Peavine train numbers / Naming Contests

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sat Sep 22 11:10:21 EDT 2018

Sorry for the late reply re the Powhatan Arrow naming contest. Day job and dinner out kept me off-line.

The full story of the contest is in the May, 1946 issue of the arrow. It accompanies an incredibly in-depth article detailing the first run - with many photos of crowds gathered along the way, and of the crew and employees on that run.

I will be forever grateful to Jim Gillum for finding me a copy of that issue. I had tried for years to find one on my own.

Mr. Scott was my great-grandfather. Getting to ride on that run was the highlight of his life, coming 45 years after he first worked for the N&W. Only the foundations of the section house remained in Dry Branch when I grew up there, but some of the foundations for water tank and the pump location (in the river itself) were also still there.

It might interest some people to see a reprint of that article someday. Seeing photos of the crowds at the stops along the route shows what an event it was to a lot of people.

Vince Albert


Message: 1
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2018 18:31:11 -0400
From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
To: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
Subject: Re: Peavine train numbers
Message-ID: <mailman.1772.1537573532.29527.nw-mailing-list at>
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I have been smarting ever since the N&W adopted the name "Powhatan
Arrow" instead of the suggestion that I sent in as a contest entry,
"Woodland Flyer."

Gordon Hamilton

On 9/21/2018 5:21 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:
> Jim is absolutely correct.
> The Pocahontas was named in a contest announced by Passenger Traffic
> Manager W.C. Saunders in a circular issued regarding the new schedule
> on October 7, 1926. It was announced that the suggestion selected by
> the committee from either an employee or non-employee would be offered
> a prize of $25 ($356 in today?s money!). By the end of the contest, 13
> days later, an avalanche of suggestions buried Mr. Saunders? office
> with more than 2,000 letters that carried between 8,000 and 10,000
> suggestions. The suggestions were numbered in the order received,
> filed and at the end turned over to the committee appointed to select
> a name (no mention of who was on the committee).
> It was announced that E.V. Perdew, City Ticket Agent at Petersburg was
> the first to suggest the name as used.
> Just a bit less than 20 years later in March 1946, a similar contest
> was announced to run for three weeks. This time the prize was to be
> $500 ($6,851.79 in today?s money!) This time they received entries
> from all over, places as far away as Tahoma, Washington, Los Angeles,
> California and New York. There were over 140,000 entries, some
> arriving via special delivery on the last day. This time the winner
> was retired section man Leonard Scott of Dry Branch, Virginia with the
> Powhatan Arrow. Ten additional $25 prizes were also awarded (nothing
> to sneeze at, $342.59 in today?s money.
> One of Mr. Scott?s relatives is on the list and I am surprised he has
> not chimed in.
> Ken
>> On Sep 21, 2018, at 2:35 PM, NW Mailing List
>> <nw-mailing-list at <mailto:nw-mailing-list at>> wrote:
>> There were two different contests (one for each train, about 20 years
>> apart). I don't remember who suggested "Pocahontas" but "Powhatan
>> Arrow" was submitted by an adult male, I believe from Dry Fork, VA.
>> Jim Nichols
>> On Friday, September 21, 2018 12:56 PM, NW Mailing List via
>> NW-Mailing-List <nw-mailing-list at
>> <mailto:nw-mailing-list at>> wrote:
>> True story. I recently read the promotion of that contest in several
>> of my dads 1930?s N&W Employee magazines, and reports on the same
>> (and the eventual winners) in contemporaneous Circleville Herald
>> newspaper articles.
>> Does that line up with your mother?s elementary school times?
>> Matt Goodman
>> Columbus, Ohio
>> Sent from my mobile
>> On Sep 21, 2018, at 8:32 AM, NW Mailing List
>> <nw-mailing-list at <mailto:nw-mailing-list at>> wrote:
>> Good morning!
>> Various members of my family worked on the N & W, so I have heard
>> stories all my life about the railroad.? One of the things my mother
>> used to tell me that when she was in elementary school (in Welch,
>> WV),? the railroad held a contest for the kids to help name the new
>> trains.? That's when someone suggested the? Powatan Arrow and
>> Pocohontas names, which the N & W adopted.
>> Now I know that family stories aren't always accurate, but they sure
>> can be interesting,? if nothing else!
>> -Tracy Foutz

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