WEST VIRGINIA NORTHERN RAILROAD COMPANY
Connects with B&O(owner)at Tunneltown, W. Va.
11 miles from Kingwood, W Va. to Tunneltown, W Va.
The West Virginia Northern Railroad was formed on July 5th, 1899, from the
former narrow gauge Tunnelton, Kingwood and Fairchance Railroad Co.
The TK&P had been incorporated in 1892 and had built eleven miles of railroad
between Tunnelton and Kingwood ,West Virginia, to tap the enormous amount of
coal deposits found in the area. By World War II, the West Virginia Northern
had 19 active mines along its route which would usually generate a 50 car
coal train per day while being capable of producing as many as 200+ cars a day.
The Northern would interchange these hoppers with the B&O Railroad at its
small yard in Tunnelton, with the B&O in turn switching Tunnelton on an
almost daily basis from M&K Junction to the east.
Power for the WVN was provided by several steam consolidations until the
railroad bought three diesel switchers in the 1950s, #50, #51 and #52.
As a result of the Northern's early dieselization, B&O mechanics would
often seek the railroads help in solving problems when the B&O finally
bought its first diesels several years later. For the following four
decades a West Virginia Northern coal switcher could usually be seen
working the mines between Kingwood and Tunnelton or the interchange yard
at Tunnelton. However, the coal market was in a major decline by the late
1980s resulting in many of the mines served by the railroad to cease
operations or begin moving coal by truck. As a result of this lack of
traffic, the West Virginia Northern ceased operations in March of 1991.
|Number||Mf'gr || Model || Date
|50 ||EMD || SW1200 || 1955
|51 ||EMD || SW1200 || 1955
|52 ||EMD || SW1200 || 1955
These units were equipped with dynamic brakes housed in a large box
on hood near the cab
© S.A. McCall