Coal & Coke Railway

The Coal & Coke Railway (C&C) is a former railroad between Charleston and Elkins, West Virginia. It began as the Charleston, Clendenin & Sutton Railroad in 1891, reorganized as the Coal & Coke Railway in 1906, and leased by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) in 1917 before being merged fully in 1934, with the Charleston to Elkins route being designated the Charleston Division. The erasure of large scale timbering, the slow decline of the coal industry in the central part of the state, and the closure of a refinery in Falling Rock led the B&O to discontinue service along the Charleston Division at different times since 1941. The railroad began sharing trackage rights with the Western Maryland closer to Elkins in the 1940s, and abandoned its mainline between Adrian and Midvale. It then closed down its former mainline between Midvale and Roaring Creek Junction in 1972 following the closure of several mines. The B&O then tried to abandon much of its line south of Gassaway although portions were reprieved by Conrail and the Elk River Railroad. Ultimately, the closure of a mine along the revived Buffalo Creek Railroad led much of the remaining track south of Burnsville to be used just for car storage and repairs at Gassaway until that ceased in 2022. Today, much of the former Coal & Coke Railway between Gassaway and Charleston is being redeveloped into a linear state park open for recreational use.


In 1878, plans were initiated to establish a railway track adjacent to the Elk River located in the central region of West Virginia. 10 The Potomac & Ohio Railroad (P&O) was granted a charter with the purpose of constructing a double-track pathway from the Potomac River to the Kanawha River’s estuary with the Ohio River in Point Pleasant. This venture was projected to incur a total expense of $27 million, involving the construction of 15,000 feet of tunnels and a bridge across the Ohio River. The P&O estimated that the railway would transport an annual cargo of seven million tons of freight and coal, and yield a profit of $357,000.

The inaugural excavation for the P&O was conducted towards the end of 1878. 10 Counties situated along the proposed path displayed enthusiasm to subscribe to the project, and raised $375,000 to support this ambitious undertaking. Subsequently, Major Albert H. Campbell conducted a survey of the path, and certain earthworks were accomplished along the Elk River, prior to financial constraints that caused the P&O to collapse.

In the year 1881, two distinct surveys were conducted along the Elk River. 10 One of the surveys pertained to the Baltimore, Cincinnati & Western Railroad’s proposed route, which would commence from the Ohio and Kanawha rivers, leading to Charleston. From there, the railway line would run northwards along the Elk River before turning east towards Moorefield. The line would then veer towards the northeast, reaching Winchester and Leesburg, Virginia, before finally heading eastwards to Baltimore, Maryland. The projected length of the route spanned approximately 601 miles, with a preliminary cost estimate of $25 million.

The second survey conducted along the Elk River in 1881 pertained to the Doane Railroad, which would follow a path north of Charleston along the river. 10

In February of 1884, the Elk Railroad was granted a charter with the purpose of establishing a narrow-gauge route from Charleston to Sutton along the Elk River. 10 The Elk Railroad requested Kanawha, Clay, and Braxton counties to invest $150,000, $18,000, and $75,000, respectively, to support the endeavor. Johnson Camden, the owner of a narrow-gauge line extending from Clarksburg to Weston, showed enthusiasm towards the proposal and offered to extend his line south from Weston to Sutton upon completion of the Elk Railroad. Subsequently, Camden acquired other narrow gauges and established the West Virginia & Pittsburgh Railroad. However, insufficient support from Charleston resulted in only partial surveying for the Elk Railroad.

Subsequently, in May of the same year, the Chicago, Parkersburg & Norfolk Railway was proposed, which aimed to connect Sutton and Charleston, albeit following the Elk River only near Sutton. 10 The company requested Braxton County to invest $50,000 towards the project. Despite a bond issuance of $12 million, no work was ever carried out. Later that year, the Grafton, Buckhannon & Charleston Railroad was introduced by a group of investors with prior involvement in the Grafton & Greenbriar Railroad. Unfortunately, this venture also failed due to inadequate financing.

Charleston, Clendenin & Sutton Railroad

Concerned about the unsuccessful railroad proposals, the residents of Charleston convened a meeting on May 11, 1891, where they granted a charter for a new railway line known as the Charleston, Clendenin & Sutton Railroad (CC&S) on May 14. 10 19 Henry Gassaway Davis, the president of the West Virginia Central & Pittsburg Railway (WVC&P), was notified about this new proposal. 10 At the time, the WVC&P operated from Cumberland, Maryland, south to Elkins, with ongoing construction of branches to Beverly and Belington. It was reported that the sum of $100,000 could be raised, which was deemed sufficient to construct a line from Charleston to Clendenin. Davis was requested to aid in constructing a link from the WVC&P to Sutton, but he declined due to financial constraints and the fact that the Elk River valley was under the jurisdiction of Camden; Davis and Camden had separated their railroad interests only a year earlier.

The CC&S held an inaugural meeting on June 18, where they elected directors and approved by-laws. 10 Elections took place on August 1, and $100,000 in bonds were authorized. Additionally, $80,000 was raised from local business interests and a $50,000 subscription in Clay County. In September, surveying along the Elk River north of Charleston began, and by October, the initial six miles of the route had been surveyed, while the surveying had been finished to Clay County by December.

In late February 1892, a contract was granted to construct the first 20 miles of the CC&S, and work began in March at Mill Creek. By July, nine miles had been graded, and 2½ miles of track laid. The CC&S reached Clendenin in June 1893, and an additional $100,000 bond was granted in July to complete the project. 10 14 The survey work between Clendenin and Sutton was finished in October 1894, and construction began on October 12, advancing to Queen Shoals by mid-December.

In January 1895, a bond of $3 million was granted to fund the construction of an extra 80 miles of railway. 10 Engineering crews had advanced to Groves Creek, nearly 50 miles north of Clendenin, and arrived at Sutton on February 22, where a contract for building from Birch Run to Buffalo Creek near Clay Court House was granted in April. In July, a new depot was inaugurated in Charleston, and tracks had been laid to Clay Court House by November. On December 14, another contract was awarded to finish the CC&S to Sutton, but construction was halted in July 1896 due to opposition from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) and various landowners. Work did not resume until 1901 when a 12-mile contract was granted to lay track to Ivydale (Big Otter), 10 which was completed in 1902. 14

The CC&S extended for 64 miles between Charleston and Ivydale. The line was obtained by Henry Gassaway Davis in 1906, who reorganized it as the Coal & Coke Railway (C&C).

Coal & Coke Railway

The Coal & Coke Railway (C&C) was established on May 14, 1902, by the former Senator Henry Gassaway Davis. The railway aimed to connect the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad and the Kanawha & Michigan Railway at Charleston to the WVC&P near Elkins. 1 15 Senator Davis had acquired extensive acreage in the Roaring Creek region of Randolph County, as well as surrounding counties, which were rich in coal and virgin timber. The C&C had a capital stock of $5 million. 12

To facilitate the construction of the C&C, Davis sold the WVC&P to George L. Gould, a notable railroad magnate, in January 1902. 12 16 Davis then purchased the RC&C and RC&B. Gould had controlled the Wabash and had desired a railroad into Pittsburgh from an area served by the WVC&P. 15 Gould had also acquired the Western Maryland Railroad (WM), which reached Hagerstown, and proposed an extension to Cumberland. The WVC&P was subsequently merged into the WM. 16 19

Construction on the C&C began on April 17, with work commencing on Tunnel No. 1 (Kingsville Tunnel) by May. 12 Progress had been made by late November at the Tunnel No. 3, Tunnel No. 4 (Shipmans Gap Tunnel), and Tunnel No. 5 (Reeds Tunnel).

In late October, Senator Davis considered purchasing the CC&C. 12 However, due to the railroad’s numerous wooden trestles, uneven track, and lack of ballast, it was in poor condition. Despite these challenges, Davis acquired the line on November 19. 1 7 12

The 2,400-foot Tunnel No. 1 (Kingsville Tunnel) was completed in mid-January 1903, and the construction of Tunnel No. 2 had commenced. 12 In February of the same year, the track was laid from Leiter to Loop, and on July 20, a contract was awarded to build the Tunnel No. 12 (Little Otter Tunnel) between Perkins Fork and Brushy Fork of Little Otter Creek. By January 1904, the tracks had been laid to Tunnel No. 3, and the construction work on the Tunnel No. 5 (Reeds Tunnel) was close to completion, with the work on Tunnel No. 6 (Sago Tunnel) beginning in February. 13 On March 10, bids were opened for a 35-mile construction project between Frenchton and Copen Run.

After encountering difficulties in obtaining the right-of-way, as the Little Kanawha Railroad had already claimed it, Davis procured the railway on August 24. 13 This proved to be a fortuitous move, as the Little Kanawha offered a favorable alignment and reduced grades from Copen Run to Burnsville and Walkersville. Tunnel No. 8 (Jones Tunnel) was completed by August, and trains were permitted to run between Elkins and Sago on September 19. On January 10, 1905, the largest stone bridge on the C&C, comprising two 52-segment arches over French Creek, was completed. The Tunnel No. 12 (Little Otter Tunnel) was finished on August 15, one year behind schedule. By November 17, only five miles of track remained to be laid on the C&C, which was eventually finished on December 1, when the last spike was driven at Walkersville, completing the 175.6 mile C&C between Charleston and Elkins. 7 13 15

When the C&C was completed, it consisted of 12 tunnels and 30 steel bridges from Norton to Gassaway, and notably, it had no wooden trestles or timber bridges. The Coal & Iron Railroad, an extension of the C&C, was earlier completed in 1903, stretching from Elkins to Durbin at the headwaters of the Greenbrier River, where it connected with the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Greenbrier Division. 15

No. 1 (Kingsville)AbandonedAbandoned 1972.
No. 2 (Orr)AbandonedAbandoned 1972.
No. 3 (Sand Run)AbandonedAbandoned 1941.
No. 4 (Goodwin)650 feetAbandonedAbandoned 1941.
No. 5 (Reeds)AbandonedAbandoned 1941.
No. 6 (Sago)313 feetAbandonedAbandoned 1941.
No. 7 (Abbott)Active
No. 8 (North)Active
No. 9 (Jones)Active
No. 10Active
No. 11 (Delta)1,120 feetOut of ServiceBuilt 1906, lined with concrete c. 1916. 20
No. 12 (Little Otter)2,360 feetOut of ServiceLined with concrete c. 1914. 20

The C&C successfully unlocked the vast natural resources in the central region of the state, as anticipated. The company’s efforts included the acquisition and operation of the Davis Colliery Company acreage, which encompassed approximately 20,000 acres in the Roaring Creek area, and included five physical facilities that yielded a daily production of 3,500 tons of coal and 700 tons of coke. 1 7 One notable milestone occurred in Clay County when Joseph G. Bradley, heir to 102,000 acres of virgin timber, established the Elk River Coal & Lumber Company in 1903. 15 Bradley inherited the land from his father, Simon Cameron, a Pennsylvania politician who served as Secretary of War under Abraham Lincoln. In 1904, Bradley incorporated the Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad (BC&G), which was intended to span 104 miles from Dundon on the C&C east to Huttonsville in Randolph County, although only 18½ miles were completed to his company town of Widen.

On November 23, 1912, Mr. Davis resigned from his position as the C&C 17 at the ripe age of 89 years. 17 His passing occurred in 1916, marking the end of his tenure. 15 At the time of Mr. Davis’ demise, the C&C was extensive, covering a distance of 175.6 miles, with a 16-mile stretch from Belington to Norton, Mabie, and Coalton and an additional 6½ mile branch between Gassaway and Sutton. 1 Furthermore, it boasted of connections with the B&O at Belington, the WM at Roaring Creek Junction and Elkins, and the Kanawha & Michigan at Charleston, in addition to having switching arrangements with the Chesapeake & Ohio in Charleston. In 1917, the B&O leased the C&C, which subsequently operated as the Coal & Coke Branch of the B&O. It provided the B&O with a direct link to Charleston, 188.5 miles from its mainline in Grafton. 19

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad

On May 12, 1918, the C&C underwent a significant development with the opening of the Hampton cutoff, a new railway route that connected the C&C east of Adrian along French Creek with the B&O Pickens Branch near Hampton on the Buckhannon River, featuring a 313-foot tunnel. 18 However, a proposal to eliminate the alignment along Oil Creek east of Orlando and West Fork River from Jacksonville to Arnold in 1922, with a less steep new route from Burnsville to Orlando and then northeast to Arnold, was ultimately shelved.

In subsequent years, the right fork of the Turner Branch was abandoned in 1929, with the entirety of the branch being dismantled on April 7, 1931, following the depletion of available coal resources. 18 Moreover, in December 1930, the B&O obtained permission to use the Flatwoods to Sutton branch, incentivizing businesses and industries to locate along the mainline.

The C&C eventually proposed selling the railroad to the B&O on October 7, with the finalization of the sale taking place on January 5, 1934. 18

On August 14, 1940, permission was granted to the B&O and the WM to share trackage rights between Elkins and Belington. 18 Consequently, the B&O was abandoned between the RC&B at Leiter near Roaring Creek Junction and Belington, while the WM was abandoned between Roaring Creek Junction and Elkins. Additionally, in 1941, the B&O was abandoned between Adrian and Midvale, with the remaining portion between Midvale and Roaring Creek Junction becoming the B&O Midvale Branch. Following this, in May 1946, a major track realignment project was initiated due to the Tygart Valley River flood diversion project, requiring the construction of a levee and diversion channel west of Elkins. As a result, a new alignment was opened in 1948.

During the 1940s and 1950s, the coal mining industry experienced considerable labor unrest leading to sharp reductions in coal transportation, resulting in significant losses for the railroad.

In 1957, the B&O constructed the Heathcliff branch along the Little Kanawha River from Gilmer west to Glenville. A construction contract was announced on January 10, 1957, to build 1½ miles of track serving a mine at Trubada, where coal was transported by truck to a tipple west of Sand Fork. 18 Following the discovery of a thick seam of coal, the B&O extended the line west towards the tipple, with the first movement over the line taking place on July 23, 1959. Coal production along the branch increased to 937,092 tons by 1964, subsequently declining to 596,423 tons by 1966. The mine closed on July 31, 1967, and the Heathcliff branch was abandoned on December 16, 1971.

The entirely of the 12.1-mile B&O Midvale Branch from Midvale to Roaring Creek Junction was abandoned in 1972. 25

During the mid-1970s, the route between Charleston and Gassaway was serviced by three trains per week. 11 However, due to a reduction in traffic, the B&O requested permission to abandon 28¾ miles from Reamer to Hartland. 18 This request was granted on April 1, 1979. Additionally, the B&O made another request in 1985 to abandon 5 miles of the mainline from Hartland to Dundon.

Subsequently, CSXT, which had succeeded the B&O in 1987, filed for the abandonment of 61 miles of track belonging to the C&C line from Gilmer south to Hartland. 18 This abandonment was partly caused by the closure of Elk Refinery in Falling Rock in 1983, which led to a significant reduction in traffic along the line. In a bid to prevent the former mainline from deteriorating, Conrail acquired the line from Charleston to Hartland to serve a mine at Falling Rock in 1985. This acquisition was intended to ensure continued access to the Union Carbide mines situated along Blue Creek which ultimately closed in 1990. 11

Elk River Railroad

The segment between Gilmer and Hartland experienced a favorable turn of events with the announcement of its sale to the Elk River Railroad (ER), an entity owned by greeting card magnate Bill Bright. 18 19 The ER was also the owner of the mothballed BC&G that extended from the C&C at Dundon to Widen. Bright had hoped that coal from Pittston Coal’s mine at nearby Vandalia would be loaded at Avoca, providing a good source of revenue to sustain both the BC&G and the connecting ER. 19 The ER aspired to commence operations on the Gilmer to Hartland line and the Buffalo Creek Railroad (BCG, former BC&G) in October 1991. The ER spent a considerable amount of money to upgrade 56 miles of the ER and three miles of the former BCG to FRA Class II standards with new ballast and welded rail to allow empty trains to be able to reach 14 MPH and loaded trains to 10 MPH. 19 It was not until May 9, 1996 that the first revenue operated from the BCG at Avoca where over 90 cars of coal were transferred via the ER to CSXT at Gassaway. Weekly unit coal trains delivered coal to an American Electric Power Plant. 22

In addition to this acquisition, the ER sought to obtain 29.8 miles of additional trackage of former B&O from Hartland to Falling Rock where it would connect to Conrail’s trackage. 18 19 The incorporation of this line into the ER’s network would establish a direct route from CSXT’s line at Burnsville Junction, through Gilmer, Gassaway, Dundon, Hartland, Falling Rock, and Blue Creek, terminating in Charleston. In 1997, Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) acquired from Conrail the former Charleston to Falling Rock segment.

The ER initiated the restoration of the former C&C mainline from Hartland to Reamer on September 15, 1996. 18 Unfortunately, ER’s regular operations ceased after American Electric Power’s stop buying coal from Pittston Coal’s mine in September 1999. 18 19 22 Subsequently, on November 15, 2001, a contract was signed with Appalachian Railcar Service, and the line from Gassaway to Dundon was utilized for car storage. Gassaway Yard was used for railcar repair and car storage.

In 2005, CSXT leased its section of line from Gilmer to Burnsville to Watco, which in turn yielded its operations to the Appalachian & Ohio Railroad (A&O) in 2006. 20 In 2010, the Charleston, Blue Creek & Sanderson Railroad was proposed to service a coal mine that had been proposed along the former K&WV on Blue Creek which would be reactivated. 24

Elk River Trail

On May 5, 2019, the state of West Virginia obtained ownership of a 62-mile section of disused track spanning from Clendenin to Frametown from the ER. 20 This acquisition aimed to develop a new linear state park called the Elk River Trail, which would offer a versatile multi-modal pathway for various recreational activities, including hiking, cycling, horseback riding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Initially, the first phase of the trail’s development was intended to connect Clendenin to Duck, situated at the boundary of Clay and Braxton Counties. As of August 2021, 37 miles of the trail had opened, extending from Frametown to the central area of Clay County, with further extensions planned for opening to Clendenin by the fall. 22

Subsequently, the ER ceased operations in the winter of 2022, with the final batch of stored cars being transported from the Gassaway Yard in March, and the last train operating between Gassaway and Gilmer on April 22. 20 During this period, the Elk River Trail was extended from Frametown to Gassaway, completing a 73-mile stretch of the trail. 23 It is expected that the trail will be extended from Gassaway to Gilmer in the near future. With no customers on the A&O line from Gilmer to Burnsville, the line is occasionally used for the storage of rail cars.

Branches and Spurs

There were sevreal branches that extended away from the mainline of the C&C.

Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad

The Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad (BC&G) is an 18.2-mile short line that connected with the C&C at Dundon. It had been chartered as a division of the Elk River Coal & Lumber Company in 1904. 19 It had been envisioned to stretch 104 miles from the C&C at Dundon to Huttonsville; however, only 18.6 miles were ever completed to Widen, where the BC&G served a coal mine in Rich and lumber from a mill at Swandale. The BC&G also interchanged with a logging railroad along the Lilly Fork that fed the mill at Swandale with logs. The logging line was notable for its fords of Lilly Fork in lieu of bridges. The BC&G declined in importance when the Rich mine closed, and in 1965, the mill in Swandale switched to trucks, which continued to deliver to the B&O at Dundon. Rail service continued intermittently until 1985 when the line was mothballed.

The BC&G was later acquired by Bill Bright, who had also started up the ER, and was reborn as the Buffalo Creek Railroad (BCG). 19 It was hoped that coal from Pittston Coal’s mine at nearby Vandalia would be loaded at Avoca along the BCG. The railroad had considered rebuilding 6.6 miles of the Lilly Fork logging railroad to serve the Vandalia mine more directly. Nevertheless, the first run on the BCG commenced in May 1996 19 with a weekly unit coal train to an American Electric Power plant. 22 When American Electric Power stopped buying the coal in September 1999, the ER and BCG were effectively abandoned for 35 miles south of Gassaway.

Efforts to revive the BCG began in 2005 when the Central Appalachian Empowerment Zone of West Virginia formed the Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad Cooperative. 22 The group acquired a small General Electric diesel and two cabooses and negotiated with Bright to purchase the track from Dundon to Widen. After the group’s leader died, the cooperative was dissolved, and the equipment was sold.

The out-of-service BCG was extensively damaged in flooding in 2016. 21 Area residents then formed the Clay County Business Development Authority and began work with the state to buy the BC&G, 22 leading to the acquisition of the BCG by the West Virginia Rail Authority in December 2020. 21 The group restored and re-laid six miles of flood-damaged track and began offering motorized and pedal-powered rail excursions. 22

On July 21, 2021, Governor Jim Justice, House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, and other officials cut a ribbon that signified the official start of work on the Buffalo Creek Recreational Trail, part of the Elk River Trail, which will repair 14 miles of the line along the Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad (BC&G). 21 Federal Emergency Management Agency funding will restore the rail line in case of future need while allowing for it to be used for excursion train rides and rail biking.

Heathcliff Branch

The B&O Heathcliff Branch followed the Little Kanawha River from Gilmer westward towards Glenville. 18 20 A construction contract was announced on January 10, 1957, to build 1½ miles of track where coal was transported by truck to a tipple west of Sand Fork. 18 Following the discovery of a thick seam of coal, the B&O extended the line 7 miles westward towards the tipple at Heathcliff beginning in May 1958, with the first movement over the line taking place on July 23, 1959. The extension was formally dedicated in September 1960. 20 Coal production along the branch increased to 937,092 tons by 1964, subsequently declining to 596,423 tons by 1966. 18 The mine closed on July 31, 1967, and the Heathcliff Branch was abandoned on December 16, 1971.

Middle Creek Railroad

The 4.1-mile Middle Creek Railroad was constructed by the Hartland Colliery Company in 1916-17 to service mines along Middle Creek in at Bickmore, south of the C&C at Hartland. 26 It was acquired by the Middle West Utilities Company in December 1927 and remained active until 1951.

Midvale Branch

The entire 12.1-mile B&O Midvale Branch from Midvale to Roaring Creek Junction was abandoned in 1972. 25 The Midvale Branch was formed in 1941 when the B&O Charleston Division was abandoned between Adrian and Midvale, with the remaining track eastward remaining in use.

Roaring Creek & Belington Railroad

The Roaring Creek & Belington Railroad (RC&B) was granted a charter on November 11, 1893, for the construction of a railway line extending from Belington to the mouth of Roaring Creek, with a capitalization of $10,000. 5 The completed line, which was connected to the B&O’s Belington & Grafton Branch at Belington 2 and the WVC&P at Roaring Creek, 1 was opened for service in 1895. 12 The RC&C purchased the RC&B in July 1904. 1

Subsequently, on January 25, 1905, the C&C acquired the RC&C for a sum of $2 million from the Davis Colliery Company. 13 Notably, on this same date, Henry Gassaway Davis, having divested himself of ownership of the WVC&P in January 1902, procured 19 miles of track owned by the RC&C and the RC&B to facilitate transportation to his coal seams. 8 Finally, in 1919, the RC&B was fully incorporated into the C&C.

On August 14, 1940, permission was granted to the B&O and the WM to share trackage rights between Elkins and Belington. 18 Consequently, the B&O was abandoned between the RC&B at Leiter near Roaring Creek Junction and Belington, while the WM was abandoned between Roaring Creek Junction and Elkins.

Roaring Creek & Charleston Railroad

The Roaring Creek & Charleston Railroad (RC&C) was established on April 14, 1893, with an initial capitalization of $300,000, to construct a railway line that would run from the mouth of Roaring Creek near Coalton in Randolph County to the West Virginia Central & Pittsburg Railroad (WVC&P), with its primary office located in Elkins. 4 The WVC&P was one of three branches that emanated from Elkins. 12 By late 1896, a three-mile extension from Coalton to Flat Bush had been constructed, and a seven-mile extension south to Mabie had been graded. 9 A press dispatch dated 1897 from Piedmont reported that the final work on RC&C’s connection with WVC&P was being completed. 6 9 In addition, on July 8, 1899, The Black Diamond reported that the RC&C was being extended from Belington to Beaver Creek, an eight-mile distance, to access a coal seam that was six feet thick. 3

On July 1, 1904, the Davis Colliery Company, which owned the RC&C at the time, acquired the Roaring Creek & Belington Railroad (RC&B). 13 Subsequently, the RC&C was leased by the Coal & Coke Railway (C&C). On January 6, 1972, the B&O, which eventually became the successor to the RC&C, abandoned a 3.34-mile stretch of the line from Coalton to Mabie, leaving the remainder of the line intact around Roaring Creek Junction for car storage. 18

Sutton Branch

The C&C Sutton Branch comprised a 6.7-mile rail line that connected the Gassway mainline to Sutton, serving as a crucial transportation conduit for the Standard Oil, Gulf Oil Company, and Sutton Chemical Company. 20 In 1931, following the B&O’s acquisition of the West Virginia & Pittsburgh Railroad line between Flatwoods and Sutton, and subsequently, the former WV&P branch leading into Sutton, was abandoned. The Sutton Branch of the C&C continued to be operational until February 14, 1985. 18

Kingsville Tunnel No. 1

Goodwin Tunnel No. 5


Further Reading

  1. B&O Charleston Division Part I–Charleston to Queen Shoals by Dan Robie
  2. B&O Charleston Division Part II–Clay County to Gassaway by Dan Robie
  3. B&O Charleston Division Part III-Gassaway to Burnsville by Dan Robie


  1. Poor, Henry Varnum. “Coal and Coke Railway Company.” Poor’s Intermediate Manual of Railroads. NewYork: Poor’s Manual Company, 1917. 550. Print.
  2. “Coal Fields of Central West Virginia.” The Colliery Engineer. Vol. XXX. Scranton: International Textbook, 1910. 188. Print.
  3. “Southern Coal and Coke Notes.” The Black Diamond. Vol. XXIII. Chicago, 1899. 641. Print.
  4. “Corporations.” Acts of the Legislature of West Virginia. Charleston: Moses W. Donnally, 1895. 17.Print.
  5. “Corporations.” Acts of the Legislature of West Virginia. Charleston: Moses W. Donnally, 1895. 46.Print.
  6. Havard University Graduate School of Business Administration, and Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. Railroad History, Issues 112-115. Vols. 112-115. N.p.: n.p., 1965. 17. Print.
  7. “Steam Railroad Companies of the United States.” Poor’s and Moodys Manual Consolidated. Vol. 16. New York: Moody Manual Company, 1915. 267. Print.
  8. Sullivan, Ken, and West Virginia Humanities Council. West Virginia Encyclopedia. 2006. 148. Print.
  9. “Roaring Creek & Charleston.” The Railway Age and Northwestern 23 (Jan. 1897): 57. Print.
  10. Clarke, Alan. “The Charleston, Clendennin and Sutton Railroad: A Brief History.” West Virginia’s Coal and Coke Railway. Lynchburg: TLC Publishing, 2002. 1-12. Print.
  11. Robie, Dan. “B&O ROW Part I-Charleston to Blue Creek.” West Virginia and North Carolina Rails. N.p.,n.d. Web. 3 Jan. 2012. Article.
  12. Clarke, Alan. “The Coal and Coke Railway: Construction.” West Virginia’s Coal and Coke Railway. Lynchburg: TLC Publishing, 2002. 13-32. Print.
  13. Clarke, Alan. “Construction Continues.” West Virginia’s Coal and Coke Railway. Lynchburg: TLC Publishing, 2002. 33-53. Print.
  14. West Virginia Geological Survey, Charles E. Krebs, and D. D. Teets, Jr. County Reports and Maps: Kanawha County. Vol. 1. Wheeling: Wheeling News Litho, 1914. N. pag. Print.
  15. Lewis, Ronald L. “The Touch of Capital: Railroads, Timber, and Economic Development of the Backcounties.” Transforming the Appalachian Countryside. N.p.: University of North Carolina Press, 1998. 73-75. Print.
  16. Pepper, Charles Melville. “Chapter XII: Business Activities at Fourscore and Beyond.” The Life and Times of Henry Gassaway Davis, 1823-1916. New York: Century, 1920. 185-187. Print.
  17. Pepper, Charles Melville. “Chapter XII: Business Activities at Fourscore and Beyond.” The Life and Times of Henry Gassaway Davis, 1823-1916. New York: Century, 1920. 185-187. Print.
  18. Clarke, Alan. “The B&O Years and Beyond.” West Virginia’s Coal and Coke Railway. Lynchburg: TLC Publishing, 2002. 133-. Print.
  19. Burns, Adam. “Elk River Railroad.” American Rails, 16 Mar. 2023.
  20. Robie, Dan. “B&O Charleston Division Part III-Gassaway to Burnsville.” West Virginia and North Carolina Rails.
  21. Adams, Steven Allen. “Governor, House Speaker on hand for rail trail extension.” The Inter-Mountain, 21 Jul. 2021.
  22. “West Virginia rail agency buys former Buffalo Creek & Gauley.” Trains, 10 Dec. 2020.
  23. Fitzwater, Joe. “Destination WV: Check out the Elk River Trail for new exploring and adventuring!.” WVNS 59, 5 Aug. 2021.
  24. Robie, Dan. “Kanawha and West Virginia Railroad.” West Virginia and North Carolina Rails.
  25. The Midvale Branch.” Abandoned Rails.
  26. Middle Creek Railroad Company.” Interstate Commerce Commission Reports, 3 Jun. 1933, p. 889.


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You need to update the extra reading link. The admin consolidated & condensed his articles down to two parts to make it a better read.

Wondering who now owns the track (or right of way) from Clendenin to Queen Shoals? I believe most or all of the track has been taken up.

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