1901 - Stories of the flood of June 1901 that destroyed most of the Elkhorn Valley on the Pocahontas Division

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Oct 2 10:01:13 EDT 2007

Train related excerpts from newspaper reports of the Great flood of June 22,

> Bluefield Daily Telegraph - June 23, 1901




...The railroad, as usual, is the worst sufferer. There were several bad
washouts between here and and Graham, several on the Clinch Valley
Division, and a great many on the Pocahontas. Between Coopers and
Bramwell the bridges are damaged.

Passenger train No. 15, came as far as Bluefield, but owing to the trouble
on the Clinch Valley was anulled here. No. 3 last night was also anulled
after reaching Bluefield.

Owing to the fact that both telegraph and telephone wires are down, it is
impossible to give any reliable estimate of the damage and loss of life
throughout the coal field. Beyond Coaldale the telegraph wires are all
down, and even the officials of the road are ignorant of the roadbed.
There is no point in the field in the field, except Bramwell, which can be
reached by telephone, and a number of 'phones in the city have been
burned out. At Bramwell no damage has been done to private property,
but the iron bridge of the Norfolk and Western has been completely
washed away.

...The railroad bridges at North Fork, Johnson and Duhring are gone,
and probably half a dozen other bridges are washed out on the line.
The track between Ennis and Vivian is so badly undermined that it is
liable to give way at any time. The upper end of the Crozer Company's
power house, near Ennis, has been washed away [and portions] of the
tipple machinery is a total loss. The dynamos, too, are greatly damaged.

...at Vivian the section house was swept away and a little child of the
section master was drowned.

Practically every delivery track between Ennis and Vivian has been
destroyed, and nearly all of the new Crane Creek extension has been washed
away. At Vivian a flat car loaded with iron was swept from the track by the
raging waters.

...From present indications, traffic on the Pocahontas Division will be
probably a full week. Never in the history of the railroad have such

Passenger train No. 11, which left this city at 6:30 yesterday morning, got
further than Elkhorn. In front of the ill-fated train the track is washed
away, and
against the rear coach a house [and] a great pile of lumber has been lodged
the flood.

Passenger train No. 4, from Columbus, due here at 9:30 a.m., is at Vivian,
unable to proceed either way. Passengers from this train were rescued by
means of ropes stretched from the coaches to the coke ovens, the ground
between the track and the ovens being under probably ten feet of water.

The Clinch Valley division, too, is blocked.

Alex Schust

More information about the NW-Mailing-List mailing list