N&W in 1912--After the slides

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Mon Mar 5 20:27:56 EST 2012

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Thu., April 4, 1912

Over Eleven Hundred Cars Sent Off Pocahontas Division in 24 Hours. Track Conditions Improve
The Norfolk and Western maintenance of way forces were busy all day yesterday repairing the damage done by the slices, .washouts and high water along the Pocahontas division. At 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon, both main lines were clear between Bluefield and Williamson, thirty hours after the slides commenced to come in. The trains made very good schedules yesterday, the delays mainly resulting from slow orders over bad tracks. It is expected that the track will be in pretty good shape all over the line by night.
Dry Fork and Clear Fork branches had not been opened up last night, but it was said that the bridges and slides will be overcome and trains run by noon today. The same condition obtains at Vivian, where the water from the creek swept from the usual course and ploughed its way through the yards to Kimball, tearing out about 100 feet of track. Bottom Creek mine has not yet opened, but it is believed the conditions will be improved by noon.
All of the branches east of east Vivian were in working shape yesterday and the cooler weather gave promise of bettor conditions obtaining, and a chance given for the entire section to recover from the flood conditions. All the creeks have commenced to go down, as there has been no rain for twenty-four hours. The conditions on the Clinch Valley are satisfactory.
The organization of the Pocahontas division, which in past years has demonstrated its ability to cope with unusual conditions and handicaps, proved its worth during the twenty-four hours ending yesterday at 7 a.m. by delivering 681 loads to the Radford division at Bluefield, and 441 loads to the Scioto division at Williamson. This total of 1,122 cars was delivered in spite of slides, washouts and heavy rains, which delayed one through passenger train nine hours, and another seven hours, and kept every official on the road on the move for forty-eight hours. Fully twenty slides were reported on Tuesday morning, between 5:30 and 7 o'clock, while others kept coming in through the day, necessitating the use of thousands of men, two steam scoops, an American ditcher, and all the maintenance of way forces on the division, as well as a number of men borrowed from the Scioto division. Not a single train was annulled during the entire twenty-four hours.
A number of mines in the field were temporarily put out of commission by high water, thereby reducing the tonnage offered the road, and naturally reducing the loads which could be moved.
Gordon Hamilton
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