Posts Tagged ‘West Virginia Rail Authority’

W.Va. Tourist RR to Resume Service on ex-C&O Line

February 1, 2023

A West Virginia tourist railroad plans to operate service between Cass and Durbin.

Trains magazine reported on its website that the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad said the Greenbrier Express will operate over 15 miles of a former Chesapeake & Ohio line that had hosted trains of the Cass Scenic Railroad until much of the track was damaged by flooding in 1985.

The line is being reopened following completion of restoration of the Trout Run bridge.

That project was completed by the West Virginia Rail Authority earlier this month in a public-private partnership with the D&GV. Work continues to rebuild the track on each side of the bridge.

The State of West Virginia purchased a portion of the ex-C&O Greenbrier Division in the late 1970s after it was abandoned south of Cass.

In a related development, the D&GV announced it has adopted a pair of Greenbrier Express logos created by artist Tyler Hardin.

Each herald has a silhouette of former Buffalo Creek & Gauley 2-8-0 No. 4, which is being restored for eventual assignment to the the Greenbrier Express. The herald also feature a C&O-like design.

D&GV Buys 5 Geeps From Defunct Short Line

August 16, 2022

A West Virginia short line railroad has acquired five Geeps from a fellow Mountain State short line.

The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad purchased the units from the Elk River Railroad, which is now defunct.

The units include two GP10 rebuilds, two GP9s and a GP8. Two of units are said to need parts and repairs to become operational.

The other three units need more extensive work and may be used as a parts source rather than being restored to operating condition.

The D&GV is part of the West Virginia Central, which operates 132 miles of former Western Maryland Railway.

It moves freight to and from Elkins, and has operated excursion trains from Elkins to Tygart Junction; Elkins to Spruce; and Elkins to the High Falls of Cheat River.

Of those excursions only the High Falls trains are running today. The excursions to Spruce are expected to be revived later.

The GP10 units are of Illinois Central heritage, the two GP9s were built for the Norfolk & Western, and the other two Geeps once worked for the Wabash.

The Elk River was created in 1989 to haul coal from Avoca to an interchange with CSX at Gilmer. That business dried up in 1999.

It shut down shut down operations in March 2022. Since 1999 the Elk River has stored and repaired rolling stock for other railroads.

Eighteen miles of the Elk River right of way is owned by the West Virginia Railroad Authority.

Once part of the Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad, that right of way will be converted to a recreation trail.

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.

WVa Rail Authority to Acquire Short Line

December 5, 2020

The West Virginia State Rail Authority plans to purchase and operate a short line railroad in Clay County.

In a filing with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, the WVRA said it plans to acquire 18 miles of track now owned and operated by the Elk River Railroad.

In its STB filing, WVRA said it expects to earn no more than $5 million annually from the line.

WVRA currently owns and operates the 52.4-mile South Branch Valley Railroad, and owns and oversees the 132-miles West Virginia Central Railroad.

The Elk River acquisition would include the line, connecting spurs, side tracks and any pertinent property.

W.Va. Officials Suggests Local Funding Needed to Preserve Commuter Trains Slated to End in November

September 10, 2019

West Virginia officials have hinted that communities that want to preserve the existing level of MARC commuter rail service to the Mountain State from Washington need to contribute money to that cause.

MARC now operates three roundtrips on weekdays that serve the West Virginia cities of Harpers Ferry, Duffields, and Martinsburg.

On Nov. 4, MARC plans to reduce service to one roundtrip that would leave Martinsburg at 5 a.m. and return at 6:39 p.m.

The other trains now originating and terminating in West Virginia will instead only operate as far west as Brunswick, Maryland.

The Maryland Department of Transportation, which oversees MARC, said it is reducing service to West Virginia because the state appropriated only $1.1 million of the $3.4 million needed to maintain the existing level of service.

In the meantime, elected officials in the affected West Virginia cities have called for MARC to continue operating its current schedule in order to give the cities additional time to find additional funding.

Officials from the West Virginia Rail Authority have questioned the cost of the service relative to the 250 passenger a day from the West Virginia cities that use it.

Yet some among an overflow crowd that turned out last week for a public hearing in Charles Town, West Virginia, challenged those ridership numbers, saying the large turnout for the hearing is evidence that interest in and use of the service is higher than state officials are portraying it to be.

Harpers Ferry and Martinsburg also are stops for Amtrak’s Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited.

West Virginia Eyeing New Passenger Service

December 19, 2014

The West Virginia Rail Authority told the state legislature this week that studies to determine the feasibility of expanded passenger rail service in the state would cost $400,000

“A full-blown feasibility study would be about $400,000,” Director Cindy Butler told the interim Select Committee on Infrastructure.

The study would examine increased service between Charleston and Huntington, and instituting service between Pittsburgh and the West Virginia cities of Fairmont and Morgantown.

Currently, Charleston and Huntington are served by Amtrak’s tri-weekly Chicago-New York Cardinal. Nos. 50 and 51 stop in West Virginia at Huntington, Charleston, Montgomery, Thurmond, Prince, Hinton, Alderson and White Sulphur Springs.

Amtrak’s Chicago-Washington, D.C., Capitol Limited also serves the state with stops at Harpers Ferry and Martingburg.

The proposed study would analyze ridership forecasts, potential revenues and operating costs, and potential funding sources and subsidies.

The West Virginia Rail Plan also calls for expanding MARC commuter rail service in the Eastern Panhandle, and increasing the Amtrak’s Cardinal operation from tri-weekly to daily service.

“That’s a big thing we’d like to see, the Cardinal going to every day,” Butler said.

Cass Scenic May Get New Operator

July 2, 2014

Trains magazine reported on Tuesday that the Cass Scenic Railroad in West Virginia may soon have a new operator.

Railroad officials met with the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources to discuss the leasing of operation and equipment to the West Virginia Rail Authority after the end of the 2014 operating season. The Authority would then seek an operator for the railroad.

The Authority currently has an agreement with the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad to operate other state-owned rail properties.