Virginian in 1912--More speculation

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Wed Apr 11 11:51:15 EDT 2012

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Sun., April 28, 1912

Inspection Trip of the Bankers' Special Has Filled Railroad Circles With Speculation
The "Bankers' Special" train, as it is known in railroad circles, which passed through this place on Friday last, bearing several hundred New York capitalists, has renewed many rumors in regard to the final western connection of the Virginian railway. It is known that next week the officials of the Virginian are to authorize the issue of $75,000,000 of Virginian bonds, of which $50,000,000 [First digit blurred. Best interpretation shown.] will be used in extensions of the line toward the west. And, indeed, local rumors are current to the effect that the entire proceeds of the bonds will be used towards the building of the western extension, although this is not probable, as a part at least of the issue will doubtless be used to retire short term high rate bonds already out.
But, the inspection trip of the "Bankers' Special" has filled railroad circles with speculation as to where the western outlet will lead. There are many who state that the Virginian will build down Guyandotte river from a point near Herndon or Mullins [sic], absorb the Guyandotte and Ohio River railroad, cross the river near Huntington and by paralleling the Norfolk and Western extension, enter Cincinnati. However this theory meets with much opposition in the "shop track talk." There are old railroad men who declare the most feasible and paying route for the railroad, and the one which had the approval of H. H. Rogers in his lifetime, was through Boone county. Such an extension would leave the present line to Deepwater somewhere near Mullins, pass down Guyan river a short distance, cross over on the headwaters of Pond fork of Coal river in Boone, and thence down that river to St. Albans, crossing the Kanawha at that point, and by taking the Kanawha and Michigan on the north side of the Kanawha river, pass through Pt. Pleasant, Gallipolis, and through rich oil territory to Toledo on the great lakes. Those who know state that such a route would open up the most valuable coals to be found in the great coal county of Boone. From the headwaters of Pond Fork to several miles below Madison, in Boone, there is ample coal to supply the needs of the world for generations. It is in immense veins, easily mined and so accessible to the railway route down Pond Fork and Coal River, that the greater part of it could he tippled upon the main track without the need of spurs and branches leading to the mines. Besides the immense areas of coal, this route would open up vast timber tracts and pass through a splendid oil and gas territory in Boone. This rich territory added to that already possessed by the Virginian would give to that road a region as rich, if not richer, in minerals, timber and oils than that possessed by the Norfolk and Western from Pocahontas through the counties of Mercer, McDowell and Mingo: Still other rumors indicate the intention of the road to be simply to cross the Kanawha at Deepwater, and absorbing the Kanawha and Michigan, pass on to Toledo without troubling for more coal or more territory from which to gather freight. This last proposition has for its hawking the bill passed by the last legislature allowing the bridging of the Kanawha river. A perusal, however, of the bill will show that it designates no particular point on the Kanawha where any such bridge shall be erected, and is as applicable to a railroad bridge crossing the Kanawha at St. Albans as it is to a bridge at Deepwater.
It may be said, however, that the proposed route down Coal river through Boone county has more adherents than either of the other routes. Railroad men say that an entry into Cincinnati would be met by serious and strong competition and would give Cincinnati a boom by adding another outlet for her to the Chesapeake to the two she already possesses, without giving material benefit to the Virginian. Whereas the route through Boone, down the Coal river, through Pt. Pleasant, by the Kanawha and Michigan line, gives a direct line between the lakes and the Chesapeake without a change of cars or a break in the road. It connects iron fields of Michigan and Lake Superior with the greatest coal field in West Virginia and puts all the rich freight of the great lakes on the seaboard at Norfolk with the least possible freight charges and handling.
This, say those familiar with such things, is the ultimate route of the Virginian and was or must have been the original intention of Mr. Rogers, when he commenced the construction of the Virginian.
Gordon Hamilton

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