Link's Color photo

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Wed Sep 1 16:37:40 EDT 2010

Info from Link's notes is hard to contest. But was there a shanty at
Bonsack? I have never seen photographic evidence of that.

There was a shanty at Blue Ridge, approx. 8 and 5 miles east of Boaz.and
Bonsack, respectively.

Ferrell (Norfolk and Western, Steam's Last Stand, 2007), with the most
complete printed photo coverage of Boaz-to-Blue Ridge I have seen,
reveals the Boaz shanty (pp. 113 ff, [1958]) with what appears to be
tarpaper roofing, whereas the "Highball" photo (1959) shows a roof with
seven ridges. To add to the mystery, Warden shots (N&W: A and J, 1987,
pp. 57,59, [1954]) show the Blue Ridge shanty with 4 ridges.

The roofing discrepancies may derive from repairs over the years.

The Blue Ridge shanty was not "hard by" the EB main, as in "Highball"
case, but on a siding to the south of and parallel to the EB main.

Some years ago I read a detailed account of the "Highball" story, as
told by Link's assistant (George Thom?). Alas, he made no reference to
the site, but did describe the approach of the train. He told of the
labored pull over some miles, sound emanating from way back all the way
up to the shanty, over a time period way exceeding what I would judge to
be involved in the Boaz-to-Bonsack stretch, approx 3 miles. As I read
the account, I kept saying to myself, Blue Ridge! If anyone can
reference the account, do post the detail.

So I am still intrigued. Any comment on the above?

Frank Gibson

On 9/1/2010 11:09 AM, NW Mailing List wrote:

> Highball for the Doubleheader (NW32K) was taken at Bonsack, not Boaz. In daylight test photos (NW2134 and NW2135), a curve to the right and Bridge 90 can be seen in the background. Info from Link's notes.


> Dave Stephenson



> --- On Wed, 9/1/10, NW Mailing List<nw-mailing-list at> wrote:


>> From: NW Mailing List<nw-mailing-list at>

>> Subject: Re: Link's Color photo

>> To: "NW Mailing List"<nw-mailing-list at>

>> Date: Wednesday, September 1, 2010, 12:12 PM

>> I looked on the Link Museum website

>> for the image (and maybe more

>> details). I was not able to find it as a stand alone image,

>> but found it

>> as shown in a newspaper article, and as a cover for Classic

>> Trains

>> magazine. If these are the correct images, I think the

>> title for the

>> image is "Highball for the Double Header".




>> This image was also used on the Link's LP "Thunder on Blue

>> ridge".



>> - Roger Link


>> On 09/01/2010 10:56 AM, NW Mailing List wrote:

>>> Link made a famous photo called "highballing the

>> hotshot" or something

>>> like that. It was ostensibly made at Boaz, and shows

>> Asst. TM Bill

>>> Tanner (I believe) highballing doubleheaded As on the

>> "House Car Run".

>>> They'd left the A-tank off the lead A so both of them

>> could be in the

>>> picture.


>>> Trouble is, the shanty at Boaz was not next to the

>> main line and had

>>> slight differences from the one in the photo.


>>> Anybody know where that photo was actually made?


>>> Ed King


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