The story of a forgotten America.

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Pickens Branch

The 49-mile Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Pickens Branch connected Weston to Pickens, West Virginia.

The Weston & Buckhannon Railroad was formed in 1883 to connect Weston to Buckhannon, but it was taken over by the West Virginia & Pittsburgh Railroad and converted to standard gauge in 1891-92. 1 It was under the insistence of Senator J.N. Camden, who brought a sawmill to Pickens, to extend the railroad to the community in 1892, at which point it became the Pickens & Hacker Valley Railroad and later became part of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) as the Pickens Branch.

The B&O experimented with a gasoline railcar on the Pickens Branch in May 1927 to reduce financial losses on its passenger options but was ultimately successful. 4

In October 1935, the railroad attempted to discontinue passenger operations over the branch, which was denied by the Public Service Commission (PSC) on June 29, 1936. The PSC did grant the B&O’s request to abandon passenger service between Weston and Pickens in May 1939, and the last passenger train between the two towns was run on October 1. The PSC also granted the B&O’s request to cease passenger service between Buckhannon and Pickens on June 23, 1958, which became effective on November 15. 3

The Pickens Branch was dismantled between Alexander and Pickens in 1992 with the remainder of the 16-mile line to the B&O Cowen Subdivision remaining in service to service an underground coal mine. 3 The successor to the B&O, CSX, leased the branch to the Appalachian & Ohio Railroad on March 25, 2005. 2 3 Today, the line is operated as Beech Mountain Railroad.



  1. Reger, David B., and D. D. Teets, Jr. “Historical and Industrial Development: Transportation.” Barbour and Upshur Counties and Western Portion of Randolph County. Vol. 1. Wheeling: Wheeling News Litho, 1918. 3-4. Print.
  2. “Appalachian & Ohio Railroad Inc. (AO).” West Virginia State Rail Plan. Charleston: West Virginia Department of Transportation, 2013. 12-16. df. Web. 18 May 2014.
  3. Clarke, Alan R. “The Baltimore and Ohio to the Appalachian and Ohio.” The West Virginia and Pittsburgh Railroad. Charleston: Quarrier, 2008. 214. Print.
  4. Clarke, Alan R. “The Baltimore and Ohio to the Appalachian and Ohio.” The West Virginia and Pittsburgh Railroad. Charleston: Quarrier, 2008. 198. Print.

1 Comment

Add Yours →

Nice piece. I trained as an agent/operator for the B&O for 58 days in 1971; most of those days at Buckhannon. After I qualified, I got a relief ‘turn’ at Cowen (WN Tower)
. I worked 2 first tricks, 2 seconds, and a third; during the week. I held this turn for about a year before I was bumped to the extra board. For about a year, I filled vacations at Berryburg, Burnsville, Allingdale, Richwood, Falling Rock, and Charleston. Never did work Tygart Jct., Gilmer, or Gassaway. During this time, the only train I rode was the Richwood Local (#4) from Richwood to Cowen. How I wish now, I would have gotten to ride other trains; especially the “Pickens man”. I suppose I could have ridden several trains; just was too naïve to ask!

Leave your comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Introducing the new 2024 Abandoned Kentucky calendar, a captivating journey through the hidden gems of the Bluegrass State.