I will continue with Don Smith's narration of following the "Scram" mine run, since his writing is much more colorful and descriptive than mine.
Writes Don, "Since the mine run had work to do (he dropped 100 empties at Cherry River Coal & Coke's Gauley Eagle 4 mine -- ENY), we knew we were ahead of him, so we were able to shoot a tipple on the McMillan Creek Spur near Muddelty.
1. J. B. M. Coal Co. Peerless tipple loaded 154.2 cars (50-ton basis) during October 1986 and had a car distributor rating of 11.0 cars per day. Friday, 10-24-1986
2. "We then backtracked down a dirt road past Hookersville where we saw a long curve across an open field with the mountains in the background. As there was a "no trespassing" sign, Everett decided to ask permission to go through the creek and over into the pasture. Just as Everett was about to knock on the door an attractive women and her son drove up, obviously returning from the grocery. Everett asked her if we could go over into the field to take pictures of a train that was coming. After some hesitation in which she revealed that her husband, who wasn't home, usually made those decisions, she agreed. Just to make sure we didn't have anything else on our minds, she mentioned that her brother lived up the road. After a short wait we got our shots and headed back to Muddelty.
3. We then backtracked down a dirt road past Hookersville where we saw a long curve across an open field with the mountains in the background. View 2.
4. We then backtracked down a dirt road past Hookersville where we saw a long curve across an open field with the mountains in the background. View 3
5. "After the shifter dropped more empties at another tipple, he pulled up to our photo location and stopped.
6. "Then the engineer, Bob Henderson of Grafton, W.Va., got off and came over to us. Bob asked us if we worked for the railroad since I had on a CSX Transportation cap plus a radio and Everett had on a Chessie cap. We were driving around in a dark blue Ford Bronco, and the crew on the helper had become suspicious. We assured Bob that we were just two railfans a long way from home, taking pictures on a dark day. We were then given an invitation to ride along with the crew while they worked Gauley Eagle 5 and Amanda. Thus assured that we weren't company spies, the crew opened up to Everett's questions which made for some frantic note taking.
"When the crew did the switching I took a few shots, but thought it too dark to waste much film on. Everett, on the other hand, took the opportunity more seriously and with good results judging from the "extras" he sent me.
7. Pulling past the Amanda tipple.
8. The remaining empties have been uncoupled; the pusher comes up the main with the caboose. That's US 19 on the right. Location wise, this tipple was on the outskirts of Summersville.
9. Caboose 902824 is coupled to the puller which will be the pusher going back to Allingdale.
10. Caboose 902824 is coupled to the puller which will be the pusher going back to Allingdale. View 2.
11. At the east end of the outlet track the puller backs in to couple to loads.
12. At the east end of the outlet track the puller backs in to couple to loads. View 2
"All too soon it was time to bid farewells. We headed to the Best Western at Summersville and a big steak dinner at a nearby Bonanza."
13. The "Scram" job departs east with three loads. Presumably they will pull other tipples on they way back.
The next day, Saturday, we continued exploring the B&O Gauley coal field and the Richwood Subdivision. We visited Holcomb, Gauley Junction, Fenwick and Richwood. Unfortunately the weather didn't improve, and we encountered nary train. The NF&G, however, provided a mine run at Quinwood and a Sewell Valley shifter to Meadow Creek.
It was an enjoyable four days of seeing and learning.
Several years ago the former B&O and SC&M trackage south of Cowen was pulled up. Seems like a short-sighted decision that dooms a large area for further coal development.
C&OCSX Shelby Monthly Mine Rating
B & O Mine Key Numbers
SC & M Sub-Division
B & O Coal Mines map
I for one want to thank you for bringing these shots out and emailing them. When you were up in the mid 2000s you brought this box up and I remember several shots of this line. I was fortunate enough to catch a couple trains on this line. It truly was in the middle in the nowhere. No signature shots per say on the line but neat operation. I too fortunate enough to ride around when I was little on the helper while we switched out Gauley Eagle. Also caught them a few times around Allingdale. Can remember catching a loaded train between Tioga and Allingdale and the 6 GPs absolutely screaming in dynamic brake with air on them coming down the 3% grade into the yard.
As Ive told people the Chessie and CSX crews use to call Cowen "The End of the World" so as they were concerned the SC&M was way out there! Even later on when they had the SC&M caboose at Allingdale former C&O the logo on the caboose said "Linking Muddelty With the World"
You are correct coal reserves still there. The Atlantic Lease mine that opened in 2009 in the Cowen Yard, their coal was being trucked off areas on the SC&M. They had done studies and it was cheaper to truck the coal the like 40-50 miles off the SC&M to Cowen than it was to rebuild the track up there. Odds are if the track was there theyd been moving coal off that line by rail.
Thanks again for some B&O stuff.