John Beach Book on the History of the Black Mountain Railway Published by Tar Heel Press

Black Mountain Railway

Tar Heel Press has published a book on the Black Mountain Railway written by Akron Railroad Club member John E. Beach.

Titled The Black Mountain Railway, the hardcover book is 200 pages and contains 250 black and white, and color photographs along with maps and locomotive rosters. It retails for $55.

Ordering information is available at:

The 25-mile Black Mountain served the forests of western North Carolina between 1910 and 1955.

It was one of three railroads that operated between Pensacola, North Carolina, and a connection with the Clinchfield Railroad at Kona, North Carolina.

Aside from the Black Mountain, the other railroads included the Yancey Railroad and the Toe River Railroad. All three are covered in detail in John’s book.

Although abandoned in 1955, the former Black River became the Yancey and provided service through 1982.

For a short time, an operator sought to provide excursion service before the last rails of the Black Mountain were picked up.

John spent 35 years researching the histories of these railroads and relied on interviews, documents and newspaper articles for his information.

He first encountered the Black River in 1952 when it ran with steam locomotives. By then, operations had been cut back to Burnsville, North Carolina.

John discovered a small operation with a down home country charm and he began collecting and making photographs of the Black Mountain and exploring the right of way. Work on writing the book, though, didn’t begin until 1982.

In about two weeks, John will be traveling to North Carolina to do book signings at a train show in Charlotte and at a model railroad club in Spruce Pine.

ARRC President Craig Sanders served as a reviewer for the manuscript.

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