I left LaVale MD, on Sunday morning after attending the C&OHS Conference in Cumberland. I intended to follow the former B&O West End (now the CSX Mountain Subdivision) to Grafton before heading south on I-79 and US 119 home. Chris Strogen said the Georges Creek Ry. SD35 and SD40 units (both ex-WM and repainted WM) were stored at Dawson MD. Dawson is on the Mountain SD between Cumberland and Keyser. I pulled off US 219, but there was no sign of a siding or any stored engines. Afterward I checked a WM employee timetable, and I see that there is a “Dawson” on the former WM, nee-C&P branch up Georges Creek. Oh well.
Coming back to US 219 and heading back north in my search, I met freight Q317 rolling west at a high speed. I rushed back to 21st Bridge.
1. CSX Q317-30 westbound with 77 cars. CSX 5433-3072. Dawson MD.
2. Q317 stops at the location of B&O Z Tower. The huge yard is mostly gone, but 5433-3072 make their set-off and pick up on a controlled siding. Most of this traffic would be for the nearby paper mill at Luke. CSX 5433-3072. West Keyser WV.
3. CSX 5433-3072. From the rear. West Keyser WV.
4. Q317 doesn’t tarry at West Keyser for long, so I head on west. CSX 5433-3072. View 2. West Keyser WV.
5. This is the former Cumberland & Pennsylvania depot at Piedmont WV. Piedmont was a B&O terminal in the 1800s. ex-C&P depot. Piedmont WV.
6. Q317 will soon encounter the steep and infamous Seventeen-Mile Grade. CSX 5433-3072. Piedmont WV.
7. George’s Creek Railway is inactive, but evidently their ex-PC, nee-PRR ALCo T-6 switches the paper mill. GCK T-6 101. Luke MD.
8. The crew had just gone off duty. I don’t know if this is a George’s Creek crew or paper mill employees. That is the former WM Thomas SD in the foreground. WM had a yard office here and often worked the mill with an ALCo S-6. GCK T-6 101. View 2. Luke MD.
9. Rails To The Big Vein is the title of a soft-cover book by Deane Mellander and published by the Potomac Chapter of the NRHS. It covers the Cumberland & Pennsylvania RR, the Georges Creek & Cumberland RR and the Cumberland & Westernport Electric. WM eventually operated all of Georges Creek and some of the line on the Mount Savage side. Coal mining on George’s Creek goes back to the Civil War. It was also the birthplace of Consolidation Coal.
10. Verso Corporation now operates the former West Virginia Pulp & Paper Co. (Westvaco) mill at Luke. From their website I learned that they produce coated free-sheet papers for commercial and publication printing as well as coated one side papers for label applications. Verso Corp paper mill. Luke MD.
11. Verso Corp paper mill. View 2. Luke MD.
12. CSX base of operations for the Luke mill is West Virginia Central Junction. GP38-2 2771 (an ex-Conrail) is parked in the yard across the Potomac. A lot of wood is now brought in by truck, so I don’t know how much chip business the railroad handles. WM used to handle a lot off the Thomas SD. CSX 2771. WV Central Jct WV.
13. Q317 slugs up Seventeen Mile grade at Swanton MD. From what we will see later, I think Chris that those small covered hoppers are probably gas well frac sand for Fairmont. CSX 5433-3072. Swanton MD.
14. Here’s a B&O artifact that someone moved off the property. Deer Park, as I recall, was famous for bottled water used by the B&O. B&O altitude sign. Deer Park MD.
15. Coming down grade from Altamont Q317 was really rolling through Mountain Lake Park. After working West Keyser he had 64 cars. CSX 5433-3072. Mountain Lake Park MD.
16. MK Tower, even though it was brick, closed before the ‘70s. CSX 5433. Mountain Lake Park MD.
17. I’ve just crossed the border from Hutton MD, and am now at Corinth WV. CSX 5433-3072. Corinth WV.
18. CSX 5433-3072. View 2. Corinth WV.
19. Former B&O depot at Tunnelton WV. CSX depot. Tunnelton WV.
20. Freight depot looking east. CSX depot. Tunnelton WV.
21. The switch and weed-grown track on the right was the West Virginia Northern. Originally it was the main line through the old Kingwood Tunnel down around the curve. CSX depot. View 3. Tunnelton WV.
22. The west portal of old Kingwood Tunnel is now sealed up. B&O Kingwood Tunnel West End WV.
23. “New” Kingwood Tunnel’s west portal at West End. West End, written and published by the late Charles Roberts, is an excellent historical account of this historic B&O line. CSX New Kingwood Tunnel West End WV.
24. New Kingwood Tunnel was opened in 1912 and is 4,250 feet in length. The new alignment was much easier for eastbound loaded coal trains. CSX Kingwood Tunnel West End WV. View 2.
25. That is abandoned West End Tower in the distance. CSX New Kingwood Tunnel West End WV. View 3.
26. “KINGWOOD”. CSX New Kingwood Tunnel West End WV. View 4.
27. CSX 5433. New Kingwood Tunnel West End WV. View 5.
28. CSX 5433-3072. New Kingwood Tunnel West End WV. View 6.
29. Q317 speeds through Newburg on the last lap to Grafton. No more hills to climb. Newburg once had an engine terminal years ago. Perhaps the location of a helper terminal at Hardman brought its demise. CSX 5433-3072. Newburg WV.
All for now.
Sorry Everett, I should have been more specific about being Dawson MD on the Georges Creek Sub. The WM 25 is now at Westernport MD parked in the siding by the Station. The 303, another S6, and a few old WM / ex MA&PA hoppers are at Dawson on the Georges Creek. The WM 39, SD40, and SD35 that were at Ridgley are still in the yard at Cumberland awaiting repairs before being moved to be stored at Westernport.
Yes you are correct, the frac sand cars on Q317 are bound for the CSX Transflo Terminal located in the old Fairmont yard. The boxcars behind the covered hoppers are for the AFR Paper mill at Fairmont, WV or the Weyhauser Mill at Heaters, WV on the A&O. The 2 gray log racks are bound for Allegheny Veneer in Buckhannon WV on the the A&O. The red centerbeam is probably bound for the Truss Joyce Mcmillan mill at Buckhannon WV on the A&O.
Rest of the train with the tanks and mty yellow centerbeams are bound for the Chemical plants on the Ohio River between Benwood and Parkersburg. The Centerbeams are going to the Certainteed Plant at Moundsville to get loaded with Drywall made from flyash waste from the AEP Mitchell Power plant.