Boyce grade crossing protection
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Fri Oct 23 01:34:36 EDT 2009
East Main Street Grade Crossing Protection - Boyce, Virginia
Once the station was constructed, the Town of Boyce turned to other concerns such as installing street lighting and sidewalks. It also considered public safety at the N&W grade crossing with the Winchester and Berry Ferry's Ferry Turnpike. Vehicular traffic was growing on what would eventually be designated as U.S. Highway 50 through town, now designated as County Route 723, East Main Street. This was developing as a major thoroughfare between Winchester and points west, with towns and cities to the east such as Middleburg and Arlington.
The first entry from town council meeting minutes was on August 21, 1916 [third Monday] at pages 269-270. The following letter from the State Corporation Commission was read:
Richmond August 10th, 1916,~~~
Hon. Wm. M. Gaunt, Mayor,
The Town of Boyce
Dear Sir -- Replying to your letter of the 2nd instant relative to crossing bells -- located on the tracks of the Norfolk & Western Railway Company in the Town of Boyce--
I beg to call your attention to paragraph 6/, Section 1294d, Pollard's Code, which provides that the Council of any City or incorporated Town can require a railway Company to provide gates or keep a watchman at any point within the corporate limits of such city or town where a highway or street is crossed by a railroad, whenever in its opinion the public interest demands such protection.
In view of this law it would not appear that further correspondence of the part of this Commission is necessary. However, it you desire that the Commission should take any further steps I would suggest that you file a formal petition under the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (copy of which is herewith enclosed)-- when a date will be fixed and the matter heard before the whole Commission in its Court Room in the City of Richmond.
(Signed) Wm. F. Rhea
The Mayor wrote to Mr. J. D. Hester, Superintendent, Shenandoah Division, to substitute a crossing watchman for the bell. Apparently, the town also petitioned the State Corporation Commission, but on September 17, 1917 [third Monday] at page 309, this was referred back to the town to inquire what they wanted to substitute for the bell. This was clarified by a vote on November 6, 1917 [first Monday] at page 313:
Upon the Petitioner of Wm. M. Gaunt and others--
The Petition of Wm. M. Gaunt and others asking the Removal of the Raiway Electric Bell at the Crossing of The Winchester & Berry's Ferry Turnpike by the Norfolk & Western Railway in the Town of Boyce, and that Gates be erected and maintained in lieu thereof by said Railway.
Having been maturely considered by the Council; and the Council of The Town of Boyce, being of the opinion that the public interest requires the removal of said Bell and that a Gate be erected and maintained at said Crossing by the Norfolk & Western Railway and a man kept in charge of the same.
It is therefore adjudged, ordained and enacted that written notice be given Mr. L. E. Johnson, President of said Railway by mailing him a copy of the Ordinance certified by the Recorder under the Seal of the Town requesting said Railway to remove said Bell and to erect and maintain at said Crossing from and after the 1st day of January 1918 the style of Gate said President shall prefer and to keep a man in charge thereof.
Ayes -- Martin, Wyndham, Van Deventer --3--
Noes-- Dunlap --1--
It's noteworthy that Town Concil member Dunlap was the N&W agent at Boyce station. Not surprisingly, he voted against the proposal.
A similar follow-up resolution was passed on January 21, 1918 [third Monday], described at Town Council pages 318-319:
The Petition of Wm. M. Gaunt and others asking the removal of the Railway Electric Bell at the crossing of the Winchester & Berry's Ferry Turnpike by the Norfolk & Western Railway in The Town of Boyce, and that Gates be erected and maintained by said Railway in lieu thereof: Having been maturely considered by the Council: and the Council of the Town of Boyce being of opinion that the Public Interest requires the removal of said Bell and that a Gate be erected and maintained at said crossing by the Norfolk & Western Railway and a man kept in charge of the same.
It is therefore adjudged, ordained and enacted that written notice be given Mr. N. D. Maker, President of said Railway Company by mailing him a copy of the Ordinance certified by the Recorder under the Seal of the Town requesting said Railway Company to remove said Bell and to erect and maintain at said Crossing from and after the 1st day of March 1918 the style of Gate said President shall deem best suited to said crossing, and to keep a man in charge thereof.
Ayes -- Martin, Wyndham, Grim, Van Deventer --3--
Mr. Dunlap was not in attendance to vote.
N&W's reply was considered at the February 20, 1918 meeting (page 321):
Letter from Mr. N. D. Maker President of the N&W Rwy Co read, requesting permission to substitute a visual wig-wag signal for the Gates and man in charge thereof required by the ordinance passed Jany 21, 1918.
A proposed Ordinance permitting the erection and maintenance of a visual wig-wag signal and the same should prove satisfactory in operation its substitution for the gates and man in charge required by the ordinance passed January 21, 1918.
Ayes--Van Deventer --1--
Noes--Martin, Wyndham, and Grim --3--
Evidentally, several town council members felt a wig-wag was inadequate. However, by March 5, 1918 (page 323) their opinion had changed:
Mr. J. B. Baskerville, Assistant General Claim Agent, and Mr. D. W. Richards, Signal Engineer, were present representing The Norfolk & Western Railway.
At their request the ordinance passed on the 21st day of January 18 in relation to the Crossing of the Turnpike by the Railway, and providing for the removal of the Electric Bell and the substitution therefor of Gates with a man in charge thereof, was repealed.
Ayes--Martin, Wyndham, Grim, Van Deventer & Dunlap --5--
After some additional back-and-forth communications, the matter seems to have been settled by August 13, 1919 (page 371):
A letter to Mr. Dunlap from Mr. J. B. Baskerville, Assistant General Claims Agent, Norfolk & Western Railway was read in regard to Crossing Signal.
And it was ordered -- that said Railroad be allowed to put in a wig-wag in place of the Bell.
In subsequent years, no mention is made of changing the wig-wag to flashers, gates, and bell that presently protect this crossing. Also, there is no discussion in town council notes about crossing protection at Old Chapel Road. Nonetheless, the actions described above were likely similar to those in many other communities along the N&W and other railroads in the early years of motor vehicle growth.
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