North Fork Hollow Mine Run
NW Mailing List
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Nov 14 18:33:46 EST 2017
Regarding your mines of interest, my info only goes back to post-WWII.
By then, the working tipples I heard about were at Algoma, Gilliam,
Rolfe, Ashland and Crumpler.
The North Fork Hollow mine run was a daylight job out of Eckman Yard.
Dispatched facing upgrade, the regular power was the 2023 with Cicero
Sells as engineer, the senior man at Eckman.
An Elkhorn job out of Bluefield would set off empties the night before
on the storage tracks Elk Ridge (60 cars) and North Fork (55 cars)
adjacent to the branch line near North Fork Junction. The mine run could
bring more empties from Eckman Yard or Byrd Yard in Northfork, as needed.
The job was broken up into three round trips from the junction up the
branch: first to Algoma up the Buzzards Creek Branch, then to Gilliam
and Rolfe, then to Ashland and Crumpler.
Algoma was at the end of the spur with no tail track to pull past, so
empties were pulled off the junction-end of the storage tracks while
backing out onto the main line, then shoved forward up the branch main
track, then up the spur. Loads came back to Byrd Yard.
Gilliam and Rolfe were delivered by trailing point moves from the main
track, so empties were pulled up the branch on this trip. The engine
backed down with loads trailing to Elk Ridge and swapped the loads for
the remaining empties.
Like Algoma, Ashland and Crumpler were stub-end, but the empties were
pulled up the branch to Jones Siding, run around there, then shoved
ahead. Ashland was delivered first, leaving the loads for pick up on the
way back down from Crumpler.
Crumpler, aka Zenith, was steep with five, ten-car delivery tracks that
made it particularly tedious and dangerous. With no radios to stop him,
the rear brakeman rode the drawhead and jerked the angle cock open to
stop. The middle brakeman made the cut while the rear brakeman set
brakes, watching for the next cut to get on and stop them. Tipplemen,
called "droppers", would help set brakes. Every load had brakes on and
if they were set out on the main track, every brake had to be put back on.
Loads were usually blocked at the tipples and both east and west loads
were set out on Elk Ridge and North Fork storage tracks, the main track,
or in the yard upon returning to Eckman.
The North Fork mine run became First Vivian out of Bluefield when Eckman
closed in 1951. "V1" would leave Bluefield with a 2000 in reverse, a cab
on the pilot, and usually ran light. Empties were waiting on the Elk
Ridge and North Fork storage tracks and Byrd Yard as before, but west
loads were set off in Eckman Yard and it returned with east loads. If it
was running close on time (16 hours) or Bluefield was (usually) unable
to take short trains, the east loads were set off at Flat Top Yard and
it ran light on to Bluefield.
Sometimes the daylight job put empties in at Algoma, but the loads would
store there until the night job could pull them. Occasionally, North
Fork/V1 would deliver Dan's Branch, but time-slipped.
Non-coal work included an occasional boxcar to the company store at
Algoma. 84 would set off refrigerator cars of meat on the North Fork
Middle Track about 1am every Monday morning for the North Fork Passenger
Run to spot at the Wilson, Armour and Swift packing plants. After the
passenger run was cut off, V1 would get called early at 4am (usually
8am) to spot the cars.
Please, as always, edits and questions are welcome.
On 10/28/2017 2:55 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:
>> Once again, terrific operational information for Maitland/Superior.
>> Would you have the same type knowledge for any of the mines "up North
>> Fork hollow"? In particular I am most interested in Crumpler,
>> Greenbriar, McDowell and Indian Ridge.
>> Jim Cochran
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