Triple-Header steam on trestle

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Mon Jan 6 21:38:38 EST 2020

On Mon, Jan 6, 2020, at 9:11 AM Frank wrote:

> I saw this slide for sale on eBay and thought I would share it. It appears
> that the Virginian is crossing underneath, so I anticipate someone can
> identify the location. I rarely see three triple-headed steam locomotives
> except for railfan excursions, but this appears to be in regular service.
> No date or other information provided by the seller.

As has been said, this is Merrimac. To put the specific location in
perspective, the excursion is heading north, from Christiansburg toward
Blacksburg. The view under the trestle is east on the Virginian, with
Merrimac Tunnel not too far up the cut beyond the trestle. The stream under
the small bridge is Slate Branch, which the Virginian follows along the
base of Price Mountain. The road crossing is on the original right of way
of the Virginia Anthracite Coal & Railway Co., which came down what
eventually became the connection between the VGN and the Blacksburg Branch.
The line continued up the drainage to the north. I'm still digging for
details, but there was a bit of contention between the Virginian and the
VAC&Ry that resulted in a court suit being filed in Montgomery County. The
Virginian entered into a contract with the VAC&Ry. and agreed to pay that
railroad to relocate its line to an overhead crossing of the then-under
construction Virginian. Money was paid but little work was done, which held
up completion of the Virginian (initially the Tidewater Railway at the
time). The court ruled in favor of the Virginian and the VAC&Ry. line was
eventually relocated.

Bruce in Blacksburg
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