Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad

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Covid-19
Dates of operation  1904–1965
Successor  Elk River Railroad
Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad
Locale  Clay County, West Virginia
Track gauge  4 ft 8 ⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length  18-mile (29 km) mainline

The Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad (BC&G) was a railroad chartered on April 1, 1904 and ran along Buffalo Creek in Clay County, West Virginia. The original Buffalo Creek and Gauley ended service in 1965.

Contents

The BC&G was one of the last all-steam railroads, never operating a diesel locomotive to the day it shut down in 1965. Its primary purpose was to bring coal out of the mountains above Widen to an interchange with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at Dundon.

Route

Beginning at Dundon, the line ran east along Buffalo Creek to a terminus 18 miles (29 km) away at Widen. Along the way, it passed marked locations at Avoca, Sand Fork, the company towns of Cressmont and Swandale, and Eakle. Swandale contained the sawmill for lumber operations of the Elk River Coal and Lumber Company and there was a small dairy at Cressmont. The railroad hits the end of the line once it runs into the Rich Run Coal mine's yard in Widen.

At Avoca, the ERC&L logging line ran about 9 miles (14 km) out in the woods where the logging was done during the final years of operations.

After the BC&G ended operations in 1965 it was reactivated in 1971 by the Majestic Mining Company to serve a mine at Widen. The company used an Alco S-2 for power and the operation concluded in 1985. The line was then again reactivated in the mid-1990s when the Elk River Railroad, Inc. (TERRI) reopened the route to Avoca to serve a mine there. The operation lasted only a few years until 1999 when American Electric Power (AEP) determined the coal to be too poor in quality.

Equipment

Some of the BC&G's equipment, as well as that of its sister railroad the Elk River Coal & Lumber Co. have been preserved, some in operating condition.

BC&G Consolidation #4 was owned by the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, North Carolina. It operated in tourist service until a couple of years ago. It was recently acquired by the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad. Their intention is to restore it to service for a tourist operation between Durban and Cass, W.VA. BC&G Consolidation #13 is owned by Jerry Joe Jacobson and is stored inaccessible to public view at the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugar Creek, Ohio. Consolidation #14 is on static display outside Gaithersburg, Maryland's commuter rail station.

ERC&L Shay #19 is on display in Ohio. Climax #3 is owned by the Roaring Camp and Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad in California, but is not serviceable.

The ERC&L's American log loader and bobber logging caboose are both restored and on display at the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park in Cass, West Virginia.

At one time the Elk River Railroad ran modern diesels from Gassaway, through Dundon and a branch to a coal loading facility at Avoca then from Dundon to Hartland.

Restoration

Currently the Buffalo Creek & Gauley Co-op has been in the process of opening up much of the old main line and have run some speeder excursions from Dundon.

References

Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad Wikipedia


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