Virginian in 1910--Speculation

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Sat Mar 27 22:20:34 EDT 2010

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
October 18, 1910

Possibility That it May be Acquired by New York Central Interests

Some months ago the Daily Telegraph printed a news article stating that the Virginian Railway would fall into the hands of the New York Central lines. This article was widely circulated after its appearance in the Daily Telegraph. Later on an engineer employed by the president of the New York Central lines visited this city, Roanoke and other points in the section. He would neither deny nor affirm the story, but left the impression that something would be done which would carry out the statements made in the Telegraph.
Just previous to his visit the Hocking bubble exploded and the Chesapeake and Ohio got control of the Hocking Valley railroad while the Lake Shore secured a joint control of the Kanawha and Michigan, an allied road. It has been known for years that the owners of the Coal and Coke railroad [Connected Charleston and Elkins. Became part of B&O.] were willing to make some arrangements whereby that road would secure some good connections and capital for development. About the time that these reports began to be circulated, the New York Central lines acquired such an interest in the Western Maryland that it was to their interest to push that line. The Western Maryland connects with the Coal and Coke and has done so for years. The Coal and Coke connects with the Kanawha and Michigan at Charleston, while at Deepwater the Kanawha and Michigan and Virginian Railway have only a river separating them [The connecting bridge at Deepwater was completed in 1931.]. The Western Maryland is being extended so that it will have a connection with the New York Central lines in the Connellsville district; thus welding these railroads into a chain which easily gives the New York Central a route from the lakes and Chicago to Norfolk, Va., via the Virginian.
On the face of the story there is sufficient ground for serious thought by the uninitiated, and when it is taken into consideration that the Virginian officials and the New York Central officials are in a conference which takes them over the Virginian Railway, there is even greater reason to believe that a deal will be made whereby the Virginian will pass into other hands.
It is a well known fact among railroad men that the Virginian Railway cannot be a success without some kind of a deal by which it can secure a western outlet. If it is acquired by the New York Central, the outlet is secured and in addition that road will get an entrance into Norfolk which will be a vast advantage in meeting Panama competition in the years to come. In addition to this the New York Central could secure a large tonnage along the Coal and Coke, which has been developed in a very minor way.
With the tonnage that the Western Maryland, the Coal and Coke and the Virginian can produce, it is a certainty that the three roads could be made to pay well, while in addition the New York Central would have entry to the ports of Boston, New York, Baltimore and Norfolk as well as reaching all of the lake ports, Chicago, St. Louis and other important tonnage centers.
The coming of the New York Central would mean a great deal to Mercer county, but how that would benefit Bluefield from a traffic standpoint is hard to see unless the people of this city should take the initiative and put themselves in connection with the county seat [Princeton] by means of a railroad of their own which could be sold or leased to the railroad which would give this city a competitive freight rate. This of course, would be impossible unless the various interests which are responsible for Bluefield as a commercial center get together and boom this city as a future commercial center.
Gordon Hamilton
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