Thursday, July 22nd, 1965

Thursday, July 22nd, 1965
Virginia Western
Image by Jon Person
… the voice is very old. It struggles at times, but limited only by the body… the mind behind it is strong and vivid, anchored in the satisfaction of a long, meaningful life. You recognize the voice as your own. Another time, another you?

This is a railroad that runs through a beautiful and ageless land, a railroad that carries no passengers, no mail, and very little freight. It is a railroad loved by everyone who knows it, and to a fortunate few it offers an ever-changing spectacle of scenery.

In the early 1890s it was the Abingdon Coal and Iron Company Railroad and that was its beginning. Then, in 1900, it became the Virginia-Carolina Railroad and its tracks ran 16 miles into Damascus. It slowly grew into the mountains, following the booming lumber industry, and in 1918 it became a part of the Norfolk and Western system, and its name was changed to the Abingdon Branch, although people still called it the Virginia Creeper. Seven trains a day wound into the hills. People like myself depended upon the railroad for mail, for news, for goods, for transportation.

But the depression came and lumber industry faltered. Freight business dropped. The automobile became the method of transportation.