[N&W] Re: Vacation around the Pokey

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue May 4 22:46:02 EDT 2004

there is a very good article in the auguest issue of ctc board on
railfanning the pokey...lots of good pics and details about routes and
branch lines.

gary mullis

Alex Schust writes:

I generally agree with Bob Moore from Iaeger to Williamson but would
take a different approach from Bluefield.

I am assuming you will travel by I-81 to US 460 or I-77 to Princeton.
Take US19 South through Bluefield wich will take you right by the
Bluefield yards.  Stay on US19 until you reach State 102. take 102
towards Falls Mills and Bramwell. I would suggest you take a short jaunt
to Pocohontas where the N&W shipped its first coal from.  The trackis
now abandoned but there is both a caboose on exhibition as well as the
Pocohontas exhibition mine.

Before you get to Bramwell you go through Coopers which also has an
exhibition caboose as well as good picture locations. Bramwell has an
exhibition of old passenger cars (not necessarily N&W) as well as MOW
equipment. Both Pocohantas and Bramwell offer lunch places.

At Bramwell join US52 north and continue to Welch.  You will go through
Maybeury where there used to be a high trestle before the Elkhorn
tunnel.  The old right of way and trestle foundation can still be seen.
This is where the steam loco ran off the trestle in the late 30s. At
Maybeury you will go beneath the bridge leading upgrade to the Elkhorn
tunnel. From this point US52 will follow the N&w all the way to Iaeger.

You will go through a lot of dying coal camp towns such as Northfork,
Keystone, Kimball.  At Kimball there is a good picture spot right as you
approach the town from the east (heading in the direction towards
Welch)as the tracks emerge from a tunnel at towns edge.

Between Keystone and Kimball is Eckman which used to be the helper yard
before electification.  Nothing remains now.  Someone me there is now a
B&B in Eckman in one of coal company's old club house.

At Welch do not take the bypass but instead go through down town.  Welch
is another dying coal town. Look for state route 16 which will be a
right turn and head toward Pineville.  When State 16 makes a 90deg right
turn at the Welch Emergency hospital go straight insteadon County Route
7 towards Hemphill and Davy.  This is a narrow twisting road but used by
school buses and daily commuters.

At Hemphill is Farm where there are ocassioanlly helpers sitting.  The
old concrete coaling station still stands at Farm also. Good picture
location and lots of tunnels.  Continue to Davy.  When you pass through
Davy turn left across the river.  You will come out at Roderfield and
back on US 52. Turn right and head for Iaeger.

Don't expect much in accomodations between Bluefield and Williamson.
There are a variety of fast food restaurants along the way.

Alex Schust


Thanks for the local info for my trip.
Ray Russell, Sr.

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