N&W in 1909--Bland county-- also NRH&W, VHL and BL&L (BL&T)

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Mar 30 15:13:55 EDT 2009

Allen, Thanks for your personal information on the narrow gauge hoppers (smilar to EBT versions) and some track that you found alongside the Virginia Hardwood Lumber's logging line in the early 1960s. I must hike up there soon and see if they still exist in any form. Lloyd.

To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org Subject: RE: N&W in 1909--Bland county-- also NRH&W, VHL and BL&L (BL&T) Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2009 10:32:15 From: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org

Lloyd, Like you, I remember hiking the narrow gage line when attending Camp Roland in the early 1960's. I also remember my step dad taking us on some dirt roads up over Brushy Mountain and seeing several narrow gage hoppers (from memory, they looked similar to the EBT hoppers) and some track near the top of the mountain. It'd be nice if someone could find some history on this line. Regards, Allen Evans, Federal Way, WA.

To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org Subject: RE: N&W in 1909--Bland county-- also NRH&W, VHL and BL&L (BL&T) Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2009 10:52:51 From: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org

Always a source of real interest and fascination for me, the New River Holston & Western Railroad was developed by the same man -- Mr. Mingea -- who was at one time a freight agent in Lynchburg, VA, for N&W. He later moved to Abingdon and had built -- with N&W capital -- the Abingdon Branch. Both, of course, are now long gone.
I do believe the logging railroad to which you refer below was once a major source of traffic for NRH&W and named Virginia Hardwood Lumber Co. with its offices and probably its shop very near to Bland at Suiter, in turn very close to Bastian, VA, where its narrow gauge rails met Mr. Mingea's first RR. Actually, this was probably Suiter, the real end of NRH&W, as you note below.
As a child growing up in Princeton, WV -- also your hometown, when my family traveled to Southwest VA to see relatives, we drove the pre-I-77 route over Brushy Mountain between Bland and Wytheville, VA. On the hillside above us in that vicinity, were the unmistakable switchback scars in the Brushy mountainside. Wish I had taken photos -- but none.
Years ago, I inherited some small prints of Shay action on this line but I can't find them now. I will sure continue digging for them. Does ANYONE ELSE have or know of ANY PHOTOS OF ANY PART of this LONG-GONE logging line (VHL), probably abandoned not long before NRH&W was torn up. Or "coitinly" NRH&W photos --TWO VERY RARELY photographed lines! What's the official abandonment date of NRH&W? 1930s? Lloyd Lewis, Kenova, WV.
P.S. Does ANYONE OUT THERE IN 'EMAIIL"LANDanyone out here in "email land" have ANY DATA, PHOTOS, ETC., OR ANY SOURCES FOR THE ALSO VERY RARELY PHOTOGRAPHED logging line starting in the vicinity of Princeton?? This Bluestone Land & Lumber (sometimes Timber) Co. ran from Gardner Junction, just west of The Virginian Railway's Princeton Shops and was standard gauge about five miles to its large sawmill at Gardner, now the site of TWO Federal Government Hardwood Research Laboratories.
BL&L (BL&T's) by then three-foot-gauge log line ran north of the mill powered by small Shays about 30 or so miles to quite near the county line of Mercer and Raleigh on top of Flat Top Mountain. It started late -- about 1915 -- and was logged out and torn up in 1929 and the mill machinery sold to the U.S. Navy in Oregon, I hear from Tom Marshall of Mullens, WV, The World's Expert on such materials!! HELP on all three RRS!!? BEST WISHES, Lloyd again.
To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org Subject: N&W in 1909--Bland county Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 14:40:34 From: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org

Bluefield Daily Telegraph June 18, 1909
Contract Let for Building Railroad >From Day, Virginia, to Rocky Gap
Agent for Virginia Iron, Coal and Coke Company En Route to Secure Option on Land and May Establish Large Operation
J. C. Honaker, of Rock [sic] Gap, Va., largely interested in Bland county real estate, who was in the city yesterday, is authority for the statement that the New River, Holston & Western Railroad Company has let a contract for the building of a railroad from Day, Va., to Rocky Gap, a distance of eight miles. This is an extension of the road owned by the company and already in operation connecting with the Norfolk and Western at Narrows, Va.
The purpose of the company is to furnish an outlet for the rich iron and timber country of Bland county. The iron in particular is said to be the richest in the state, and the deposits covering a wide territory are said to be practically inexhaustible. The quality is good, and capital at this time is looking toward the development of the bodies. C. E. Lucas [Microfilm blurred. Best interpretation shown.] of Patterson, Va., general manager of the Virginia Iron Coal and Coke Company, is now en route to Bland to secure an option on some of this land, and Mr. Honaker says he understands that if the deal is completed, a large operation will be established by the company.
In addition to the iron, Bland in this locality has vast timber resources which will be rendered marketable much more easily by the building of the new road. Mr. Honaker says he expects to see Bland boom in the very near future.
[Does anyone have photos of 100-car unit ore trains moving down Wolf Creek on the NRH&W carrying some of the "almost inexhaustible" iron deposits toward the N&W and some hungry smelter? No? Then I have another question. As a youth I attended boy scout camp at Camp Roland in Bland county, and I remember hiking over deteriorated crossties along a logging railroad on our way up to a fire tower. Camp Roland is on the upper reaches of Wolf Creek whereas the N&W Narrows Branch left Wolf Creek to reach the end of line at Suiter on Hunting Camp Creek, on the opposite side of Round Mountain from Camp Roland. Does anyone have any info on the logging railroad at today's Camp Roland?]

Gordon Hamilton

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