NW Mailing List
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Tue Aug 31 11:24:32 EDT 2021
Paul and Grant
I have searched my files on the Main Line of the Pocahontas and this is
what I have found. Some of the information is from the late 1800's to
West End Tower Bluefied, WV no photos only a published location.
Perhaps Telegraph was OX.
Graham (Bluefield), HQ has been covered in prior mail with photo.
Flat Top Yard, VA photo old two story tower near pumping station.
Perhaps Telegraph was FY
Cooper, WV old two story building at fork of Bluestone or Pocahontas.
Main line was single track at the time of the photo. Telegraph MC.
Coaldale, WV tower photos
Bluestone, WV SU tower covered in prior mail.
East End Tower Ruth, WV only information it was a published location.
Tug Tower Welch, WV covered in prior mail.
Iaeger, WV photos
East Williamson, WV location with no known photos.
I would suspect other towers were on the main line in the early years at
some branch line junctions. So far no information has surfaced on other
locations that I have seen.
There were also what I call short towers that preformed the same as a
regular tower. They were the sheds set up at the end of double track to
protect movement over the single track during construction. There were a
number of these at various times and locations on the Pocahontas
including Joe and Jim WV.
n 8/28/2021 5:11 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:
> Sorry, it's been many years, I cannot recall where I saw the one image
> of the late version. In spite of the high-visibility location and easy
> access, the late version was not as photogenic and apparently lacked
> the photo coverage.
> I have not researched written archives yet for the changeover date.
> Recollections are not given to nailing down dates, only that I've
> heard recollections of the early version that could date to the late
> 1930s--nothing to narrow the time frame.
> The dates of TC upgrades can help. They prompted the changeover of
> operators/towers from an early version to late and/or late to closed.
> The (early) CV Junction mechanical interlocking would have included
> the single crossover on the main and the junction switch off of the
> eastbound main. The changeover to (late) electric "Local" TC would
> include the CV main, but only to the east end of Furnace. Control of
> the main line extended east to the West Yard Pullout; helpful, because
> westbounds routinely fouled the westbound main to double out of the yard.
> HQ never extended west on the main line. The main was dark territory
> all the way to Bluestone (so the double crossover at Falls Mills was
> hand-thrown). For HQ to close, TC had to be in place here and on the
> east end of the Valley. This eliminated regular orders picked up at HQ
> by all non-passenger westbounds. Issuance of clearance cards was moved
> to the call office, along with any special orders. Orders and
> clearance cards for passenger runs were always issued at the
> Bluefield, WV station.
> HQ Tower was the third on the main line to close and move to
> Bluefield. Bluestone was the first, following the completion of the
> east end of the Elkhorn realignment in 1950. Eckman would follow with
> completion of the west end to North Fork. With the closing of HQ, the
> dispatcher in Bluefield would control the main west through Vivian.
> The others would close in order going west, starting with Tug in the
> 1960s, then Iaeger and Devon in the 1970s. West of Devon, I'm still
> trying to gather info on the East Williamson operator.
> As always, edits, additions and questions welcome.
> Grant Carpenter
> On 8/26/2021 3:00 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:
>> Thanks for the information. I did not realize there was an “early
>> version” and a “late version” of HQ Tower.
>> Do you know about when the late version was built?
>> Are there any photos of the late version?
>> Paul Mandelkern
>> *From:* NW-Mailing-List <nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org> *On Behalf
>> Of *NW Mailing List
>> *Sent:* Wednesday, August 25, 2021 5:38 PM
>> *To:* nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
>> *Subject:* HQ Tower
>> Yes, this is the "early version." It was west of the stone twin-arch
>> underpass for Beaverpond Creek and old SR 85 (now 102) to Falls
>> Mills. This tower had levers/rods and a porch where clearance cards
>> and orders could be handed directly to passing crews.
>> The "late version" I referenced was east of the underpass, had a TC
>> board and orders had to be hooped up.
>> Grant Carpenter
>> On 8/25/2021 1:37 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:
>> The HQ Tower in Bluefield (Graham) Virginia was a two-story
>> wooden structure. See the photo attached.
>> Paul Mandelkern
>> Winter Park, Florida
>> On 8/24/2021 8:15 AM, Grant Carpenter wrote:
>> Crews referred to them variously as "operator," "tower" or by name.
>> The three mainline Pocahontas towers you mention below, plus HQ tower
>> (the late version), were of a similar frame design. Two exceptions
>> were Devon (mentioned earlier, was in the depot) and Eckman, between
>> Bluestone and Tug. The Eckman operator was in the yard office, a
>> depot-like structure pictured in Alex's book, "The Norfolk And
>> Western In West Virginia 1881-1959" on page 261.
>> As mentioned, the operator count was a moving target and declined
>> through the 1950s. A handy inflection point that includes those
>> mentioned here was the start of centralizing TC in Bluefield. I
>> believe Bluestone was the first to move and close, barely making it
>> into 1950, then Eckman, then HQ.
>> Grant Carpenter
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