Virginian in 1908 -- First train into Princeton

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Bluefield Daily Telegraph
September 25, 1908

First Train Into Princeton

Geo. W. Lazenby, of Princeton, was in the city yesterday and said that the first train over the new Virginian Railway was run into Princeton, the county seat, yesterday [Thur., Sept. 24, 1908].

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
September 26, 1908

Politicians Forget Politics, Ladies Neglected Social Duties and All Flocked to Depot

As was reported in the Telegraph of yesterday Princeton has seen her first real train, on a real railroad line (not blue), with real engineers and real cars and all of the rest of the real things that go with a real railroad line. The train consisted of engine No. 301 [Class CA, 2-8-0] with a number of work cars and got into Princeton about 8 a. m. In a short time the news was all over town. It created even more excitement than the politics which the men talk all day at the court house, and instead of every one going around on the quiet and calling their friends aside in that mysterious way which is supposed to go with a real politician who hopes at some time to be an officeholder, men and women cried out to one another that the Virginian had run a train into town. Ladies called one another on the telephone and all rushed to the depot to see the novel sight. It really did the people of Princeton good, as it means a whole lot to the town, and the ladies were the first to show their appreciation. With the assistance of men they rushed to nearby stores and purchased ribbons and other draperies with which they decorated the engine cab. The real engineer came in for a great deal of flattery and no man could have answered all the questions that were put to the railroad men. The train stood at Princeton for some time and every one had a chance to see and admire the large engines which are to be used on the Virginian. They are of a type much larger than the class M engines used on the Norfolk and Western and are made for heavy work.
So pleased were the Princeton people with the train that the Virginian officials will send another train, probably a passenger train with real coaches into the town on Sunday, in all probability the train will run into Princeton in the morning and everyone who wants to see the new cars with their yellow paint will have to get up early as the people of Princeton must remember that steam cars don't wait for any one.

[The reference to "a real railroad (not Blue)" in the article above refers to a contractor's railroad, known as the "Blue line," that was built from a connection with the N&W at Ingleside to Princeton, apparently so that construction could proceed out of Princeton while the large bridges and tunnels east of Princeton were still under construction. Reportedly, Samuel J. Evans got the machinery for his 1908 Princeton Power Co. power plant over the Blue line.]

Gordon Hamilton
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