it might mean that the Southern would make an effort to tap the iron fields of the East River mountains and go on to Roanoke and Lynchburg, giving them the advantage of getting into the coal regions of this section and also making another route into Virginia, with the remote possibility that the road would eventually strike the tidewater at Norfolk.
Of course, this is all surmise, in view of the fact that the Norfolk and Western officials deny the report that the Clinch Valley is to be sold. Should it turn out to be true it would undoubtedly mean a great deal for this city and Graham, which would be the center of three roads with the Virginian railway only a few miles away.
It would be impossible for these lines to pay at the present time unless some tremendous development should be made in the Clinch Valley territory. Should this be done it would mean that the Norfolk & Western would change their main line so that it would run through the rapidly growing Berwin-White territory, over a line that was surveyed some time ago, and which would bring the main line of the road through Pocahontas, thus saving a good deal of the present grade and shortening the distance between Iaeger and this city by several miles.
This might eventually mean the electrification of the line between Iaeger and Bluestone with a short electric line between Bluefield and Bluestone. While it would not necessarily mean that all trains would be run by electricity it might mean that electric wires could be strung between these points and the cars sent over them so as not to interfere with the regular freight and through passenger service. An electric line will eventually run between these points and there is no doubt but that it would pay. In view of this fact, the Norfolk & Western could string wires along their line, using the rails for both steam and electric cars, and build an electric line at a saving of over a million of dollars. It is estimated that it would cost about $2?,000,000 [blurred] to build an electric line between Bluefield and Welch and there is no doubt but that the people of this section would rather have the service in the hands of the Norfolk and Western than of some private company whose standing would not be known.
Bluefield will anxiously await the verification of the report that the new road will be built.

Gordon Hamilton
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