Mail transportation on the N&W Tug Fork Branch

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Fri Oct 23 10:53:52 EDT 2009

I too am interested in how any non - coal hopper traffic and how much of it was moved on branches mostly existing to service coal mines.

I have a small O scale railroad that is loosely based on an N&W coal branch. I always assumed that a boxcar of mining supplies or other freight would just be mixed in with the coal hoppers and brought up on a mine turn when needed.

However I have many steam era boxcars and a 4-8-0. I would love to a model a daily mixed freight on my coal branch.

Any further info is greatly appreciated.

Thanks is advance.
Tom Lewis,

-----Original Message-----
From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
To: nw-mailing-list at
Sent: Thu, Oct 22, 2009 12:24 pm
Subject: Mail transportation on the N&W Tug Fork Branch

Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2009 19:55:20 -0400
From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
Subject: N&W in 1910--Mail service

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
April 7, 1910

Inaugurated on Tug Fork Branch of Norfolk and Western

The Norfolk and Western has inaugurated a new mail service on the Tug Fork
branch. Two mails a day now go to Anawalt and this service is greatly
appreciated. The people along the Anawalt section now want an opportunity to
get the train to lay over at Pageton or Anawalt at night instead of at Gary as
they figure in this way they will be able to go to Welch or some other point and
return the same day. An effort will also be made to get a local freight service
on the line. There are eighteen or twenty mines on the Tug Fork branch and the
coal companies along the line feel that enough business goes to and from these
operations to warrant a local freight. It is likely that a petition will be
prepared asking for such an extension of the local freight service.
[If there were no local freight service on Tug Fork branch how did these
eighteen or so mines get the material for the tipples and mine material such as
rails, cars, etc? As far as that goes how did any mines get started before the
railroad reached the mine location?]

Gordon Hamilton

October 23, 2009

Hello, Gordon:

Wasn't "local freight" service primarily for carload and less-than-carload
merchanidise freight? My recollection is that "mine runs" on the N&W were not
considered local freight.

Regarding the mail service, the Railway Mail Service Third Division would have
made a determination that mail volume and dispatches warranted mail being
handled on a second train. Although there were frequent communications between
a railroad's manager of mail (who also usually handled the express company
service relationships, too) and the district RMS staff, the added service would
have been initiated by the RMS, not the N&W.

Good morning,

Frank Scheer
f_scheer at

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