A Collection in
Collection Number Ms2009-029
Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversitySpecial Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
© 2009 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.
Processed by: Kira A. Dietz Special Collections Staff
Collection is open to research.
Permission to publish the Norfolk & Western Passenger Station Photograph, Marion, Virginia, must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.
Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Norfolk & Western Passenger Station Photograph, Marion, Virginia, Ms2009-029 - Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
The Norfolk & Western Passenger Station Photograph, Marion, Virginia, was purchased by Special Collections in 2009.
The processing, arrangement, and description of the Norfolk & Western Passenger Station Photograph, Marion, Virginia, commenced in February 2009 and was completed in March 2009.
The Norfolk and Western Railway was organized in 1881 from the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Ohio Railroad. Primarily a line carrying agricultural products at its inception, the Norfolk and Western rapidly became associated with the mineral development of the southwestern part of Virginia and West Virginia. In 1881 it acquired the franchises to four other lines--this expanded company became the basis for Norfolk and Western's New River Division, which ran to the coalfields to the west.
Much of the history of the Norfolk and Western Railway can be written in terms of expansion and consolidation with other lines, a practice that would continue until its eventual merger with Norfolk Southern Corporation. Norfolk and Western's growth in the late 19th century stretched farther into the Mid-West and South. As late as the 1950s and 1960s, the railroad was still a leading freight mover. In 1982, the Norfolk and Western Railway became a subsidiary of Norfolk Southern Corporation and in 1998, it merged with the parent corporation completely.
Norfolk and Western Railway passenger service began as early as 1882, despite the limited financial gain of operating passenger cars. After World War II, the number of riders peaked. Business travel was up and local connections could take passengers to the North, South, and the Mid-West. Passenger use decreased rapidly starting in the late 1950s, though, and by 1971, Norfolk and Western ceased passenger service, due in some part to the rise of Amtrak.
The Marion Passenger Station was central not only to the town, but also to Smyth County. Trains in this region carried passengers, merchandise, and eventually coal, across Virginia and Tennessee as early as the 1850s. The Norfolk and Western Railway Norfolk-Bristol trains passed through Marion from the 1880s until the end of passenger service. The building still stands along US 11/VA 16 in its original location and is used as retail and office space.
The Norfolk and Western Railway Passenger Station Photograph is an aerial view the station from the side adjacent to the tracks. Several people and neighboring buildings are visible. The photograph is imprinted with "S & S Publishers, Marion, VA." No information could be found on the publisher or its history in Marion.
Marion serves as the county seat for Smyth County, VA. Smyth County was formed in early 1832 and Marion was established in May of the same year, though it would not be recognized as a town until 1835 or incorporated until 1849. The town has grown significantly from its origins, when it consisted of 27 acres. At the start of the 21st century, the town was nearly ten times its original size. It continues to be a center for industry, local farming, and tourism.
Norfolk & Western Historical Photo Collection, Ms88-120. The original photographs have been returned to NS Corp Archives in
Atlanta (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org). However, the images from this collection are available on the VT Imagebase Railroad Collection.
Norfolk & Western Railway Company Photograph, [1925?]. Ms2009-019. Finding Aid available on the Virginia Heritage database.