Roanoker David Flickwir Digs Big Holes, Too !

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Mon Jun 12 18:44:17 EDT 2017

Roanoker, and ex-N&W official, David Flickwir apparently also had the
contract to build the 3629-foot Nicholson Tunnel (a.k.a. Factoryville
Tunnel) on the Lackawanna's Pennsylvania Cut Off, 1912-1914.  These
construction images were released yesterday from the Steamtown glass plate
negative archive, and were exposed on Nov. 29, 1914.  The images were made
by Watson B. Bunnell, a professional photographer in Scranton.  This tunnel
is located on the old Lackawanna main line which the NS bought two years
ago from the Canadian Pacific, extending from Sunbury, Pa. through
Scranton,  to  Binghamton, NY, about 140 miles.  "The Pennsylvania Cut Off"
was a 40 mile line relocation to reduce grade and curvature against heavy
westbound coal trains leaving the Wyoming Valley Anthracite coal fields
around Scranton.

Mr. Flickwir (1852-1935) arrived in Roanoke as Construction Engineer on the
Shenandoah Valley RR.  Within a few years, he was General Superintendent of
the N&W's Eastern General Division (i.e. everything east of Bluefield.)

Attached is Mr.  Flickwir's bio as printed in the 1893 Biographical
Directory of Railway Officials of America.  I find it interesting that he
was Asst. Engineer of Construction for the Centennial Exposition of 1876,
the nation's 100th birthday party, given in Philadelphia.  The Centennial
Exposition was the largest civic event in America up to that time, the 6th
World's Fair (and the first one held in America)  in which 37 nations
participated and 10 million people attended.  It involved a staggering
amount of construction, major revamping of railroads in the area, and it
was the event which brought about the "blocking of trains" as an operating
practice in American railroading (due to the massive volumes of passenger
traffic handled.)  It was also the event at which some of the first
interlocking equipment was exhibited and actually used in the control of
train movement.  Two of the buildings from the Centennial still stand
(albeit relocated) and are still used as railroad stations.

-- abram burnett

                  Sent to You from my Telegraph Key
Successor to the MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH LINE of 1844

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