|THE "BEELINER" SCHOOL TRAIN
I was a child, I lived on Dutch Ridge and missed riding this train by a
couple of years. Later, moving to Charleston I saw the train
gliding along on the NYC Railroad right in front of my house on Smith
Street. It was parked for the longest time there in the mid to
late fifties (I've lost track of time) and then it was gone.
I heard many older people talking about riding this train for
I stumbled onto this great article in the Gazette, I just had to post
it even though I'd prefer better photos. If you have any real
photos of this train, I would love to have them for this page.|
I rode the same rail bed in 2012 that the school children did.
Here are a few photos I took:
photo shows the last stop of the Beeliner near Amelia WV. It
actually went just a little further if no coal cars were in the way,
but this was the official last stop. The sign says "Blakely
Cemetery". Just beyond those signs is the last railroad mile
|Much information on this page courtesy of Curtis M. Morris |
Gas engine New York Central passenger train at 3 mile.
Photo by Ora Workman courtesy of Edith
NYC train as it crossed Blue Creek.
|Photo courtesy of Edith
Photo by Hazel Work courtesy of Edith
BrewerThis is the train I saw everyday as it parked at the end of Broad Street
Photo courtesy of Edith
This is a brick from the property surrounding the old NYC Rail Station on Broad Street
Lee Hill was known by several generations of school children
This great article from 1950 explains the route and the brand new Diesel Engine
I lived right near the tracks in Charleston, and my Uncle own a tavern
on Broad Street (Bernies), we were very well acquainted with many
of the railroaders who lived and worked in this area. One man in
particular was a huge guy that everyone called "Jellybean".
He was a Conductor on the NYC train that ran from Charleston to the
Carbide Sanderson mines about every day. |
John Pierson was his real name, but no one ever called him by that. He
lived a ways up Magazine Hollow., but not sure if he was born and
raised there. I knew Jellybean very well (for a kid) and saw him
almost every day. He died of a heart attack while working on the
New York Central in 1966.
In those days,
every train had a caboose., and there were always 3 or 4 parked right
off Capitol Street waiting to be used. Us kids (me
especially) spent hours playing in them. They had ladders that
you climbed to get to the top where you could sit and
see out . I'll never forget the smell of them: Coal and wood.
Each caboose had a small coal stove and as I recall, a small John
that simply was a hole to the tracks below.
I had begged
Jellybean to take me for a ride in the caboose for a long time. Finally
one day he asked me if I'd like to go all the way to
Sanderson on their next run. (he had already cleared this with my
mom) and of course I was jumping for joy. I was maybe
11 or 12 at the time.
The next morning I met
Jellybean at the caboose, which was within sight of my house, and
after some shuffling around of empty coal cars, off we went.
This would be the greatest adventure of my life so far. A
kid... on a freight train... riding the caboose! Can you imagine
that today? NO!
The thing I remember most about the trip
was that A... I found myself in a completely unrecognizable world
only a few miles from my house, and B.... it was mostly secluded, the
tracks running though wooded areas where all landmarks disappeared.
I was all over that caboose! Up top on both sides looking
out the windows. On the front and back platforms.... everywhere I
could go! It WAS the trip of a lifetime for a kid. The
really strange thing is .... I dont remember Jellybean being in the
caboose with me. He may have ridden the engine, but that would
have been unusual, but possible I suppose because the train wasnt very
Crossing over Blue Creek was when things really became unrecognizable.
I saw the most beautiful scenery! We even went through a
couple of small tunnels .....
and over trestles.....
Finally we arrived at the
Sanderson mines and traded empties for full cars. We then
returned home, and the trip back was just as exciting. I knew
that not too many kids had the opportunity to do what I had just done,
but I didnt know that the tracks I had ridden were the same tracks as
the locally famous Beeliner.
As I look back on that trip, I
know that no kid will ever be able to ride a caboose on a
freight train . To begin with, there ARE no caboose's anymore.
And the laws of the land would never in a million years
allow it. ( it wasnt allowed back then either, but you all
know how it was back then )
I didnt realize how important
this experience was at the time. But now, I know it was a one in
a million opportunity, and I appreciate the memory.... and
especially Jellybean for making it happen.
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