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VIRGINIAN RAILWAY COMPANY

The Virginian Railway Company was formed in Norfolk, Virginia on March 8, 1907. Combining the Deepwater Railway in West Virginia and the Tidewater Railway in Virginia into a single interstate railroad. Only a few months after Victoria was incorporated. The Virginian Railway was conceived early in the 20th century by two men. One was a civil engineer, coal mining manager, and entrepreneur, William Nelson Page. His partner was an industrialist, named Henry Huttleston Rogers. Together, they built and engineered a railroad that was a "conveyor belt on rails" to transport high quality "smokeless" bituminous coal from southern West Virginia to port on Hampton Roads, near Norfolk, Virginia.

On April 15, 1907, William Nelson Page became the first president of the new Virginian Railway. Work progressed on the VGN throughout 1907 and 1908 using construction techniques not available when the larger railroads had been built about 25 years earlier. By paying for work with Henry Rogers' own personal fortune, the railway was built with no public debt. This feat, a key feature of the successful secrecy in securing the route, was not accomplished without some considerable burden to Rogers, however.

Rogers suffered some financial setbacks in the Financial Panic of 1907 which began in March of that year. Then, months later that same year, he experienced a debilitating stroke. He was largely disabled for five months. Fortunately, Henry Rogers recovered his health, at least partially, and saw to it that construction was continued on the new railroad until it was finally completed early in 1909.

The building of the Virginian Railway was described as a textbook example of natural resources and railroads, and of a smaller company "taking on" big business early in the 20th century. It was a time when railroads were under the common control of a few powerful developers, who took on competitors without antitrust restraints.

Beginning in 1903 Page, West Virginia, named for Colonel William Page. Was the site of a switching yard, roundhouse, and station on the Deepwater Railway and later the Virginian Railway. After the railroad eliminated steam locomotives in 1957, and the area's coal mines were largely depleted. And, the facilities at Page were unneeded. Mullens and Princeton in West Virginia, and Roanoke, Victoria and Sewell's Point in Virginia were other locations where the extensive steam locomotive servicing facilities and roundhouses were also no longer needed after 1957. The pattern was the same across America as the steam locomotive era ended.

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