College Special Train and Special Car

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Wed Jan 18 07:59:11 EST 2023

The Huckleberry was used to transport the VPI football team and Corps of Cadets to games in Roanoke, Richmond, and Charlottesville (at least those) until at least 1961. If it continued beyond 1961, it ran for only a year or two more. It was not the Huckleberry if it included W&L students in Lynchburg, because the Huckleberry was the Blacksburg Branch. The entire train was used for the student event. I was oblivious to most town activity, but I believe that there was no standard passenger service at that time.


Craig Close   BORHS/C&A Live Steam/FoGFLP/HFRHS

Balimer Merlan

OK: Far West Catonsville

Or: Greater Oella


From: NW-Mailing-List <nw-mailing-list-bounces at> On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2023 11:15 PM
To: nw-mailing-list at
Subject: College Special Train and Special Car


Good evening,


My name is Tyler Herod and I am doing research on the Huckleberry (officially the Blacksburg Branch) and its historical connection to Virginia Tech. While researching, I found a source that makes constant reference to “special trains” and “special cars.” 


These trains and cars were always used to carry people for sporting events, often football games. The size of the people carried seemed to vary. For example, one section states “The Varsity departed Blacksburg by special railway car on Friday morning.” This implies that it was just one car on the train that was reserved. 


However, the source also states “The special Train from Lexington pulled into the station at Lynchburg at 12:30, and disgorged its mass of W. & L. students and supporters. The University Band of thirty-five pieces was with the group.” To me, this implies the entire train was reserved.


Does anyone know what the source may be referring to by “Special cars” and “Special Trains”? Were these just normally scheduled N&W trains where the colleges had reserved a car or the entire train, were these special services provided by Norfolk & Western due to the sporting events, or were these privately owned trains or cars operated on N&W rails? The time period for these events is roughly between 1902 to 1958.


Thank you for your time,

Tyler Herod


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