N&W in 1910--Huge rocks

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Sep 30 17:00:27 EDT 2009

Imagine reading about automobile travel 100 years from now:
road rage, car-jackings, massive interstate pile-ups....

We are likely getting glimpses of the extraordinary and not the ordinary.

Toney Minter
Green Bank WV

NW Mailing List wrote:

> Would anybody care to speculate how dangerous it was to travel by rail "back

> in the day". I've seen so many articles (thank you Gordon and others) now

> about train wrecks, malicious vandalism, fights, shootings, etc. Was train

> travel just that much more dangerous in general around 1910, or was it the

> areas served by the N&W railroad resembled the "Wild West"? Or maybe it was

> that so many more people traveled by railroads?


> Mike Weeks

> Greenville NC



> -----Original Message-----

> From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org on behalf of NW Mailing List

> Sent: Tue 9/29/2009 2:27 PM

> To: 3N&W Mailing List

> Subject: N&W in 1910--Huge rocks


> Bluefield Daily Telegraph

> March 8, 1910



> -------

> Tracks Near Ada Badly Torn Up And May Not be Cleared Before Afternoon


> Nathan Neal, colored, was slightly injured in a wreck which occurred one

> mile west of Ada last night about 8 o'clock. Eight cars were thrown

> crossways on the track and two cars overturned. Engine 1057 [M1, 4-8-0,

> Richmond 1907], with Hugh Carney at the throttle and Fireman T. S. Simmons

> plunged into two rocks weighing a ton or more each, which had rolled off

> the bank on the track directly in front of the train. The engineer did

> not see them until he was within three or four car lengths and although he

> applied his air as quickly as possible, the engine went ploughing into the

> obstructions, but only suffered the loss of its pilot. Neal, who was

> injured, was standing on top of a car near the engine and when he saw what

> was happening he jumped, spraining his back. If the engineer and fireman

> had jumped they might have been killed. As it was both stuck to their

> posts and came out unharmed.

> The rocks must have fallen some time before the train came along as a

> farmer who lived nearby saw them on the track and was putting on his

> clothes to go out and warn the train men of the danger when suddenly the

> headlight of a freight came in sight and the wreck occurred.

> Dr. Cornett was put on a special engine to the scene of the wreck to

> attend to Neal's injuries, but they were so slight that he was able to go

> to his home on No. 16.

> Train No. 3 was delayed by the wreck and it was necessary to transfer

> passengers to train No. 14 while No. 3 went back to Roanoke as No. 16 and

> No. 16 came west as No. 3.

> The wreck was one of the worst small wrecks the road ever had. The track

> was badly torn up and estimates last night said that the east bound track

> would be cleared and repaired by 7 o'clock this morning while the

> westbound track cannot be cleared and repaired before the middle of the

> afternoon.

> A boy who was riding in the car with some cattle was uninjured although

> the car he was in was picked up by the force of the wreck and turned

> around so that it was thrown across the track. A pail of milk, which was

> in the car was not even overturned while the car was cavorting around like

> one of the young heifers. A dog which was in the car added his howling to

> the noise of the smashing timbers and the boy who was tending the cattle

> was more interested in quieting the dog for fear that he would stampede

> the cattle than he was in fear of personal danger.

> ------

> ["...riding in the car with some cattle...." I have heard of drover cabooses

> on some western railroads where the drovers could ride while accompanying a

> shipment of cattle or sheep, but in the car with cattle? And, a boy at that!]


> Gordon Hamilton


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