Images Of Rail Norfolk And Western Railway BY Nelson Harris Soft Cover
Images Of Rail Norfolk And Western Railway BY Nelson Harris Soft Cover
Images Of Rail Norfolk And Western Railway BY Nelson Harris Soft Cover

Images Of Rail Norfolk And Western Railway BY Nelson Harris Soft Cover

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Images Of Rail Norfolk And Western Railway BY Nelson Harris Soft Cover
Images Of Rail Norfolk And Western Railway BY Nelson Harris
Softcover 127 pages

1.In the Beginning
2.Working on the Railroad
3.The Iron Horses
4.Rolling Stock
5.Depots, Stations, and Yards
6.Passenger Service
7.Black Gold
Further Reading and Research

Railroads have rhythm. On the summer nights of my boyhood, I could hear it-the rhythm. With bedroom windows open to catch a breeze, I would lie still and listen to the railroad. My family did not live close to the tracks, but we were close enough. Close enough to hear the train cars being hooked together. The muted, muffled sound of metal meeting metal. Close enough to hear each car shift from stillness to motion as the engine began to pull the consist forward. Close enough to vaguely hear the click-click-click of wheels revolving over rail. What better sounds to escort one to sleep.
The rhythm of the railroad, like that of a symphony, is the creation of many. Blacksmiths, carpenters, clerks, yard masters, conductors, attorneys, upholsterers, commercial agents, steel workers, rail splitters, accountants, and laborers contributed to the score. The rhythm of the Norfolk and Western Railway began in 1881 and continued for a century until its merger with the Southern Railway. Photographs depicting that century are in this volume. Collected from the N&W archives of the Virginia Museum of Transportation, they visually tell the story from the earliest days of railroad through its development into one of the major transportation companies in the United States.
The Norfolk and Western took the railroad rhythm to the coal fields of West Virginia, where depots became towns, and towns became small cities. Through the vision of its presidents and the access of its rails, the Norfolk and Western Railway spurred the efforts to discover and develop the "black gold" veins running below the mountains, creating jobs for thousands of miners.
The Norfolk and Western provided passenger service to major metropolitan areas as well as to rural villages. The passenger coach, dining service, lounge car, and all the other amenities have become part of a romanticized past for many. Packed with travelers, especially during World War II, many of the passenger stations have been converted for other uses, if they are still even standing.
The Norfolk and Western era began in failure. The bankruptcy of the Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio Railroad resulted in an auction at Richmond, Virginia, on February 10, 1881. A little-known and stoic Clarence Clark of Philadelphia staked his family's financial fortune on the purchase of the railroad with a winning bid of $8,505,000. Immediately upon purchase of the AM&O, Clark and his brothers changed the name to the Norfolk and Western Railroad for reasons never fully known. Hauling primarily cotton during its first years, the N&W would develop the vast coal reserves in West Virginia a decade later. And the rest, as they say, is financial history.
If a picture is truly worth a thousand words then this volume of some 200 prints is an enormous text. They can only tell, however, a portion of the story. This work is by no means intended to be a thorough or authoritative resource on the subject. Many others have taken specific aspects of the N&W operations and done them justice through valuable and detailed research. Images of Rail: Norfolk and Western Railway is an effort to broadly capture and visually interpret the century-long biography of one of America's great railroads through the lens of archival photographs.
As the author, the story of the Norfolk and Western Railway is the story of my home community. It grew and prospered with the railroad. The tracks of the N&W snake through its heart. Its architecture, economy, and institutions have been shaped by what a Philadelphia banker purchased that raw Richmond morning in 1881. While the N&W is no more, and the merger with the Southern Railway caused the headquarters and some shop operations to move, much of the N&W is still here. And on a summer night, with a window open, one can become a boy again. You can still hear it-the rhythm.
Nelson Harris
Roanoke, Virginia

For a century, the Norfolk and Western Railway operated as one of the greatest transportation companies in the southeastern United States. From developing the coal fields of West Virginia to accommodating passengers aboard its famous Powhatan Arrow and Pocahontas,lines, the N&W was the last major railroad to abandon the steam engine. The story of the N&W is a story about people-a story of the tens of thousands of people who worked in the shops and aboard the trains, sold the tickets and moved the freight, laid the track and managed corporate affairs. Images of Rail: Norfolk and Western Railway celebrates that heritage through the lens of some 200 archival photographs.
From images of the muscular Class J steam locomotive to the lone agent of the rural depot, these photographs have been harvested from the N&W's files at the Virginia Museum of Transportation. The archival material provides the reader the rare opportunity to rummage through the N&W's attic. See the engine crews at the turn of the last century, the shop gangs, freight agents, roundhouses, stations, and iron horses of a bygone age. With views, of the rugged and, at times, dangerous days of railroading in the late 1800s to the rise of the N&W as a member of America's corporate elite, these pictures convey the railway's storied history.
Author Nelson Harris is a lifelong resident of Roanoke, Virginia, home of the N&W's corporate headquarters. The son of a N&W retiree, he is engaged in numerous historic and civic activities, most notably as a member of the Roanoke City Council. Harris and his wife have three sons.

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