N&W in 1911--Record

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Wed Jul 20 11:15:28 EDT 2011

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
December 19, 1911

Over Thousand Loads Hauled East Over Single Track Line Through Tunnel
Sunday, the Pocahontas division of the Norfolk and Western hung up a new record, showing what the men out in this section can do along the line of running a railroad and trains over it. During the twenty-four [hours] 1,001 loads were hauled east over the single track line though the Coaldale tunnel. In addition to this the regular western empty movement and all through freight business was handled, while the usual number of passenger trains and light engines worked their way through the long tunnel cut through a mountain of coal in some places as thick as fifteen and eighteen feet.
In order to accomplish this record forty engines were turned back from Bluefield in twelve hours and Trainmaster H. C. Weller was on the job for twenty-four hours at the tunnel to see that the movement was kept going. All of the coal in question, approximately 53,000 tons, originated on the Pocahontas division and was shipped east, the greater part of it going to Lambert's Point. In addition to the tonnage shipped east through the Coaldale tunnel a large tonnage was hauled west, via Williamson.
It takes a thoroughly versed railroad man to appreciate the railroading to haul 1,001 cars east over the Pocahontas division as every car has to run from a double track line through the single tunnel onto the double track again, each train being obliged to wait for clearance orders before it can enter the tunnel. From the west the approach to the tunnel is over the Coaldale hill, which is well known to railroad men, while after leaving the tunnel the trains are obliged to move with care as they make the quick drop around sharp curves to the water grade which is reached a short distance from the eastern exit of the tunnel. It is not believed the record will be equaled again this year. Such an average every day for a month would mean the shipment of nearly 1,700,000 tons monthly to Lambert's point [sic] and eastern and southern points, in addition to the western tonnage, showing that the capacity of the Norfolk and Western for handling tonnage which is needed in a hurry has made tremendous strides in the past few years.
The necessity for such an eastern rush of coal was made by the sudden demand of boats for coal so that the port of Norfolk could be cleared before Christmas arrives.
[Some numbers were blurred on the microfilm. The best interpretations are shown.]

Gordon Hamilton
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