Virginian in 1908--Lay last rails
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Bluefield Daily Telegraph
December 27, 1908
LAY LAST RAILS WITHIN 13 DAYS ON VIRGINIAN
Trains Will be Able to Make Trip From Deepwater to Norfolk by January 12th
In sixteen days the Virginian Railway will be finished. According to the present plans and the promises of the contractors the railroad will be ready to carry passengers and freight from Deepwater to Norfolk by the 12th of January. On that day the last rail on the New River bridge will have been laid and trains will be able to make the trip. A big celebration is planned for Norfolk on that day and Roanoke will have a celebration in a smaller way.
Four hundred and forty-two miles of track, some of which is on the best grade obtainable anywhere, will have been laid and first class trains will be run. It has not yet been decided whether through trains will be run but if the necessary arrangements can be made with connecting lines the Virginian railway will have the best equipment for running trains to be found in the south. In addition to having a first class railroad on the 12th the company will have one of the best telephone lines in existence. The line is being finished now between eastern points and it is expected that it will be run into Princeton and connected up by the 12th. Gangs of men are now working as fast as possible from both ends of the road and they have practically promised that the work will be finished by the 12th.
New rolling stock which will more than favorably compare with any on any of the great roads of the country has been ordered and should the company decide to run a through train over its entire 442 miles of track it will have observation, parlor, dining and sleeping coaches which will compare with the best now in use.
The road will not open up with a heavy freight traffic as has been frequently predicted, neither will it have good western connections. Frequent reports have been sent out that the road would purchase the Kanawha & Michigan and that the new line would then have an outlet to the lakes. A prominent official in talking to the Daily Telegraph said he could not say whether that deal would ever go through.
The new road, it will be remembered, started to build a line down the Guyandotte river from Elmore, but the line never was pushed more than one hundred yards, and if the friendly connection can be made at Deepwater it is not likely that the extension or branch down the Guyandotte will be built for several years.
From Mullins up the Guyandotte river the road is rapidly pushing the extension which has been frequently mentioned in the papers and if good weather will hold out several miles of it will be finished in a few month. Boxley & Toles, who have the first two miles expect to be able to finish their work in less than six weeks and other contractors who have got on the ground are making good headway, with the exception of two cases where contractors will be obliged to drive tunnels.
Coal is being taken from a number of the mines along the line but there is not enough to keep up even a small line. Slab Fork, Herberton and Page Collieries are at the present time doing very well but the Wittenburg properties, on which nearly a million or perhaps more, was spent, are not doing as well as was expected. This company operates two shafts and is having a great deal of trouble with slate.
Up the Winding Gulf route the new line expects to develop a greater part of its tonnage and the twenty-four mile line which is being built is only a starter. The Daily Telegraph has advices which say that eleven miles more will be under contract in a short time. These branches together with the Winding Gulf route will, it is expected, open up thousands of tons of coal, some of which will run as high as eleven feet thick, with very little slate. Some of the properties to be opened are the McCreery Brothers, Maben-Hotchkiss, Stone Creek, Tommy's Creek and all the coal on the Winding Gulf proper. There will be extensions of about thirty-five miles within a short time and it is expected that as soon as certain matters which are under consideration are definitely settled other coals will be opened up. The tremendous lumber cuts which are being made along the line will also secure an eastern as well as a western outlet.
[For developments on the promised January 12, 1909, completion date stay tuned for "The rest of the story," as Paul Harvey use to say.]
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