Thursday, June 24, 2010
VIRGINIAN and C&O Whistle Posts
Flanking the entrance to the old brick walkway into our Circle Garden are two railroad whistle posts, each special and unique.
In July 2008, close friend Greg Elam brought me a unique gift, an actual whistle post from the Virginian Railway! The concrete post is nine and a half feet long and weights about 350 to 400 pounds. Railroads placed whistle posts to alert approaching engine crews of a road or highway crossing ahead so that they would start sounding the correct warning as their train reached the crossing. Some railroads had metal whistle posts but on the Virginian, they were cast in concrete.
The concrete C&O whistle post was a special gift from good friend Tom Clay in December 2009. It came from the ex Nicholas Fayette & Greenbrier Railroad which was abandoned by CSX in 2000. When the NF&G predecessor lines were built in the early twentieth century, the 143 mile long system became the Sewall Valley Railroad. Through a joint lease of the NF&G, the C&O and New York Central railroads took over ownership and operation in 1920. Putting it simply, the NYC connected on the west end at Swiss and the C&O connected at the end of a southern branch at Meadow Creek. The western sections were run by the NYC and the rest were operated by the C&O. The system served both lumber and coal operations. The whistle post was located near Anjean, about milepost 5.65 on the Big Clear Creek branch (Rupert branch) out of Rainelle, WV. The Meadow River Lumber Company had a company store and a siding near the location of the whistle post, which governed eastbound trains enroute to the end of the branch to Clearco.