Posts Tagged ‘Buffalo Creek & Gauley’

Plans for Use of West Virginia Rail Line Unclear

December 11, 2020

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has said the purchase by the West Virginia Rail Authority of an 18-mile short line railroad in that state will become effective on or after Dec. 16.

It is not clear yet if the railroad will remain in place or become a portion of a rail to trail project the state is undertaking.

However, the purchase appears to be part of a larger effort to develop the Elk River Trail State Park.

Between 1996 and 1999 the Elk River Railroad used the line to originate a weekly unit coal train at Avoca, West Virginia, that was interchanged to CSX.

The coal was bound for an American Electric Power plant on the Ohio River. But AEP stopped buying that coal more than a decade ago and the Elk River ceased operations.

Since then the rail line largely had been used to store freight cars. Some freight car repair was done at Gassaway, West Virginia.

The line in question was once part of the Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad, a coal and lumber hauler chartered in 1904 that used steam power until February 1965.

One of those steamers, No. 13, is now in the collection of the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek.

The 2-8-0 built by Alco at its Brooks Locomotive Works in Dunkirk, New York, in January 1920 was acquired by the late Jerry Jacobson in 1993 as a backup locomotive for steam excursion trains on the Ohio Central.

The Elk River park extends for 54 miles from Duck to Clendenin near Charleston.

The West Virginia rail authority has indicated that it will keep the 18-mile rail spur but has not said if it has plans to contract with a rail operator or who will oversee the line.

Date Set to Move BC&G No. 4 to West Virginia

April 29, 2015

May 19 has been set as the date that Buffalo Creek & Gauley No. 4 will move to the Cass Scenic Railroad from the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

The 2-8-0 will be delivered the Cass Scenic Railroad, now operated by the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad, on May 20. Nos 4’s tender arrived in Cass on April 8.

After restoration, No. 4 will appear as it did in operation on the BC&G in the 1960s. No. 4 has been recognized as having been one of the last steam locomotives in regular service in the nation.

Because it was a saturated steam locomotive, it often showed signs of leakage on its front, which earned it the moniker “Old Slobberface.”

The Cass Shops hopes to have the locomotive in operating condition for its 90th birthday in 2016. The Cass Scenic Railroad is owned by the state of West Virginia.

Built by Baldwin in 1926, No. 4 was restored in 1986 by the North Carolina museum, which lettered and numbered it as a replica of Southern Railway 2-8-0 No. 604.

As No. 604, it pulled pulled three-mile excursions before its making its last trips in November 2001.

Steamer Returning to its West Virginia Roots

February 21, 2015

The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad will acquire Buffalo Creek & Gauley 2-8-0 No. 4, a 1926 Baldwin-built steam locomotive with deep West Virginia roots.

The locomotive is now owned by the North Carolina Transportation Museum. The locomotive will move this spring to the D&B shop in Cass, W.Va., at the Cass Scenic Railroad

The D&B will then perform boiler work and other repairs

The railroad hopes to complete the restoration in time for the locomotive’s 90th birthday in 2016.

No. 4 will be given an appearance to approximate what it looked like in the early 1960s when it was one of the last steam locomotives in regular service in the U.S.

A saturated steam locomotive, it often showed signs of leakage on its smokebox front, thus earning it the nickname “Old Slobberface.”

“We are looking forward to returning this historic West Virginia steam locomotive to service not far from where she once operated. We are truly thankful to the North Carolina Transportation Museum Foundation for entrusting us to carry on the legacy of the Buffalo Creek and Gauley No. 4 steam locomotive,” said Durbin & Greenbrier Valley President John Smith.

“We know it’s been the dream of many who have contributed to the preservation of this engine over the years to see it under a full head of steam and on the tracks again. The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad is proud to be a part of making this happen.”

No. 4 was built in Philadelphia by Baldwin Locomotive Works for use in Mexico.

However, it was sold to the Buffalo Creek & Gauley in Clay County, W.Va., where it became one of the most photographed steam locomotives in the East. It last ran in West Virginia in 1965.

The locomotive was sold to the Pennsylvania-based Quakertown & Eastern excursion operation in 1967; the Southwest Virginia Scenic Railroad in Hiltons, Va., in 1972; and the nonprofit support organization for the North Carolina Transportation Museum in 1978.

It was restored in 1986 and lettered and numbered as a replica of Southern Railway 2-8-0 No. 604, which had been based at Spencer.

The locomotive pulled the museum’s own 3-mile train ride for years. It last operated in November 2001 and was partially restored in the 2000s before other priorities at the museum resulted in the restoration being stopped.

No. 4 was the first piece of rolling stock that a group of Southern Railway retirees restored at Spencer in 1986, a move that is regarded as the turning point for the North Carolina museum that is the home to the largest preserved roundhouse in the nation.



When 13 Was a Lucky Number

June 24, 2013


Remember When 13 Was A Lucky Number? Here is Ohio Central 13 sitting at the Sugarcreek, Ohio, station boarding site on a beautiful October 1997 day.

She was originally ex-Buffalo Creek & Gauley No. 13 and was used into the early 1960s making her one of the last steamers in regular service in the United States.

Photograph by Robert Farkas