"The Pride of the Norfolk and Western" -- 1902 Special
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I have been collecting various reports from the Library of Virginia
newspaper database on the visit of the V. P. I. cadets to the
Charleston Exhibition in April of 1902. This is part of a recap of the
trip that discusses the travel from Christiansburg to South Carolina
via a special train. As one report notes,
"The train which carried the party was the finest ever sent out by the
Norfolk and Western. From tender to Pullman, it was composed
throughout of new coaches."
While this article mentions travel on the Atlantic Coast Line, another
article mentions the corps' departure with a march to the Southern
"Soon after the parade the boys began preparations for leaving. They
qulckly broke camp, and, loading their paraphernalia on a car at the
ground, they shouldered their guns, buckled on their knapsacks and put
out for the Southern depot."
The actual train and routing might be interesting to try to track down.
Bruce in Blacksburg
Richmond Dispatch, Volume 1902, Number 15912, 13 April 1902, pg. 12
Blacksburg Cadets in Charleston
A Review of the trip to the Exposition and Some of the Chief Incidents
of That Memorable Journey.
BLACKSBURG, VA., April 12.-(Special.)-The Virginia Polytechnic
Institute cadets are again at home. The trip to Charleston, so long
anticipated, is a thing of the past.
The train bringing back the cadets reached Christiansburg at noon
Thursday. On Wednesday, April 2d, the cadets arrived in Charleston,
after an afternoon and night on the cars.
Just here it may be well to make some mention of the train on which
the Virginians travelled. From tender to Pullman it was brand-new
throughout—not a car had ever been used before. It was the finest
excursion train ever run by the Norfolk and Western. The camp baggage
and equipment for the culinary department were carried in one
baggage-car, and in this also slept the quartermaster, five or six
servants, and one or two officers, who found stretching out on the
blanket rolls preferable to occupying the cramped seats.
Next to the baggage-car was a special party from all the companies;
then A Company, and in the coaches ranging back from the first to the
Pullman, Companies B, C, A, the staff, battery, and band.
Back in the Pullman was a jolly crowd. Dr. McBryde, his daughter, Miss
Susie; Mrs. Robinson, and James Bolton occupied the stateroom; Miss
Childress and Miss Hooper, of Christiansburg, were in the berth next
to the stateroom.
Miss Vawter, of Albemarle; Miss Virginia Patton, of the Virginia
Polytechnic Institute; Miss Lizzie Kerps, of Blacksburg; Mrs. Maher,
of Boston; Mr. and Mrs. Shultz, of the college; Mr. Charles I. Wade,
treasurer of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute; Dr. Frank Henderson,
Dr. Wilson, Mr. W. C. Ellett, Mr. C. W. Black, and a number of
students composed the party.
As a special guest of Dr. McBryde, was Mr. A. Mannoni, the most
entertaining man in the party, and without the invaluable assistance
of whom the trip would have been a failure.
Mr. Mannoni is the Norfolk and Western agent at Christiansburg.
A trip through the train late in the night was worth the trouble
required to make it. The Pullman passengers did not retire until 12,
or later, a party of the gentlemen being constantly engaged in a game
of whist. In the band car could be seen some very original ways of
>From Crewe to Petersburg the train made about sixty miles an hour.
Passing from car to car with the swinging around the sharp curves at
that rate of speed, in pitchy blackness and with the wind howling a
long drawn out wail, was not only unpleasant but dangerous.
AN OBDURATE CONDUCTOR.
At Petersburg the train ran over the tracks of the Atlantic Coast Line
and took on a new conductor. This official evidently labored under
some misunderstanding in regard to the nature of his passengers. He at
once wanted what no man in that party had—tickets. The railroad fare
had been paid in Blacksburg, and the train chartered as a whole. The
conductor simply had to have tickets
whether the men had them or not and raised "particular Cain" for some
time. He finally blundered back into the sleeper and aroused Dr.
McBryde. Dr. McBryde had no tickets and did not understand what the
man wanted, so referred him to Mr. Wade.
KEPT HIM GOING.
Mr. Wade was sleepy and referred him to Mr. Mannoni. The conductor
told his troubles and Mr. Mannoni explained for his edification what
he should have known when he boarded the train. The railroad man had
it in his head, however, that the Virginia Polytechnic Institute
people were trying to "work" him, and could not understand why there
were no tickets. By this time the entire sleeper was awake; the man's
obstinacy had aroused Mr. Mannoni's wrath, and trouble looked
imminent. The conductor wanted to check up the trahi load then and
there, and pretty strong persuasion was finally required to make him
clear out and let the party go to sleep.
The argument waxed warm again next morning, and some very hot talk
passed before Mr. Mannoni finally made the official see that the thing
had been arranged perfectly beforehand, and was entirely "on the
square," as the college men say.
The run from Florence, at which point most of the men were aroused, to
Charleston was made without incident.
. . .
The journey back home was made on the same splendid train that carried
the cadets down—"the Pride of the Norfolk and Western"—and was
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