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Wed Nov 16 08:47:11 EST 2016

In the early days when westbound trains had to be pushed up Alleghany Mountain, “Balls” was a telegraph office about three miles east of Elliston.  There was a sharp dip in the area which was known as “Balls hole”.  The dip was gradually filled in over the years.  

As the westbound grade up to Christiansburg was eased over the years, the westbound pushers were no longer needed.  Neither was the office at Balls.


From: NW Mailing List 
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 7:31 PM
To: NW Mailing List 
Subject: Where?

In the Powhatan Arrow thread, abram said,

Fred Whitaker was a jewel.  A real gentleman, and a thorough professional at his craft.  He was somewhat famous amongst the workforce for being the first man every to "pull" a train through Ball's Hole (instead of braking it through Ball's Hole.)  One one day I asked him about it, and he smiled and said, yes, the story was true.  Then he said words to the effect that, "I thought about the break-in-two problem we were having with bunch-braking trains through the Hole, and pulling the train through there just seemed like the thing to do.  So I tried it, and it worked."  (Actually, N&W men did not use the term "bunch braking," so Fred used some other term, although I cannot remember his exact words.)  I believe the train on which he executed this experiment was an eastbound coal train (those were the ones which gave the problem.)

OK, I'll bite -- where the heck is "Ball's Hole"? That's a new one on me.

Bruce in Blacksburg

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