N&W in 1908 -- Near wreck

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Mon Nov 3 22:13:34 EST 2008

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
October 11, 1908

Engine of No. 15 Brought to a Standstill With Pilot Almost Touching Huge Rock

Passenger train No. 15 narrowly escaped a disastrous wreck yesterday when the engine was brought to a standstill with the pilot almost touching a huge rock that had rolled down from the mountain side onto the track.
Just before the train was due a section man at work near Curve, on the Radford division, heard a rumbling noise and looking around saw what looked like the whole side of the mountain descending upon the right-of-way. He did not wait to see the extent of the slide, but rushing down the east-bound track to flag No. 15 and it was well that he did not delay the flagging process, for the warning signal was given none too soon. So close was the shave that had the slide occurred three minutes later the train with its cargo of human freight would have been buried under the avalanche of dirt and stone.
It took nearly seven hours to clear the tracks and traffic was of course at a standstill during that time. No. 15 reached this city about seven hours late and was followed within a few minutes by No. 1, which was nearly two hours late. Some of the passengers reported that the rock that blocked the track was as big as a house.
[In the attached aerial view Curve is the 180- degree loop to the north in New River about three miles east of Pearisburg, VA, with the former Virginian on the inside of the curve and the N&W on the outside of the curve.]
Gordon Hamilton
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