N&W in 1908 -- Hero

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Sat Aug 16 20:18:21 EDT 2008

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
February 29, 1908

Discovered Rail Missing From Track and Flagged No. 2 Just In Time.
Roanoke, Va., Feb. 28 (Special) --
Charles Peters and Ira Peters, two brothers, the young sons of a Roanoke county farmer living eight miles west of Roanoke, tonight saved a heavily loaded Norfolk & Western passenger train from destruction within sight of their home by waving down the engineer with a lantern. The boys were returning home just before dark with some cows they had been pasturing and while crossing the railroad track discovered a piece of rail two feet long missing. The rail was lying at the foot of a high embankment. One of the boys stood guard while the other ran to their home a mile distant and secured a lantern. He then returned and flagged the eastbound passenger train, while it was running down grade at a rate of sixty miles an hour. Road Forman Foley, who was a passenger on the train, declared that the engine could not have crossed the gap in safety. It is supposed that the section was broken out of the rail by the rear end of a freight train that passed the spot a few minutes before the boys discovered the break.
Upon learning of their narrow escape from possible death and how a wreck had been avoided, the passengers cheered the Peters boys as heroes. A purse will be forwarded to the lads by the people who were on the train.
[Could today's generally overweight youth run a mile to home and a mile back? Where is eight miles west of Roanoke? Measured from the Roanoke passenger station it would be near present-day Union Street in Salem, but the mention of a high embankment and downgrade suggests a location father west.]

Gordon Hamilton
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