Deepwater Area - Milepost 434
Doug Bess Picture
Doug Bess Picture
Trains leaving the Kanawha River Bridge see this view. DB Tower was just beyond the trees on the left side.
Copyrighted Aubrey Wiley 2012
Harry Bundy Collection
H. Reid Picture A.Wiley Collection
|H. Reid Picture|
|Ed Burnett Picture|
Jeb Burnett Picture
G.H. Brown Collection
|Greg Elam & Kurt Reisweber Collections|
|Greg Elam Picture|
|Herman Ginther Picture, A. Wiley Collection|
In its prime, Brookneal had a station on the south side of the railroad and a freight house stood beside a house track on the opposite side with a passing siding between. The railroad structures were always painted in the early color scheme of orange with white trim. The west end of the surviving freight house is shown behind the flat car loaded with farm tractors.
|Aubrey Wiley Picture|
|H. Reid Picture, A.Wiley Collection|
|A.Wiley six pictures|
|Greg Elam Collection|
|Steve Summers Picture|
|Delbert WHitlow Picture|
|Kurt Reisweber Collection|
The Princeton, WV station, built in 1912, was one of only two, two-story stations constructed on the Virginian. The other was at Victoria, milepost 119.7, and both housed division offices upstairs. This vintage, hand colored post card shows the side often seen by the public as they approached the station to meet a passenger train. N&W demolished the original building in 1979.
The City of Princeton built a replica station in 2006, while developing the adjacent neighborhood into an historical center. The structure, although not painted in authentic Virginian colors, houses an excellent collection of Virginian artifacts with meeting rooms for social functions. The hours vary so calling is suggested. 304.487.5060. It is located on the site of the original station, 99 Mercer Street. The original freight house is next door.
|Tom Marshall Picture|
In the recent picture above, the NS locomotive is passing form the westbound mainline onto the Guyandotte River branch to the left. All three legs of a wye are visible in this picture with the westbound mainline being behind the brick railroad office structure. The track with standing camp cars is the leg connecting the eastbound mainline to the Guyandotte River branch. The two miles long Elmore Yard is in the narrow river valley in the top center
Mullens – Milepost 376.7
Located at the north end of Elmore Yard is Mullens and the site of the famed “Motor Barn” where from 1925 through the N&W merger to the summer of 1962, all electric locomotives were shopped. When diesels started to arrive in the spring of 1954, they were maintained at Mullens Motor Barn as well. In 2011, the structure was demolished. The famed Winding Gulf branch enters the mainline at Gulf Junction, beside the site of the motor barn.
Tom Marshall Picture
In 2011-2012, a replica of the Virginian’s Ellett agent-operator’s shanty at Ellett was built in Mullens to serve as a railroader’s museum. It stands in front of the Mullens Opportunity Center (formerly Mullens Grade School) on Guyandot Road.
VGN caboose 307, class C-10, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1948, is preserved and sits near the Rite Aid Pharmacy at 301 Moran Avenue in the north end of the downtown business district.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Slab Fork – Milepost 387.9
Sponsored by William H. Johnson III
Opening in 1907, Slab Fork was the first coal mine in the Winding Gulf Coal Field. Initially coal was mined from the Beckley seam but later, mine shafts reached the seam of Pocahontas 3 & 4 coal. A trade publication of 1917 reported the company town of Slab Fork hosting over 200 houses for miners and five more for mine officials. Among its amenities were a movie theater, churches, school which operated eight months of the year. The coal company provided land for light farming and teams for preparing it for cultivation.
Ghislain Gerhard Picture
Soaring above the town is Virginian’s massive bridge, 613 feet long and eighty feet high. Slab Fork is very representative of the area’s coal mining communities and is easily reached from Mullens by traveling north on route 54.
Oak Hill Station - Milepost 419.3
The Virginian Oak Hill Station does not resemble other Virginian structures for a very good reason. It was built in 1903 by the White Oak Railway, the railroad facility of owner White Oak Coal Company and the Virginian may not have even been an idea in 1903. Virginian leased the station in 1912 and ultimately purchased it 1922. After the VGN/N&W merger of 1959, N&W continued to use the facility until closure in 1983. It was donated to the City of Oak Hill by Norfolk Southern in 1995.
The station, located at the corner of Virginia and Central avenues in Oak Hill, WV, is owned by the city and used by the White Oak Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. It is painted in Virginian’s standard color scheme of orange with white trim which was used from the inception of the railroad to 1945.
The Deepwater Building, Beckley, WV
Served by means of trackage rights over C&O Ry.
Sponsored by John Zuro
Tom Marshall Picture
Heather Reynolds Picture
The Deepwater Building, standing in historic downtown Beckley, West Virginia at 128 S. Heber Street, was built circa 1904 by the Deepwater Railroad to be the headquarters of the coal sales office of Loop Creek Colliery of Page and Beards Fork, WV. H.H. Rogers was a primary owner of both the Deepwater Railway, which became the Virginian Railway in April 1907, and Loop Creek Colliery so the connection is obvious. In 1910 a devastating fire consumed nearly all of downtown Beckley, save the stone, four story Deepwater Building. In 1912 the Virginian Railway sold the structure to a partnership of two Beckley men, a lawyer and a doctor, who rented out the unused professional space to others, including the American Red Cross and the Citizens Bank of Beckley. In 1919 a fire destroyed some of the interior of the structure. In 1920, the partnership in turn sold the building to the United Mine Workers Union to serve at headquarters of Distract 29. In the building's second century of life, it offers residential apartments.
Page - Kincaid - Milepost 426.8
Sponsored by Doug Bess
This 1906 view shows much of Page under construction. At the top, the station is being built and in the upper left, the branch to a coal mine is being graded. Greg Elam Collection
Page, West Virginia was named for William. N. Page, a civil engineer whose idea it was to buy a logging railroad and extend it south from the Kanawha River to untapped coal deposits. He convinced H.H. Rogers of the validity of his idea and thus, the two men began what would become the Virginian Railway. C.H. Slayton, Jr, in his book “Virginian Railway Early Years,” states that Page was the operating headquarters for the Deepwater Railroad, 1905-1906. Page was also the headquarters of the Loup Creek Colliery Company which built a company store and a library. Page was a medium sized marshalling yard located just 8.2 miles from the very end of the railroad at DB tower. There was a wooden three track engine house with a back shop attached on the compass west side. When Princeton received a new 120 foot long turntable in 1919, the old 100 footer was strengthened and moved to Page. In 1939, it was removed and replaced by a wye on which locomotives would be turned. The old 100 foot turntable saw another life as a highway bridge at Oceana.
In 1967, Doug Bess took this pitcure looking eastbound on the former VGN mainline.
By 1990 all coal mining at Page had ceased and the countryside began to revert back to nature. However, there was still coal to be mined and in 2007 Frazier Mining Company constructed a flood loading facility, using a system of conveyors to bring in coal from two sources; a mountain top strip mine as well as from a deep mine. By flood loading, entire trains of empty hoppers are loaded while passing under the loader at a slow speed.
Dr. Gerry Albers made this picture of a train being flood laded in October 2011.