N&W in 1910--Construction contracts

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Mar 4 23:06:49 EST 2010

The 4.31 mile extension of the Tug Fork went south to what became Jenkinjones and Pocahontas Consolidated Collieries Mines No. 6 and No. 7. This became the North Fork of Tug Fork Branch with the mines opening around 1912.

The extension of 0.87 miles was probably the extension to Leckie, WV to serve the West Virginia Pocahontas Coal Co. This would be nearly "opposite" the Elkhorn Station." I don't think the railroad built the Ballard-Harmon spur to No. 8 at Jenkinjones at the same time the rr was built to No. 6 and No. 7, but I haven't checked on it.

There were many articles about opening the Faraday Coal & Coke properties starting about 1901. The 28,000 acre property was sold to Pocahontas Fuel co around 1923 which built Faraday/Amonate on the Dry Fork Branch and Bishop (around 1928) on the Jacobs Fork Branch.

One of the original 1887 proposals to reach the Ohio was to build the railroad up Burks Creek (between Northfork and Keystone) over/through Indian Ridge and then follow Pinnacle creek to Pineville, then to Oceana and the Kanawha River. An excerpt from my new book "Billion Dollar Coalfield,"

"Even as the Flat Top Extension was being built to Elkhorn, survey parties were exploring ways to get to the Ohio River. One possible route was along Burks Creek to Pinnacle Creek to Pineville and then through Walnut Gap to the Kanawha River. There were two factors that favored this route. The first factor was a road had been constructed prior to the Civil War that ran from Oceana in Wyoming County, through Walnut Gap into Boone County and on to Brownstown on the Kanawha River. The second factor was when the Flat Top Land Association bought the Darbishire land at Pineville, the association also commissioned the building of a road from Pineville to Elkhorn. The Reference Book of Wyoming County History notes that the road, completed in 1888, followed Pinnacle Creek to Little White Oak Creek and then down Burks Creek to what became Keystone, WV. The road, when completed, provided a mail route between Elkhorn and Oceana and also allowed Wyoming County farmers to haul their produce to Elkhorn which was probably used as a shipping point.

The N&W used the Elkhorn to Pineville to Oceana to Walnut Gap roads to produce a map for their planned railroad known as the Virginia and Ohio. The Virginia & Ohio route map on page XX was dated January 12, 1887. On March 21, 1887, the Virginia & Ohio was chartered by Joseph Doran and other members of the N&W management team in Philadelphia."

The Virginia & Ohio was not built. Instead the N&W chartered the West Virginia & Ironton in 1888 and built west along Elkhorn Creek to the Tug Fork and followed the Tug Fork and Big Sandy to the Ohio.

When the N&W got ready to build the North Fork Branch th err couldn't afford it. They were paying $250,000 to $300,000 a month to construct the Ohio Extnesion. The N&W agreed to build the North Fork Branch if the coal operators would agree to for the siding tracks and the N&W would reimburse the operators through rate kickbacks once they started hauling coal on the branch at the rate of 10 cents a ton for coal and 15 cents a ton for coke. The same type of agreement was signed with the coal operators on the main line between Northfork and Kimball.

Greenbrier Coal & Coke paid over $30,000 to get the branch built to their operation near McDowell, WV.

Alex Schust

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Subject: N&W in 1910--Construction contracts

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
September 29, 1910

Eighteen Miles of Railroad to be Constructed in the Tug Fork and Dry Fork Branches
On Saturday the Norfolk and Western will open bids at Roanoke for the construction of about eighteen miles of railroad on the Tug Fork and Dry Fork branches. The work will cost in the neighborhood of $3,000,000 and will be under construction for about two years.
The bids are asked on the construction of four miles of heavy work which will run from the "Y" near Jennette on the Tug Fork branch to the holdings of the Pocahontas Consolidated Collieries Company where new mines are to be opened as was reported some months ago. This work will be of a very heavy nature and a number of heavy cuts will have to be made. There will be considerable concrete work which will add to the cost of the construction.
On the Dry Fork branch the Cedar Bluff extension, as it is known, will be completed and about fourteen miles of railroad will be built which will connect the present terminus at Canebrake with Cedar Bluff on the Clinch Valley division. There will be one tunnel included in the work at this point in addition to the Cedar Bluff tunnel [Tunnel No. 3, L=4769'] which is now under construction by D. W. Flickwir through the Franklin Constructing Company. The work on the Cedar Bluff extension will be unusually heavy and it will take at least two years to complete the work.
The official statement regarding the extension is as follows:
"Right of way has been secured for extending the Dry Fork branch 1.72 miles from the present end of the track at Canebrake, to the initial point of Beech Creek branch below the mouth of Beech creek and 0.08* is under construction to operation No. 4 of the New River-Pocahontas Consolidated Coal Company. Right of way has also been secured and work will be started on the Beech Creek branch from its junction with the Dry Fork branch to its junction with the Indian Creek branch at the Virginia state line, 1.56 miles. The Indian Creek branch from its junction with Beech Creek branch at the West Virginia state line to Cedar Bluff, Va., on the Clinch Valley district 12.22 miles and "Y" connection 0.37 miles at Cedar Bluff [The 1.72 mile Dry Fork extension, the 1.56 "Indian Creek branch" and the 12.22 mile "Beech Creek branch" combined to form the Dry Fork Branch between Canebrake, WV, and Cedar Bluff, VA]. Of this line 3.22 miles at Summit Tunnel [Tunnel No. 3, L=4769'] is now under construction by the Franklin Contracting Company."
The work on the Tug Fork branch will extend from Jeanette 4.31 miles with a branch of 0.87 miles which will bring the proposed terminus of the line to a point opposite the Elkhorn station on the Pocahontas division of the main line and about four miles from the present extension of the western branch of the road known as the Pocahontas and Western [The P&W was the extension of the Pocahontas Branch to Boissevein.] Among the contractors who will bid on the work are Carpenter & Boxley, J. J. Boxley, H.H. George, Jr., Walton, Witten* & Graham, W. O. Lipscomb and D. W. Flickwir.
The proposed road will by means of the Indian Creek branch as the railroad company calls it, or the Cedar Bluff Extension, as it is generally known, open up the properties of the Farraday Coal and Coke Company and will also give a connection with the Clinch Valley which will give the shippers on that road a better rate to Chicago. On eastern movement from the western part of the Pocahontas division the route will save a great many miles on eastern loads and will divert a great deal of the present heavy shipments over the Clinch Valley instead of over the present main line which is usually crowded to capacity.
Contractors are already eagerly watching for the action the stockholders of the Norfolk and Western take on the proposed plan of increasing the capital stock of the road by fifteen million dollars. They figure that if this stock issue goes through, or arrangements are made for the issuance of bonds to be converted into common stock, that the proposed line from Wharncliffe will be built within a short time. This line which will be an extension of the Widemouth or Northfork branches will open an entirely new coalfield which has never been touched. [Some old maps show a proposed line coming north off the Northfork Branch and apparently following the Guyandotte River downstream then turning south to connect into the main line at Wharncliffe. Other old maps show the same proposed line coming off the Bluestone-Widemouth Branch. In either case only the Gilbert--Wharncliffe portion was ever built. Other old maps show a proposed line from the Northfork Branch to Pineville, WV, that was never built.] It will also develop a large territory of timber which cannot now be easily reached on account of its distance from a railroad.
The increase in stock will also provide for an extension of the Big Stoney [sic] branch [never happened] and this will increase the iron shipments which last year increased 114.5 per cent.

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
October 8,1910

The Cedar Bluff Extension of Norfolk and Western Will Be Constructed
The Total Cost of All the Work Will Amount to About Three Million Dollars and Will Be Started At Once
Roanoke, Va., October 7, (Special) The Norfolk and Western Railway today awarded contracts for the construction of fifteen and one-fourth miles of road to be built in West Virginia.
Eleven and one-quarter miles, to be known as the Cedar Bluff extension, were awarded as follows: Rinehart* & Dennis Company, Washington, D. C., two miles; Walton & Co., Falls Mills, Va., two and one-half miles; W. O. Lipscomb, Roanoke, two miles; A. H. Vaiz*, Staunton, Va., two miles; P. J. Millett, Paris, Ky., two and three-fourth miles. Another extension known as the Northfork branch, to consist of four miles was awarded as follows: Vaughan Construction Co., Roanoke, Va., two miles; Carpenter & Boxley, Roanoke, two miles.
The work will cost about $3,000,000 and will be started at once on all the contracts.
*Indistinct on the microfilm. The best interpretation is shown.

Gordon Hamilton


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