In October 1986 Don Smith and I took a railfan trip through central West Virginia to shoot the C&O and B&O. Don is an old friend from Ludlow, Ky., and we have taken numerous trips together.
After riding the Burnsville pusher one evening, we checked with the Burnsville operator the next morning to get an idea of what to expect as far as train activity. Disappointingly nothing would run until late in the day because of track work. As part of our plan anyway, we headed south to Cowen, a small yard up in the Gauley coal fields.
Don says from his write-up of our trip, "The first thirty one miles between Burnsville and Little Birch were spectacular. The fall foliage was at its peak. At Little Birch we turned onto a secondary road to Erbacon, where the road again parallels the railroad to Cowen. The road started out paved, but kept getting more narrow with bigger and bigger potholes. It was a relief when the road finally turned to dirt, as at least it was smooth but dusty. (I drove this same road in the mid-2000s and can attest that it has not been improved -- eny) From Erbacon to Cowen the road was paved and in good shape, a welcome relief. The highlight of this part of the trip was seeing an ex-AT&SF CF-7 at Juliana Mining Co. We had to shoot it from a distance, as the tipple area was very busy, and we were reluctant to get on the property.
"At Cowen Yard Everett went in and talked to the operator. Bad news, there wouldn't be any activity until about 2:30 p.m. when a crew would go up the Strouds Creek & Muddelty Railroad (leased to B&O) branch to work mines in the Muddelty and Amanda areas. We busied ourselves with shooting the engine facility, shops, coaling tower and station. There were several engines including the helper set from Burnsville in the terminal. As with Peach Creek the day before, there were several of the SBD GP40s on hand also.
1. "We decided to check out some of the line south of Cowen to kill some time. At Camden-On-Gauley we found Chessie System GP40-2s 4147-4327-4136 sitting on the main with a string of empty hoppers. It was such a good location that we got carried away.
2. "A mile down the line at Allingdale we encountered CS 4090-4230-4298 sitting on the main also. This lash was pointed in the opposite direction from the other lash, but tied to the same string of hoppers. You guessed it, this was the SC&M 2:30 mine run. Again we shot away.
3. Former B&O depot and train order office at Allingdale, W.Va. Oct. 24, 1986. View 1.
4. Former B&O depot and train order office at Allingdale, W.Va. Oct. 24, 1986. View 2.
5. Former B&O depot and train order office at Allingdale, W.Va. Oct. 24, 1986. View 3.
6. Get out of the way Don!
7. Awaiting a crew.
8. Former Strouds Creek & Muddelty trainmaster's office. Used by Chessie System maintenance-of-way. 10-24-86.
9. Looking north (B&O east) at the Richwood Sub. on right; SC&M Sub. on left.
10. Wrote Don, "We decided to check out Cowen once more, then come back to Allingdale to get the "Scram" mine run. At Cowen we got the Burnsville helper power headed north (east on the timetable).
"Back at Allingdale the two crews had arrived and were getting ready to head up the SC&M.
11. "First the Allingdale lash got hold of a B&O wagon top caboose, hooked it onto the hoppers then pulled the train and Camden lash onto the south leg of the wye (main to Richwood), so that 4147 would be the lead unit going up the SC&M. View 1.
12. View 2.
13. View 3.
14. View 4.
15. View 5.
"While they were doing this I had a chance to run to the "convenience store" for another "lunch" of Snickers and cheese crackers. Everett even broke down and ate a couple of crackers!
"As we were leaving Allingdale the overcast sky got even darker. In the six miles from Allingdale to Tioga we got shots in six different locations.
The Winter 1992 issue of Locomotive Quarterly magazine had a good article on entitled "B&O W.Va. Coal Branch Power." Several shots were taken by D. Wallace Johnson of a B&O double-headed Q-3 westbound at Allingdale, engines at Cowen and the SC&M engine house at Tioga in 1955.
16. The "Scram" mine run starting up the SC&M with 140 empties. 10-24-86.
17. Westbound near Allingdale at 15 m.p.h.
18. Near Strouds, W.Va. View 1.
19. Near Strouds, W.Va. View 2.
20. Near Tioga, W.Va. View 1.
21. Near Tioga, W.Va. View 2.
22. Near Tioga, W.Va. View 3.
23. Tioga, W.Va. View 4.
24. Tioga, W.Va. View 5.
25. Tioga, W.Va. View 6.
"Then the road turned away from the track, so we headed to Muddelty"
Everett Young/Don Smith