Pocahontas Branch’s Tunnel No. 1

Tunnel No. 1 is located along the defunct Norfolk & Western Railway Pocahontas Branch near Pocahontas, Virginia.

The Norfolk & Western Railway Pocahontas Branch, located near Pocahontas, Virginia, is a defunct 4.5-mile coal-hauling rail line that spans approximately 4½ miles. The branch includes the Pocahontas No. 1 Tunnel (the third tunnel before part of the branch line became the main line), which was constructed in 1883 and measures 201 feet in length. One of the last coal preparation plants on the line closed in 1974. While plans were to utilize the abandoned line for tourist train purposes, it never materialized.

Norfolk and Western Railway Pocahontas Branch Tunnel No. 1


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Interesting short read, I have family from the Montcalm area of West Virginia and am interested in the railroad history of the area. I’ve tried to find more info on the original Coaldale tunnel without much success other than a few pics on the internet.

Anyone notice that there is dual gauge track in that tunnel? That third rail is too far from the righthand rail to be a guardrail for preventing derailments.

There are two inner rails that act as guard rails, and only extend for the length of the tunnel. I was looking for date stamps as they appear to be original, in comparison to the newer and heavier gauge rails for the line itself.

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