West Virginia Central & Pittsburg Railway – A Western Maryland Predecessor
By Alan Clarke
The West Virginia Central & Pittsburg (yes, they spelled it without an h) Railway was built through northern West Virginia in the later twenty years of the 19th century. It ran from Cumberland to Elkins, and by the early 1900s to a connection with C&O’s Greenbrier Branch at Durbin, W. Va. – It extended to Belington and Huttonsville, W. Va. and became part of Western Maryland Railway in 1905.
Author Alan Clarke’s extensively and meticulously researched and superbly written text tells the story of this interesting and largely forgotten (except by WM fans) railway that opened the vast timber and coal resources of northern West Virginia that were later exploited extensively by the Western Maryland.
The connection with C&O at Durbin eventually allowed C&O and WM to inaugurate the “Durbin Route” fast freight service of the 1920s-30s between C&O and WM’s connections in Pennsylvania, thus bypassing C&O’s normal fast freight route through Washington.
This book is a well-written history not only of the line itself but of the politics surrounding W. Va. senator Henry Gassaway Davis, who was its founder, and the history of the region through which it traveled. Clarke has left no stone unturned in discovering all the elements of the line’s history and development. He illustrated it with scores of maps, timetables, plats, charts and other illustrative material in addition to hundreds of old photos. The extent of his research is simply astounding.
The final chapter tells something about how this part of the line was operated after it became part of the Western Maryland. Of course, all this later became part of C&O/B&O/WM then Chessie System.
It is interesting that even on the last day of C&O’s operation of the Greenbrier Branch the last train had cars for interchange with WM at Durbin.
This book is excellent history for anyone interested in West Virginia Railroading.
Hardbound, 176 pages, 300+ illustrations, 100-lb glossy paper.
Originally published in 2003 at $32.95 – Special $19.95