Answers for Abram -- Divisions and Lynchburg

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Thu Jun 29 10:25:45 EDT 2017

Bruce, Abram,
Abram, thanks for the question causing Bruce to do this interesting
research. Very interesting for me being from Radford (Central or Central
Depot) and now living in Lynchburg.
And Bruce, can I share this info with a Lynchburg history Facebook group?
Charlie, of the Longs

On Wed, Jun 28, 2017 at 11:27 PM, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>

> Back on May 25, Abram asked some questions about divisions on the N&W in
> 1893 based on entries in the June edition of the Official Guide. While not
> direct answers to those questions, the archives shed some light on when
> things first changed regarding divisions.
> In a box of subject files in GOB East from 1897 was a folder on
> "Re-divisioning" with a report to the Executive Committee from President
> Kimball. Another file contained the resolutions to be presented to the
> Board of Directors to implement the changes proposed by Kimball.
> The biggest change was the reorganization of the operating structure of
> the Norfolk & Western Railroad. Kimball wrote, "When organized in 1881 the
> 428 miles of railroad belonging to the Company was, for the convenience of
> management, divided at Lynchburg into two divisions of 214 miles, each in
> charge of a Division Superintendent who reported to the General Manager.
> Each of these divisions was sub-divided, the Eastern Division at
> Petersburg, 83 miles from Norfolk, and the Western Division at Radford,
> about midway between Lynchburg and Bristol."
> He pointed out how the railroad was growing, especially in the Western
> Division. He said a good division superintendent needed to make frequent
> trips over the line to be familiar with operations and to meet with
> shippers. Kimball said:
> It is believed that much better results can be accomplished by a
> re-divisioning of the line, and in anticipation of the completion of the
> Clinch Valley Division, about 115 miles in length, during the year 1888, I
> recommend that the line be divided into five divisions as follows:-
> Eastern Division,
>   from Norfolk to Crewe, This including the Lambert's Point & City Point
> Branches, will be a total mileage of 143.41 miles
> Roanoke   "
>   from Crewe to Roanoke, including the Blue Ridge Branch, 136.60 miles
> New River   "
>   from Roanoke to Bluefields, 105.80 miles
> Western   "
> from Radford to Bristol, including the Cripple Creek Extension and
> branches, 154.08 miles
> Clinch Valley   "
> from Bluefields to Norton, including all branches to coal mines 142.27
> miles
> Total   682.16 miles
> The re-divisioning of the line will necessitate the construction at both
> Crewe and Bluefields, of an engine house, turn table, small repair shops,
> store house, office building, houses for employees, yards and sidings for
> the handling and making up of trains, the estimated cost of these
> facilities, at each point, being about $130,000. There should also be
> erected at Bristol an engine house to accommodate 10 engines, estimated to
> cost $15.000.00.
> This change also would shift operations from Pocahontas and Flat Top yards
> to a new yard in Bluefields (not a typo, that is how the location is
> referred to in the report), where trains would be assembled and sent to
> Roanoke.
> Another recommendation was to set the Roanoke Machine Works to building "2
> engines per month and 5 freight cars per day of the class for which at the
> moment there may be the most pressing necessity, the number of cars to be
> increased or decreased or work entirely suspended as the business of the
> Company may justify."
> The report gives details of the expenditures needed to build facilities
> (shops, roundhouses, yards, offices, employee housing, etc.) at the various
> locations.
> The report also confirms an answer to another Abram question about the
> location of the passenger station in Lynchburg. From the report:
> The members of our Board of Directors are fully acquainted with the
> retched facilities now afforded to passenger travel at Lynchburg, which are
> not only inconvenient but extremely dangerous. The only location at
> Lynchburg suitable for the erection of a union station is upon the ground
> now occupied by the present round house and machine shop, which will be
> vacated and can be torn down upon the erection of the new facilities at
> Crewe and Bluefields. It is proposed to erect a passenger station similar
> in its general features to the plan herewith submitted, upon the
> conditions, however, that the City of Lynchburg or the citizens should
> purchase and donate to the Company the Langhorn property as shown on the
> plan, which will cost about $25,000; the cost of improvements to be borne
> by the Norfolk and Western Railroad Company but to be used jointly by our
> Company, the Virginia Midland and the Richmond and Alleghany, the two
> latter companies to pay each one third of the interest on the cost of the
> improvements and the estimated value of the real estate; the operating
> expenses of the station to be borne jointly by the three Companies; the
> control and operation of the station to be governed by the Norfolk and
> Western Railroad Company.
> In the subject files in the archives are construction contracts for the
> new facilities that came about after passage of the resolutions giving
> Kimball the OK to proceed. There aren't plans with the contracts, since
> they are mainly legal documents that cover what is expected from the
> various contractors, but they do offer clues and details about when many
> things along the railroad came to be.
> The report and Executive Committee resolutions (in various formats) can be
> found at
> Bruce in Blacksburg
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