N&W in 1911--Slide

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Sun Jul 31 15:03:07 EDT 2011

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
December 31, 1911

Mail and Baggage Cars and Two Coaches of No. 16 Overturned
Colored Woman Also Reported Injured But All Other Passengers Escaped With Only a Severe Shaking Up
Passenger train No. 16 was wrecked last night at 11:25 o'clock at Houchins, two mile east of Christiansburg, when the train ran into a slide, wrecking the engine, mail car, baggage car and two coaches. All the cars left the track, but none behind the mail car was overturned.
An official report from Roanoke received here this morning stated the engineer J. E. Gerald of this city was injured, his back being badly sprained, but his injuries are not believed to be serious. Brakeman Ernest Kirtner was seriously injured by a blow in the stomach which punctured the skin. Whether his injuries are fatal is not known. Mail Clerk Dean was slightly injured, as was a negro [sic] woman passenger, whose injuries are reported to be slight. Her name could not be learned. The report states that no other passengers were injured, although it is supposed many were shaken up, as the train was running at nearly full speed when the wreck occurred.
Both main line tracks were blocked and arrangements have been made whereby the Bristol division train will go to Roanoke via the Virginian* while it is expected that similar plan will have to be made in routing No. 15 from Roanoke this morning. It could not be definitely said when the wreckage would be cleared up, but the work will take several hours.
A special relief train was made up and sent out of Roanoke before 1 o'clock for the purpose of rendering assistance and transferring passengers.
On December 22 passenger train No. 2 was wrecked at Pepper, about sixteen miles from the scene of last night's wreck, the derailment being caused by a slide. At that time Engineer Tom Monroe, of Bluefield, and Postal Clerk W. C. Sales were slightly injured.
Engineer Gerald lives at No. 10 Higgenbotham avenue [now Federal Street] at the Arlington Hotel. Brakeman Kirtner in one of the best known brakemen on the road, having worked the Norfolk and Western through trains for some time. He is unmarried.
*Wouldn't an eastbound train off the Bristol line have to run in reverse from Walton to Potts Valley Junction in order to get on the Virginian at Norcross and come east into Roanoke?

Gordon Hamilton
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