N&W and VGN--Monster engines

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sat Oct 9 08:01:19 EDT 2010

Morgan was the location of the original engine facilities when N&W entered McDowell County, WV in 1888. It was located about a mile east of Elkhorn and 0.2 miles west of the Crozer Coal & Coke Company. The small terminal had a 52-ft wooden turntable. The foundation for the Morgan Tank can still be seen at Elkhorn (Crozer) where the road crosses the track to go to the Orthodox Church at Elkhorn. A picture of the Morgan Tank and a paragraph on Morgan can be found on page 95 of "Billion Dollar Coalfield" available from the commissary. Mason Cooper's new book, "Pocahontas Memories," which will be published in time for the 2011 convention, contains a locomotive picture, circa 1895, taken at Morgan.

Alex Schust
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Subject: N&W and VGN--Monster engines

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
March 29, 1911

Norfolk and Western Ms Seem to Excel Big Virginian Locomotives in Hauling Power
Officials of both the Norfolk and Western and the Virginian Railway yesterday watched comparative test of the hauling power of types of engines used on the Norfolk and Western and the Virginian. The object of the test was to discover which engine is the better according to the "Brandeis" system* of economizing on American railroads. Engine 449 [Class MB, 2-8-2] from the Virginian, with Engineer Witt Perkins up, and Norfolk and Western engine 1112, class M-2 [4-8-0], with Engineer John Simpson up, made trips over the Pocahontas division yesterday with loads which were hauled over the mountain for the purpose of finding out which engine made the best showing from an economical standpoint.
On the first trip from Northfork to Coaldale with about 750 tons the class M-2 engine averaged about twelve miles per hour, while the Virginian engine, with the same tonnage, averaged but nine miles per hour. On the second test the Virginian engine showed a falling off from its first showing on a trip from Morgan** to Coaldale. Indications would point to the Norfolk and Western engine being better of the two, in spite of the fact that the Virginian engine was not steaming very well and on the second trip had some trouble with its fire.
In order that a fair test may be made both engines will go to work today, pulling over the mountain, and it is likely that today's test will be final. Both engines were brought to this city last night.
*Google Books has, "Scientific Management and Railroads," by Louis D. Brandeis, published by "The Engineering Magazine" 1912. Although this book was published later than the above article, apparently this is the Brandeis referred to in the newspaper article.

**According to a 1925 N&W Annual Report item Morgan was five miles west of Coaldale, or near present-day Elkhorn, WV. The N&W List of Stations and Sidings lists Morgan Storage Track at MP 372.61, near Elkhorn.
[Is there any other documentation of this comparative test?]

Gordon Hamilton


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