"Battleship" gons

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Fri Aug 7 11:23:32 EDT 2009

Pocahontas crews referred to the N&W 120-ton gons as "Titanics" and the
trainmen I've talked with were unaware of the term "Battleship" regarding
any coal cars.

Grant Carpenter

> The Hinton News (?) newspaper in 1905 or 1906 referred to a string of the

> C&O's new 50-ton steel hopper cars coming into the yard as "Battleships"

> and that they had to be segregated from their wooden cars to avoid

> destroying their wooden FB and HB gondola cars.


> Al Kresse


> > Bluefield Daily Telegraph

> > December 19, 1909

> >


> > ------

> > Three Cars Overturned

> > Three battleship*(1) coal cars were overturned yesterday afternoon

at Ruth*(2) and Train No. 10 had to take the high grade*(3) at that point
in order to make Bluefield on time. The wreck was cleared away by night.

> >

> > New Interlocking Plant

> > The new interlocking plant at Welch, which has been under

construction for some time, is completed and in use. The plant is a modern
one, operated by electricity, with occasional motors along the track which
give the Norfolk and Western the latest and most approved method of
automatic signals at that point. The system is in use at both ends of the
tunnel at Welch and is used to prevent trouble when trains are on both
tunnel track and the station track.

> >

> > Railroad Payday Monday

> > The Norfolk and Western checks arrived in the city last night and

Monday will be payday on this end of the division. Turkey Gap was the only
plant in the immediate field which paid off yesterday and the other plants
will follow their custom of paying off on the day before Christmas.

> >

> > Narrowly Escapes Death

> > Everett Buchanan, of this city, who is employed as a car repairer

was brought to Bluefield last night on train No. 3 in an unconscious
condition.*(4) Buchanan had gone to Oakvale to do some work and was
returning to Bluefield on a freight train when he put his head out too far
from between two freight cars as the train was passing the standpipe at
that point. His head was badly injured and he was rendered unconscious.
He had a very narrow escape from death. If when he fell from the car, he
had tumbled underneath he could hardly have escaped being crushed under the
train. Buchanan was taken to the Bluefield Sanitarium for treatment. He
has no relatives here, his home being in North Carolina.

> >

> > [*(1) Another use of the term "Battleship" coal cars. *(2) Ruth was at

the east end of Elkhorn Tunnel where the double track from the east became
single through the tunnel. *(3) The high grade was the newer westward track
through Cooper Tunnel that avoided the sharp curves of the original
single-track main line that was still being used at the eastward track.
*(4) Another case of a train being used as an ambulance in those days.]

> >

> > Gordon Hamilton

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