The Norfolk & Western in West Virginia ~ 1881 - 1959
The Norfolk & Western in West Virginia ~ 1881 - 1959, is a hard-cover, 9 X 12 book using 496 black/white pages, 120 maps, 300 pictures and sketches, 100 N&W drawings and plans, and 75 charts and tables to tell the story of the 201 miles of main line railroad operating from near Glen Lyn, Virginia to Kenova, West Virginia, and the approximate 150 smaller branch lines and spurs off of that main line. (Note: The Bluestone, North Fork, Tug Fork, Dry Fork, and Buchanan Branches are not covered in this book, but Potts Valley Branch is.)
The book actually starts in 1872 with the New River Railroad, Mining and Manufacturing Company and its plans to reach the Flat-Top Coalfield and goes to 1959, just prior to the N&W-Virginian merger.
The book uses period correspondence, construction records, track charts, ICC Valuation records, newspaper articles and the Norfolk and Western Magazine to tell the who, why, what, when, where and how of the construction of the railroad from Glen Lyn to Kenova by both the Big Sandy and Twelve Pole routes. It also tells about the reconstruction of the railroad from a curvy, low-speed mountain railroad into a double tracked, high speed, low curvature main line. It discusses decisions made and not made and the reasons for the decisions. It discusses the building of the Bluefield, Eckman, Vivian, Williamson and Kenova Yards. It also discusses how the N&W became one of the biggest coal land owners in West Virginia.
The first six chapters discuss the building and the re-building of the main line. Chapter 7 discusses the Potts Valley Branch. Chapters 8 through 11 discuss how the railroad conquered the last frontier of southern West Virginia as it opened Mercer County, McDowell County, Mingo County and Wayne County to industrial development. Appendix 1 discusses the fight over the Guyandot River Valley in Wyoming County between the N&W, Virginian and C&O that started in 1902 and wasn’t settled until 1928.
The book includes charts on mile post locations, surveys, bridge types and locations and constructions costs. It also includes an 11-page index that lists the branch lines and spurs, the contractors who graded the railroad, built the masonry, dug the tunnels and built the bridges and buildings for the N&W. It also includes the coal companies found in the Pocahontas, Tug River, Thacker and Kenova Coalfields that were served by the N&W.