Tidewater and Western Railroad

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The Farmville and Powhatan Railroad went bankrupt in 1905 and became the Tidewater and Western Railroad. The line survived until 1917 when it was pulled up and sent to France for the World War I effort. The Tidewater and Western Railroad carried freight and passengers along a route from Farmville, Virginia to Bermuda Hundred. The Tidewater and Western Railroad continued to have Western Union Telegraphs run along the rails. These connected to telegraphs on the Atlantic Coast Line along the East Coast of the US and to Europe. [1] [2]

Contents

Tidewater and Western Railroad
Tidewater and Western Engine at Bermuda Hundred.jpg
Tidewater and Western Railroad at Bermuda Hundred
Overview
Headquarters Richmond, Virginia [3]
Locale Chesterfield, Virginia
Dates of operation1905-06-071917-05-07
Successorabandoned
Technical
Track gauge 3 ft (914 mm) [4]
Length1 routes 3 spurs: 96 miles (150 km)

History

Businesses that used the Tidewater and Western

The Village of Beach Station was a stop on the Tidewater and Western Railroad as well as the Farmville and Powhatan. Beach Station (Chesterfield, Virginia).JPG
The Village of Beach Station was a stop on the Tidewater and Western Railroad as well as the Farmville and Powhatan.

Rail Transport from Cumberland County helped Cumberland farmers sell fruits, vegetables and timber to Farmville markets. [5] [6] A magazine notice for renting the Turkey Island Plantation advertised that the farm is near the Tobaccoville station of the Tidewater and Western Railroad which would help the farmer get dairy products to market. [7] From 1884 to 1917, the Farmville and Powhatan Railroad, later named the Tidewater and Western Railroad, was important to Cumberland County residents for markets and transportation and the telegraph. The owners hoped that the line would ship products all the way to Chester, Virginia and docks at Bermuda Hundred to make the railroad profitable. However, the line had trouble competing with the Standard gauge Southern railway. [8]

Coal to Ship over Rails

Farmville Coal and Iron Company
Private
IndustryCoal
Founded(1881 (1881))
Defunct(1880s (1880s)) [9]
HeadquartersFarmville, Virginia
Area served
Farmville

The Farmville Coal and Iron Company built a one and a half mile spur rail line from the Farmville and Powhatan Railroad to the mine. This railroad provided transport from the mine to the docks at Bermuda Hundred in the Tidewater region. On Jan. 24, 1891, an editor of “The Financial Mining Record” suggested that the Farmville Coal & Iron Company did not have enough coal production to justify a fraction of its stock price. The Norfolk and Western Railway, since 1883, had been bringing in coal from a new coal mine, the Pocahontas Coalfield, which could provide coal more cheaply and ship the coal on a larger standard gauge, class one railroad. This decreased to the economic viability of mining coal in the Richmond and Farmville Basins. [10] The Farmville Coal and Iron Company went bankrupt a few years later, possibly before any coal was mined.

Financial Difficulties

The Tidewater and Western Railroad was losing money each year, the lawyers reported. If the railroad increased rates, they would lose customers to the Southern Railway. The State Corporation resisted letting investors close railroads if there was an alternative investor who was willing to run them. Wealthy investors in Cumberland, where much of the tracks lay, were unwilling to purchase all shares at less that the value of all of the property owned by the company because the Tidewater and Western Railroad had not been able to pay a dividend after taxes. [11]

Hopes to Save the Tidewater and Western

In 1917, two attempts at stating industries were made which could have saved the Tidewater and Western Railroad by giving it something to haul.

Clay

Thomas A. Bolling tried brickmaking from clay in the Farmville Basin in 1917. He used a pug mill to make bricks from the clay. He had a plant on High Street. Ries and Somers tested his clay and clay from another pit and found that some of it could even be used for hollow bricks which must be stronger as well as drain tile. [12]

Oil

Also in 1917, the Tidewater Oil and Gas Company drilled an exploratory hole over 1500 feet deep in the Fork Swamp area in the Willis River. Oil was found about 1000 ft down but the company eventually closed 1921. [13]

Bankruptcy of the Tidewater Western Railroad

A Narrow-gauge rail on display at the Richmond Railroad Museum in Richmond, Virginia. Tidewater and Western Rail.jpg
A Narrow-gauge rail on display at the Richmond Railroad Museum in Richmond, Virginia.

The Tidewater and Western, eventually had to be sold. George M. Wilson, who had been treasurer of this railroad and two predecessors operated the railroad until he died in April 1917. The French Government then bought the railroad's portable assets from the receiver for the World War I effort. The rails, ties and cars other than a few engines were driven up the docks at Bermuda Hundred and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean. Some of the engines were sold to be used in the U.S. A piece of the rail was left at the Railroad Museum in Richmond. The rails were never used for replacing bombed rails as had been planned. [1] [15] [16]

Automobile Roads built on Track Bed

Virginia State Route 10 was built from Bermuda Hundred on the north side of the Appomattox River east almost to Chesterfield Court House on or near the old railroad tracks in 1918, after the railroad was sold. Beach road was built from near the Chesterfield Courthouse, to Winterpock on or near the old railbed. There a gas station still operates which was built to serve Winterpock in 1926. Near the old Nash stop, near Nash road, is the old granite Swift Creek Rail Bridge hidden in the woods behind a landfill and housing complex. Coalboro Road is built on or near the spur from Colboro to Epps Falls.

The Tidewater and Western track bed in Cumberland County was replaced with Virginia State Route 13 in 1918, following the sale of the tracks. A road for automobiles. Virginia State Route 45, which was also built on the track bed of the Tidewater & Western Railroad, was built from Cumberland to Farmville in 1928.

Stations

The Tidewater and Western Railroad was a ninety three mile line, plus spurs, after the merger. The rails had a bridge over the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and the Swift Creek Rail Bridge and three other bridges. Two were iron and three were wooden. [3]

Reformed Baptist Church of Richmond in Winterpock since 1825, across from the Summit train stop Winterpock Reformed Baptist Church.jpg
Reformed Baptist Church of Richmond in Winterpock since 1825, across from the Summit train stop

Train Cars

The Tidewater and Western Locomotive had from seven to eight engines. There were nine passenger cars and 2 baggage cars. The train hauled mostly freight and there were 143 freight cars. [15]

Location

The Tidewater and Western extended from Farmville to Mosley, where it crossed the Southern, to Chester, where it crossed the Atlantic Coast Line and the Richmond Trolley, all the way to Bermuda Hundred where goods could be shipped or received by boat to and from New York, Boston or across the Atlantic to Europe. Only the link to Chester was drawn in the first map. The second map, shown in the references section, shows more detail around Chester, including the tracks to Bermuda Hundred.

Railway mail map of Virginia cropped to show the Tidewater and Western Railroad. Railway mail map of Virginia Tidewater and Western.jpg
Railway mail map of Virginia cropped to show the Tidewater and Western Railroad.

Related Research Articles

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Southside (Richmond, Virginia)

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Moseley, Virginia Unincorporated community in Virginia, United States

Moseley is an unincorporated area in Powhatan and Chesterfield counties in the U.S. state of Virginia. The United States Post Office for the community is located at 21431 Hull Street Road, with a ZIP code of 23120. Many upper-middle class communities have been built in the area in previous years such as Foxcreek, Magnolia Green, Summer Lake, Westerleigh and FoxFire. It is bordered to the east by the census-designated place of Woodlake.

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Ballsville, Virginia unincorporated community in Virginia, United States

Ballsville is an unincorporated community in Powhatan County, Virginia. The community is located approximately forty miles due west of Richmond. It is on Virginia State Route 13 between Powhatan, Virginia and Cumberland, Virginia.

Bermuda Hundred, Virginia United States historic place

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Skinquarter is an unincorporated town located off U.S. Route 360 in the western part of Chesterfield County in Virginia. It is located on the headwaters off Goode's Creek and Skinquarter Creek which flow to different places on the Appomattox River.

Tobaccoville, Virginia unincorporated community in Virginia, United States

Tobaccoville is an unincorporated community in Powhatan County, Virginia. Tobaccoville was a stop on the Farmville and Powhatan Railroad from 1884 to 1905 and then on the Tidewater and Western Railroad from 1905 to 1917. A magazine notice for renting the "Indian Camp" farm advertised that the farm was near the Tobaccoville station of the Tidewater and Western Railroad. This would help the tenant farmer get dairy products to market.

Raines Tavern is an unincorporated community in Cumberland County on Virginia State Route 45 just North of Farmville, Virginia, in the U.S. state of Virginia. It was a stop on the Farmville and Powhatan Railroad from 1884 to 1905 and then on the Tidewater and Western Railroad from 1905 to 1917.

Sunny Side is an unincorporated community in Buckingham and Cumberland counties, in the U.S. state of Virginia. Sunny Side was a stop on the Farmville and Powhatan Railroad from 1884 to 1905 and then on the Tidewater and Western Railroad from 1905 to 1917. It is on the new Virginia State Route 13 between Powhatan, Virginia and Cumberland, Virginia from 1918 to today.

Beach Station (Chesterfield, Virginia) United States historic place

Beach Station a national historic district located near Chesterfield, in Chesterfield County, Virginia. The district includes six contributing buildings and one contributing site in the Village of Beach. They were all constructed about 1890 and are two single-family dwellings, a post office, a railway depot, an outbuilding, two railroad shanties, and the ruins of the former general store. Beach Station was accessible from the Farmville and Powhatan Railroad later named the Tidewater and Western Railroad. Leasing arrangements had been made with the Brighthope Railway company which was sold to become the Farmville and Powhatan. The district represents an unusual collection of late-nineteenth-century buildings in their historic surroundings. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

Brighthope Railway

In 1886, Randolph Harrison, of the Virginia department of Agriculture, cited Cumberland Mining Company, stating that the United States had purchased stock in the Brighthope Railway. He continued by citing their assertion that extending the railway into Cumberland would increase the value of farms there because they could sell consumer agricultural products such as fruit, dairy and vegetables to all markets of Virginia. The Brighthope Railway was founded in 1877 by the creditors of the Clover Hill Railroad who bought that railroad when the Clover Hill Railroad went bankrupt. The Brighthope Railway continued in the role of the Clover Hill Railroad, hauling coal from the Clover Hill Pits at Winterpock, Virginia. In addition to coal, the Bright Hope Railway transported timber and agricultural products and had passenger service. The Bright Hope Railway was narrowed from standard gauge to narrow gauge and rerouted in 1881. In 1886, much of the southern rails we changed to standard gauge. The Brighthope Railway was not changed back.

Clover Hill Railroad

The Clover Hill Railroad was a railroad company that operated for 36 years in central Virginia near Richmond. The railroad was created to carry coal most efficiently from the Clover Hill Pits in Winterpock, Virginia, to further transportation points in Chester, Virginia, where it could sold for a better price than on the Appomattox River in the Piedmont region. This made the railroad important to the Confederacy in the Civil War to ensure a supply of coal for munitions and iron working. The mines were dangerous for the miners, and many accidents occurred. The railroad had to be sold when coal mining declined so that new owners could find other uses for the railroad.

Farmville and Powhatan Railroad

In 1886, Randolph Harrison, of the Virginia department of Agriculture, cited Cumberland Mining Company, stating that businessmen would soon open a hotel at Lithia Springs, Farmville, VA for people seeking the healing waters. The Brighthope railway would be extended to bring them there. But instead, the Farmville and Powhatan Railroad Company built the narrow gauge rails through Cumberland County and the Farmville and Powhatan Railroad Company bought the Brighthope Railway, so the Farmville and Powhatan Railroad made the connection. In 1890, Beach Station was built with a railroad depot, some railroad shanties, a general store and an owner's house, the George Perdue House as a stop on the line.

Clover Hill Pits

The Clover Hill Pits are a number of coal shafts and mines that operated in the Southside area of Richmond, Virginia from 1837 until around 1883.

Swift Creek Rail Bridge building in Virginia, United States

The Swift Creek Rail Bridge was a granite and iron truss bridge over Swift Creek in Virginia. The Tidewater and Western Railroad included a bridge over Swift Creek that had been built by an earlier railroad company, the Clover Hill Railroad. The bridge was used during the whole time the four railroad companies operated rails over the bridge. The metal on the bridge was sold as part of foreclosure of the final company in 1917.

References

Richmond-Petersburg Map from Virginia Power Passenger & Power Co.jpg
The Tidewater and Western from southern Central Virginia on a Map by Virginia Power Passenger & Power Co that shows the Tidewater and Western tracks going west (up) across Chester to Bermuda Hundred.
  1. 1 2 George Woodman Hilton (1990). American Narrow Gauge Railroads. Stanford University Press. pp. 543–. ISBN   978-0-8047-1731-1.
  2. The Southeastern Reporter. West Publishing Company. 1903. pp. 555–.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Virginia. Office of the Railroad Commissioner (1902). Annual Report of the Railroad Commissioner of the State of Virginia. R.F. Walker, Superintendent Pub. Print. pp. 302–314.
  4. Virginia. State Corporation Commission (1915). Annual Report. p. 747.
  5. Virginia. Dept. of Agriculture and Immigration; George Wellington Koiner (1909). A Handbook of Virginia. E. Waddey Company, printers. pp.  124–125.
  6. Norfolk and Western Railway Company. Agricultural and Industrial Dept (1916). Industrial and Shippers Guide. Union Print. and Manufacturing Company. pp. 22–23.
  7. The Southern Planter. T.W. Ormond. 1911. pp. 993–.
  8. 1 2 Virginia. Dept. of Agriculture; Randolph Harrison (1886). Hand-book of Virginia. Johns & Company, Book and Job Printers. pp.  65–66.
  9. 1 2 Gaskins, Ray A. (2015-12-23). "Monthly Happenings in Farmville and Prince Edward County". The Farmville Herald. Farmville, Virginia. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  10. Ann B. Miller (June 2011). ""Backsights" Essays in Virginia Transportation History Volume One: Reprints of Series One (1972-1985)" (PDF). Virginia DOT. Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  11. "SUITS TO KNOW WHO IS TO PAY FOR DEFICIT". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Richmond, Virginia. 1917-06-04. Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  12. RIES, H. R.; SOMERS, E. (1917). The Clays Of the Piedmont Province,Virginia (VIRGINIA GEOLOGICAL SURVEY) (Report) (Bulletin NO . XIII ed.). Charlottesville, Virginia: UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA. pp. 22–26. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  13. Wilkes and, Gerald P. (August 1882). GEOLOGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES OF THE FARMVILLE TRIASSIC BASIN, VIRGINIA (PDF) (Report) (Vol. 28 Num. 3 ed.). Charlottesville, Virginia: Virginia Division of Mineral Resources. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-03-12. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
  14. 1 2 "Beach Station". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  15. 1 2 Allen, C. F. H. (April 1966). "Tidewater and Western Railroad": 50. JSTOR   43518179.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  16. The Southeastern Reporter. West Publishing Company. 1903. p. 555.
  17. Buettner, Michael (2014-04-02). "Welcome to Winterpock: the original 'boom' town". Chesterfield Observer. Chesterfield, Virginia . Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  18. John B. Watkins (1907). Chesterfield County, Virginia, Its History and Present Condition: Prepared Under the Supervision of John B. Watkins, as Authorized by the Board of Supervisors of the County, August, 1906. Williams Print. Company. pp. 36–37.
  19. Poole Brothers (1898). Poole Bros. Mining Directory and Reference Book of the United States, Canada and Mexico ... Poole Bros. p. 774.
  20. Jeffrey O’Dell (1983). Chesterfield Development (Report). Chesterfield County, Virginia.