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At the foreclosure auction, the AM&O was purchased by E. Clark & Co., a private banking firm in Philadelphia which controlled the Shenandoah Valley Railroad then under construction up the valley from Hagerstown, Maryland.
The AM&O was renamed Norfolk and Western Railway (N&W). Kimball, a civil engineer and partner in the Clark firm, headed the new line and the new Shenandoah Valley Railroad.
Following the Roanoke River, the VGN was built through the City of Roanoke early in the twentieth century. The opening of the coalfields made N&W prosperous and Pocahontas bituminous coal world-famous.
Transported by the N&W and neighboring Virginian Railway (VGN), local coal fueled half the world's navies.
For the junction for the Shenandoah Valley and the Norfolk and Western roads, Kimball and his board of directors selected the small Virginia village called Big Lick, on the Roanoke River.
It is composed of the independent cities of Roanoke and Salem, and Botetourt, Craig, Franklin, and Roanoke counties.
Today it stokes steel mills and power plants all over the globe.
The Norfolk & Western was famous for manufacturing steam locomotives in-house.
Bisected by the Roanoke River, Roanoke is the commercial and cultural hub of much of Southwest Virginia and portions of Southern West Virginia.
The name for the river was that used by the Algonquian speakers who lived 300 miles away where the river emptied into the sea near Roanoke Island.
New steam locomotives were built there until 1953, long after diesel-electric had emerged as the motive power of choice for most North American railroads.