College Special Train and Special Car

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Wed Jan 18 08:32:51 EST 2023

Last special train from Blacksburg carried the VPI Corps of Cadets to Roanoke for the annual Thanksgiving Day game with VMI on Nov 28, 1963.


Alex Schust


From: NW-Mailing-List [mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2023 8:04 AM
To: NW Mailing List
Subject: Re: College Special Train and Special Car


I rode on on of these trains when a cadet at VPI.  It was 1963 and train took us to a football game in Richmond (played University of Richmond).  I believe this was the last special train from Blacksburg.  Not sure when schools common name went from VPI to Virginia Tech.

Paul Mirick

On 1/17/2023 11:15 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:

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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