N&W in 1912--New double track

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Mon Nov 28 21:19:43 EST 2011

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
February 27, 1912

Distance Shortened, Grade Reduced and Curves Almost Eliminated Between Vivian and Huger
Yesterday the Norfolk and Western put the double track between Vivian and Huger into service, train No. 10 eastbound, and No. 1, westbound, being the first to make the trip over the entire four miles of track, which cost nearly $900,000, or over $200,000 per mile. The work, which has been in progress for a year and a half has been of an extremely heavy nature, it being necessary to build three tunnels, and do a good deal of other heavy cutting and grading, which has not only resulted in the saving of about a quarter of a mile in distance but has also reduced the curves from ten and twelve degrees to an average of six degrees. The grade has been considerably improved and the replacing of the old single track line, which had been outgrown by the immense tonnage handled on the road, will be greatly appreciated by the railroad officials, and considerably assist in the movement of trains in both directions.
The completion of this work recalls the fact that the road now has but about two and a half miles of single track on the Pocahontas division, which last year originated over twenty millions of tons of coal and coke. This single track lies between Alnwick and Wharencliffe [sic],and the contract for double tracking it has not yet been let. This work will also be of an extremely heavy nature and will eventually be done, thus completing the double track line from Bluefield to Williamson, with the exception of the track in the Coaldale tunnel, which has double track on both side of the entrances.
The completion of this double track recalls the work which is progressing on the Cedar Bluff, or Dry Fork, cutoff. The tunnel at that point, which is 4,700 feet long, will result in the opening up of the Clinch Valley territory and the diversion of coal, which now goes over other lines to the west, to the Norfolk and Western, which road will be able to give a much more advantageous freight rate than is now enjoyed by the coal companies in the neighborhood of Norton and even in the neighborhood of the Black Mountain region. The unsatisfactory price conditions for coal which are worrying the operators who deal almost exclusively with the southern trade will then be given a chance to adjust themselves, and the Norfolk and Western will materially [be] benefited in tonnage, especially the Clinch Valley division, which in the past five years has shown an activity which has made that division a possible revenue producer, instead of a drag on the income sheet. Within the past few months the business on the Clinch Valley has increased, fully fifty cars a day being hauled over the road more than six weeks ago, while the opening of the Dry Fork cutoff will materially increase this tonnage, permitting of a saving of many miles.
Gordon Hamilton
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