Recent History

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sun Feb 17 11:01:50 EST 2008

This is a follow-up my message about the Y and some of the comments made
about Bob Claytor, the steam excursion program, and the BRAC strike. Is
anyone doing anything about the "recent history" of the N&W? I know there
are dedicated folks who are working hard to preserve the records of 100
years ago, but is there anything in place to capture the final years of the
N&W? I understand there was a proposal a couple of years ago to fund a
project to gather oral histories from railroaders about their life and times
at work. As the folks on the Virginian side are finding out, those who put
in a lot of time on the VGN pre-merger (and best know the character of the
company) are dwindling at a fast rate. Even those who marked on just before
the merger are in their retirement years. It won't be too long before a lot
of the N&W men start to fade away, those whose start and seniority are
rooted in the N&W and not NS. The reason I ask is for those who will follow
us, who at the next turn of the century will be asking "Who was the last N&W
superintendent of the Radford Division before it morphed into the Virginia
Division? When did he start the position?" or "Does anyone have the last
Norfolk Terminal engineer roster before the merger?" and other such
questions. How many of those in the company-sponsored book about the BRAC
strike are still around (and still remember details about their strike
service)? Who has all the notes and data there were acquired to be condensed
down into that book?

I know this is a volunteer organization that is doing what it can with what
it has right now (and were life and time permit I would love to be more
involved). I would hope that somewhere in board discussions that someone has
made note of "recent history" and is thinking of ways to preserve it before
it is lost in the mists of time.

Just a Sunday thought ...

Bruce in Blacksburg
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