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SSS Railway
Surry, Sussex and Southampton Railway

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Engine Number 4 bringing a load of logs onto the Mill Yard.

The Surry Lumber Company was granted a charter for the Surry, Sussex and Southampton Railroad on May 26, 1886. The site chosen for their mill was 13 miles South of the James River and 6.5 miles North of a connection with the standard gauge Norfolk and Western Railroad at Wakefield, Virginia. In order to move the logs from the woods to the mill and the finished lumber to market the Company intended to use a 3' narrow gauge railroad. Part of the reason for the choice of the narrow gauge railroad may have been because a 3' tram locomotive was part of the foreclosure on David Steele. In addition, it made sense to use a narrow gauge railroad going into the woods to haul out logs.

The main line ran from Scotland Wharf, located on the South side of the James River, directly South of Jamestown Island. From Scotland Wharf, the railroad had stops at Surry, Moorings, Elberon, Sexton, Dendron, Wakefield, Manry and Dory. These covered a total distance of 28.1 miles. The Company was constantly laying track into a piece of woods to log, and then taking the track back out, and moving on to the next tract. Therefore, it is not known what the length of their track was at any given time. Eventually, track was laid into five Virginia counties (Surry, Sussex, Southampton, Price George and Isle of Wight). Several towns in these counties owe their existence to the Surry Lumber Company and its Railroad.

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Engine Number 2 at Scotland Wharf. Number 2 was the Mail Train which handled the passenger service provided by the Railway on a schedule.

At the end of 1921, the railroad equipment included:

    • 16 Locomotives
    • 70 Boxcars
    • 12 Flatcars
    • 5 Coal cars
    • 4 Coaches
    • 1 Combine
    • 2 Baggage and Express cars
    • 400 Log cars
    • 3 Camp cars (converted boxcars)
    • Pessenger cars to haul men at the logging camps
    • Various flatcars with logging machinery
    • At least 3 cars with 18" cylindrical tanks for storing water for load and skidder boilers

The last train ran on Thursday, July 31, 1930.

Engine Number 16 in Dendron about 1923. Shown are brakesman Dick Cole (left) and engineer Tom Bain.

Engine Number 2 the mail train sitting on the pier at Scotland before leaving for Dendron.

The schedule for the Surry, Sussex & Southampton Railway for the mail train. This schedule was for the common carrier portion of the Railway’s track (28.1 miles). The train started in Dendron at 6:00 AM traveled to Scotland.

Engine Number 26 at the Gray Lumber Company, Waverly, Va. in 1952.

Number 26 at it is today at the New Jersey Transportation Museum near Farmingdale, New Jersey.

Number 6 at Dendron, J. E. Eure holding the oiler.

Number 6 today at the Midwest Central Railroad in Mount Pleasant Iowa.


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