Posts Tagged ‘West Virginia’

Steam Saturday: Runby on the Cass Scenic

November 20, 2021

It’s May 11, 1997, on the Cass Scenic Railroad. Several Akron Railroad Club members have traveled to West Virginia to ride a photo special arranged by Carl Franz. In the image above a runby is being staged at Back Mountain Road.

Photograph by Edward Ribinskas

MARC West Virginia Service Again Threatened

May 3, 2021

Commuter rail service between Washington and West Virginia is again in jeopardy due to funding cuts.

West Virginia lawmakers failed to appropriate funding for MARC commuter service in the state’s 2021-22 budget.

Senate President Craig Blair reportedly removed the funding due to low ridership.

Blair is said to have cited an anecdote in which he said ridership had increased to 12 passengers from five.

However, ridership numbers show the trains carried 60,000 riders in West Virginia in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is not the first time that funding issues have threatened to end the service.

In late 2019 the West Virginia legislature approved just $1.1 million of the $3.4 million sought by MARC.

The service continued only because a consortium of local governments and Gov. Jim Justice provided the remainder of the funding.

Pandemic Hinders Sale of W.Va. Intermodal Terminal

February 23, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has hindered efforts to sell a West Virginia intermodal facility.

State Transportation Secretary Byrd White said at a recent meeting of a state legislative committee that some would-be buyers have expressed interested in buying the Heartland Intermodal Gateway facility in Pritchard.

However, the pandemic has put the sale efforts in limbo. An auction that was to have been held last April was canceled due to the pandemic.

“We hope to be able to sell it, rent it, do something with it to get it off our books,” White said.

The state decided to sell the facility, which opened in 2015, after it failed to meet expectations.

It closed in October 2019 after generating about 500 lifts that year.

Norfolk Southern, which served the $35 million facility, said it needed a minimum of 15,000 lifts annually at the terminal.

The facility was a joint venture in which the state paid $18 million,

W.Va. City OKs Study of NS Tranload Facility

January 15, 2021

Bluefield, West Virginia, city council members have approved spending $55,000 to hire an engineering firm in an effort to gain a Norfolk Southern transload facility.

The engineering firm will conduct a study that the city hopes will entice NS to locate a Thoroughbred Bulk Terminal in their city.

The EL Robinson firm will conduct the study of the city’s suitability for the logistics hub.

Among the matters to be reviewed are cost savings from shipper use of the facility, assessment of present and future commodity volumes that could use the terminal, and workforce supply and demand.

Bids To be Taken for W.Va. Bridge Project

January 14, 2021

Bids are expected to be solicited next month for the replacement of the Grant Street Bridge in Bluefield, West Virginia.

The bridge, which spans the former Norfolk & Western mainline that is now part of Norfolk Southern, has been closed since June 2019.

Closure of the bridge has been an inconvenience for many Bluefield residents who have had to take circuitous routes to reach the central business district.

At one point city officials had threatened to sue NS in an effort to get the railroad to move toward repairing or replacing the bridge.

In a 1940 agreement the N&W had agreed to pay to maintain the bridge and NS had at one point recommended repairs rather than replacement.

A West Virginia Department of Highways official said construction of the new bridge should start in the spring and be done by the end of the year.

The project will receive $10.5 million in federal, state, and local funding.

Once the bridge is completed, ownership of the bridge will revert to the city.

Work Underway on W.Va. Rail Bridge

December 15, 2020

Work has begun on constructing a bridge that will enable the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley to restore rail service between Cass and Durbin in West Virginia.

The bridge will span Trout Run and the project involves the West Virginia Department of Highways, the West Virginia State Rail Authority, D&G and contractors.

Thus far workers have been drilling holes into the bedrock and pouring foundations on the Durbin side of the bridge.

Equipment is is now being staged for work on the Cass side and can only reach the bridge site by traveling 15 miles by rail.

While drilling and foundation work is being performed on the Cass end of the bridge workers will be building forms for the abutment on the Durbin end.

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. Creates Page to Report Blocked Grade Crossings

November 11, 2020

A website page has been established by the Public Service Commission of West Virginia for the public to report trains that are blocking grade crossings.

State law states trains may not block a crossing for more than 10 minutes except in the case of a continuously moving train or an emergency.

Information gathered through the website will be reported to the Federal Railroad Administration for review.

“Blocked highway-rail grade crossings are becoming a major problem in West Virginia,” commission chair Charlotte Lane said in a statement.

“By reporting these issues, PSC Railroad Safety Inspectors will know where the problems are and will investigate the cause of the blockages.”

The site can be reached at

W.Va. City Wants NS to Reopen Bridge

September 23, 2020

A West Virginia city is going to court to try to reverse Norfolk Southern’s closure of a bridge in June 2019.

The city of Bluefield said it will sue the railroad over its closure of the Grant Street bridge, which city officials say connects the east end and north side of town with the central business district.

Bluefield’s City Board of Directions authorized the lawsuit, citing a lack of communication from the railroad.

City officials plan to cite a 1940 agreement that requires the railroad to maintain the steel superstructure and masonry supports of the bridge.

Since the closure of the bridge, residents have been forced to use a narrow road, which has resulted in an increase in the response time for emergency vehicles.

2021 Dates Set for W.Va. Excursion Train

August 19, 2020

The sponsors of the New River train in West Virginia have announced that its 2021 dates of operation.

The Autumn Colors Express between Huntington and Hinton has been canceled for this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rail Excursion Management Company said the 2021 trips will operate Oct. 21-24.

The trains will made an intermediate stop in Charleston.