Photo by Lee Stone.
I like the composition of this shot. That’s Big Four #2 up ahead. Just beyond it is Big Four’s Walmart (formerly a K-Mart). This 174′ tunnel may still be scheduled for daylighting (removing the overburden and opening it up) in that corridor improvement project, but, as of November, 2106, it’s still a tunnel. That’s Elkhorn Creek on the left.
Incidentally, when I was researching this tunnel, I learned that the community of Big Four was named after the four owners of the major mines in this area. Keep the big people happy, and distracted.
My traveling buddy, Lee Stone, was exploring the area around Welch WV and kindly took the time to shoot some of the tunnels in the area. This N&S’s Antler #1 (37 27 14.88N, 81 37 42.75W – this is the format for Google Earth), eastern face, built around 1905. In the late 2000s, it was part of the Heartland Corridor Clearance Project to raise the clearances in 28 tunnels on the line.
Size is 1″ x 3.5″ the reverse is blank.
Note: people used to wear hats back then. “Hat Check” wasn’t for fleas or anything, it just let you amble about hatless without worrying about someone sitting on your topper.
N&W engine 611, built at a cost of $251,544 in 1950. Still going in 1983. This is a Mary Jayne Railroad Specialties train card (there are also airline cards). It was printed in Covington VA, where Mary Jayne Rowe (d. 2015) lived. The MJRS was incorporated in Miami.
I like postcards. I especially like pre-WWI, probably German-printed, dramatic cards…with a train. This is one of them. The title of this post is what is printed on the front of this card.
The back notes it is card 51 of, perhaps, a railroad series. There’s a rather wordy puff piece about the 20th Century Limited. But the message is the interesting item:
Hello Blanche. Recd. your card all O.K Was disappointed a few weeks ago, guess you know why. Sincerely C.B.
It was posted from Rogersville TN on March 3, 2pm, 1911, to Miss Blanche Gladson, Rogersville Tenn R#4.
Now, let me tell you about Blanche. I’ve run across more cards sent to her than to anyone else. She had a large family and, apparently, throngs of friends, all merrily posting cards to her.
She probably enjoyed them all. I know I have.
This Southern Railway Company pass, 4 x 2.5″, was issued to Miss Josephine Morris, dependent daughter of W.H. Morris, Agent, Harriman, Tenn, in 1921.
The back looks like a pass that didn’t print well. There’s a clover pattern overall and “NTOW”, part of some word or other. I hope she enjoyed her visits to and from Knoxville.
I didn’t have any luck tracking down the name of the vice-president who signed this.
I think this card is from the early 20s. I don’t know what company actually printed it (“published by Erwin Drug” just means that the drug store commissioned the postcard run). American News Company of Boston farmed out a lot of the black-and-white work to Curt Teich in Chicago. The inventory number does seem to indicate ANC. However, I’m still working on this. I have several cards in my collection that have the same back design and one seems to indicate it was done by Asheville Post Card Company.
Another maybe: this design often is shown with “COMMERCIALCHROME” AND “OCTOCHROME” in place of the “BLACK AND WHITE” wording. It gets complicated.
Whatever. This bridge was a replacement for an earlier timber structure and is, according to Goforth, is a TPG, a through plate girder style built on stone piers (possible: Goforth had access to original construction data and may have been using the TPG abbreviation to mean “timber plate girder”). It’s 864′ long. This view is looking back toward Erwin. Note the steps up to the railroad grade.
This is the same bridge in 2014 (36 05 56.8N, 82 26 34.9W – Google Earth coordinate data entry):
The bridge is now a through pony plate girder and the piers are still there, but have been added on to in order to raise the level of the track. There are houses on the left of this,at Unaka Springs, but no stairs.
Well, it was the Southern Railway Freight Office on Meadow Road in Asheville. Habitat for Humanity occupies the back portion (cropped out in this picture) for storage, I guess, since their retail store is just across the parking lot from this building. This portion appears to be unoccupied.
I especially like the SR medallions in the upper corners. Southern was a deal back then.
Here’re three more pix of those switchers in Polly KY:
This is looking at the back of the switcher.
These are the controls by the engineer’s chair. Note the intercom speaker.
This is the registration plate on the back switcher (the front one was gone). It’s been smoothed down over the years, but I think the model number is D904703 (that “D” could be a “O”) and the serial number is 52G155.
Ran across these at a mostly abandoned coal mine and processing plant in Polly KY.
I am no expert on engines, but these are switchers made by the General Motors Electromotive Division…maybe carry the NW designation, which would mean they date from the early 40s. I was able to get the serial number, but it didn’t yield any information when I conducted a search.
These have been hit by vandals. That’s no surprise.
Time hasn’t been kind to this interesting Southern Railway bolo. The plastic over the logo area has been crazed a bit and slightly stained in one area, but it’s still a nice little bit of history.
I can’t imagine wearing a bolo with a logo. But, if you were an employee of the Southern, I guess it worked.
This is the old depot, now a tourism center, is in Old Fort NC.
The caboose there is open to the public and still retains some features of this crew car, including this advisory (in stencil caps) above the toilet:
TOILET WILL NOT
WITHOUT 60 POUNDS
MIN. ON TRAIN LINE GAUGE
The stove is still there, a work desk, three, I think, couches that could be used as beds, and so forth. Old Fort is about 7 miles east of Black Mountain on Hwy. 70.
I got to thinking: trestle or bridge? Both, I discovered. A trestle bridge is a span supported by piers or bents (says Google). This solidly built deck girder trestle bridge spans the French Broad River near Marshall NC. The man standing to the left is my buddy, who kindly entered the shot to provide a sense of scale. The bridge is over 600′ long.
This is a 1960 ALCO 125-ton diesel locomotive, according to the web. Quite fancy livery, too. The Sunny Knott Loadout is located at Lackey, Knott County, Kentucky. We couldn’t tell if it was active. The gates were wide open and, even though there was security of a sort, we weren’t hassled at all. From the looks of the surrounding area, this must have been a busy site once upon a time.
We’re on the Long Fork Subdivision of the old C&O that ran from Martin KY to Hi Hat. This is the north portal of a tunnel, faced out and supported by wood, near Printer KY (named for a John Printer, in case you were wondering).
It’s 350′ long and in good shape. Here’s what the inside looks like:
And here’s the south portal:
Again, I don’t know how old these wood supports and facings are. The line went in sometime in the late 1920s and was active up until the 1990s.
This is just outside Martin (old Beaver Creek) KY on what was once called the Elkhorn and Beaver Valley Railroad (there’s a split in Martin: the E&BV went west, the Long Fork subdivision went south).
It’s supported by wood bracing and framing. This line was built in the 1913-1914 time period, but I don’t know if this wood structural support dates to that time. The timbers are gray with age and have been heavily imbued with creosote. This is an abandoned line.
(I also don’t know who owns the two red plastic balls down on the left)
The former Northern Ohio & Western 4497 EMD GP9, out of service near Bishop WV in March, 2016.
Photo courtesy of Lee Stone
This is Hemphill tunnel #1 west portal, about 800′ long.
and this is Hemphill tunnel #2 east portal, about 1200′ long
If you’ve got Google Earth, set the options to “digital” and enter these coordinates:
Or just follow the N&S railroad line south of Capels WV and you’ll find where my buddy was standing when he took these pictures. He was sort of in between these two, with #1 being slightly to the SE of him.
There’s great history of these tunnels here <click>
Pictures courtesy of Lee Stone
This is the N&S’s Welch tunnel, located just north of Welch WV. It’s about 1300′ long.
Coordinates (decimal) 37.435642, -81.583812
No lie, this once was a busy tunnel…two tracks and all.
If you use Google Earth, check the Historic Imagery of this tunnel and dial it back as far as you can. That shot really shows the tunnel well.
My coal country-obsessed buddy recently journeyed to the area around Welch WV. He found and photographed a couple of tunnels on the N&S lines through there. The first one is:
(Photo courtesy of Lee Stone)
The east face of the West Vivian tunnel at Kimball WV.
The tunnel is centered at (Google Earth entry form) 36 25 28.03N, 81 30 30.09W.
I don’t post a lot of pictures of bridges. My buddy’s always saying, “Look at that bridge! You want to stop and take a picture of it?” And I say, “No.” I figure if it’s a mighty truss bridge, then Calvin (Sneed) has already posted it on bridgehunter.com. Otherwise, it’s just trestle…
However, this really sturdy deck girder is a relic of the once-mighty coal-driven railways that the L&N pushed though out of Harlan KY. They built strong. The rails on this trestle have “Tennessee 1938” notations on them. It’s a dead line, but I bet it supported one hell of a lot of tonnage in its day.
The trestle crosses Catron Creek at about 36.79852, -83.33855.
Found this in an antique store last year and forgot about it. As far as I can tell, this is from the early 50s, an N&W J-type out of Roanoke Shops.
On the back:
Norfolk and Western Railway’s streamline, all-coach, daylighter along New River in Virginia
Pub. by Roanoke Photo Finishing Co., Roanoke, Va.
Dextone Made Direct from Kodachrome and Ansco Color by Dexter Press, Pearl River, N. J.
This old loader is near the Wakenva VA junction (it’s just ahead in this picture). It was hard to figure this one out. There had been a pulley system of some sort with stout wire cable, but I couldn’t tell what it was for. It had both rail and truck access.
Two views of the refurbished train station at Evarts KY, near Harlan. It cleaned up quite nicely. The first Post Office opened in this town in 1855. Since the L&N came into Harlan in 1911, I assume that the railroad came through here soon after, as it made its way east into the coal country.
This old caboose, maybe from the 40s, is located off Highway 38, east of Ages KY. It appears to have been lived in at some time. It’s pretty derelict now.
“V-901 SOUTH ENTRANCE TO NATURAL TUNNEL, SHOWING THE APPROACH OF A MIGHTY SOUTHERN RAILWAY DEISEL ENGINE, NATURAL TUNNEL, VA.” Yeah, they misspelled “diesel”.
The plate number is E-10246
On the reverse:
The Natural Tunnel, located on U.S. Highway 23, 14 miles west of Gate City, Virginia, in Scott County, is said to be the only Natural Tunnel in the world used by a railroad. Through it the Southern Railroad has hauled many million tons of coal from the rich deposits of Southwest Virginia.
(Kodachrome by Robert Suttle)
In pencil: 1951
Published by Asheville Post Card Co., Asheville, N.C.
Okay, this is the default detector at Wakenva VA, about halfway way between Trammel and Nora on the original Clinchfield line (now CSX).
My question is: Every reference source I’ve gone to says that “Wakenva” is a portmanteau word (mashup, i.e.) comprising West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia. People, look at the word!
It would have to be “WEkenva” for that to work. Hmm.
All it says on this 1940s Asheville Post Card Co. issue is “A-38 THE LOOP ON THE L. & N. RAILROAD, NEAR TENNESSEE-GEORGIA LINE”
Actually, this is the Hiwassee Loop, the “eye” of the “Hook and Eye Line” built in 1898. It goes around Bald Mountain near Farmer TN.
I found this pristine card while rummaging through a bunch of crap cards. Never know what you’ll find, sometimes.
This is a N&S trestle over the French Broad River near Marshall NC.
I don’t know why I keep posting pictures of these trestles…they all look alike.
We’re at 35.777686, -82.649629. Trestle is around 687′ long. No date on it.