N&W and VGN in 1909--Long trains

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Sat Aug 8 10:14:56 EDT 2009

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
December 31, 1909

Eighty-five Cars the Average Load on the Lower End of the Pocahontas Division

Assistant Grand Chief Harley, of the B. of L. E., of Cleveland, Ohio, said last night that there is nothing unusual in the long trains which are being hauled over the Virginian. He said that he has seen many trains with over 100 cars and was going to explain that eighty-five cars was an average load when Engineers John Mastin and T. F. Weaver spoke up and said that the Norfolk and Western has many times hauled over 100 cars on the lower end of the Pocahontas division. Eighty-five cars, said these gentlemen, is an average load for the Williamson end of the division.
The Virginian Railway does not haul such heavy cars as does the Norfolk and Western, their cars being much smaller than the big Pennsylvania and Norfolk and Western battleships which are hauled on the local road.
As far as railroad men are concerned the only objection that they could have to the long trains would be a violation of the safety appliance law. Nowadays, though, the railroads equip their engines with double pumps and on this account are able to take care of longer trains. The greatest danger from long trains is the possibility of their breaking on curves, thereby making it possible for a smash-up in the train by the cars coming together. As this is expensive to the railroads there is no danger of their hauling too long trains. It is the general opinion that the Virginian is testing the heavy type of engines which they are using and if they find that they are able to satisfactorily carry the loads given them they will be continued without objection.
[Here is another instance of the use of "battleship" in reference to large N&W coal cars of that time period.]

Gordon Hamilton
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