Old N&W sketch 1885

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Sep 4 11:45:07 EDT 2019

On Wed, Sep 4, 2019 at 10:47 AM Frank wrote:

> This sketch was recently donated to the Rural Retreat Depot. Does anyone
> know about a book of 'Sketches by a Staff Artist'?

It's not a book, but an illustration from *Frank Leslie's Illustrated
Newspaper*. A number of the images in that publication are credited to "A
sketch by a staff artist." This one appeared in the November 14, 1885,
edition on page 204. The description appeared on page 198. It says:

THE Norfolk and Western Railroad, which traverses a very picturesque
portion of the State  of Virginia, possesses a construction-car of peculiar
architecture, quite quaint enough in appearance to be in keeping with its
constantly changing surroundings. One of our artists furnishes a picture of
this interesting piece of railroad *bric-a-brac*. It has been evolved, by
gradual stages, from an old freight-car. Windows and various furnishings
have been "adapted" from superannuated passenger-coaches. The interior is
fitted up with cots, racks, etc., forming a very cozy traveling house, in
which reside the workmen making repairs along the road. Tools, rails and
implements are banished to a supplementary car behind. On top of the
freight-car domicile, set well to the front, is planted an ancient but
luxurious cushioned chair -- another relic of passenger traffic. Here sits
the director of the workmen, keeping a sharp lookout for breaks or
defective places on the track. His view is unobstructed, as the locomotive
pushes the cars from behind, instead of drawing them. The brakeman is also
stationed in front, below the lookout, and can instantly communicate with
the engineer by means of a cord. The trips of this peculiar
construction-train partake somewhat of the nature of pleasure excursions.
Its apparition pleases the natives and astonishes strangers.

Bruce in Blacksburg
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