North Carolina Branch industries long gone, and present.

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Wed Jan 4 02:35:26 EST 2006

Remember, I am a young buck, I was only 11 when the last run was made in 1985! But I will try to tell you all what I know about industries on the NC Branch, with an approximant dates if I know them, with info about in/out traffic, So stand by as I brake out my track charts to make certain I don't miss anything also, to TRY to keep some semblance of order , the entries in italics and underlined is about Branches OFF OF, the NC Branch proper, the entries that are in BOLD,italics, and underlined is about branches, off of branches! Allot of this info is also found in Munsey Webb's book, I wore my copy out, and I need to get a new one! I most likely have missed things, so don't consider this list, the "end all be all", and also consider that this is from memory, I may have made minor date errors or such, their is just so much information, at one time in the 1910's the NC branch saw about 10 trains A DAY. Remember that they where "turns" so really it is about 5. Sorry for the lengthy post, their is really allot of data here! It took me about 3 hrs to prepare this list and it is now 2:30 AM!

Mileposts on the NC Branch, are measured from Pulaski.

Galax - Milepost P52---------------------------------------------
Carnation , coal in hoppers for boiler, boxcars bringing in mty cans, evaporated milk out, most likely in the same cars that brought the cans in. Closed in the 1970's, the raw milk, came from local dairy farms.

Vaughn Furniture, Boxcars of furniture out, possibly cars of exotic wood being delivered (mahogany) their is also a spot to unload hoppers, near the boilers. I never saw it used, and I am puzzled to its existence, the boilers where set up to burn sawdust, Bad News, Factory workers got told yesterday that they are completely closing all production in the city limits.

Vaughn Basset Furniture, #1,#2. Boxcars of Furniture out

Webb Furniture.. Had a siding right down the middle between their buildings!, saw it used only a couple of times, it ran right thru the employee parking.

The Crosstie outfit, I am not certain when it started business, or even what it was called, but it did ship several cars of crossties every week

Stockyards, they had a spur as well, never saw it used. Closed early 1980's

McKnight Oil Co, I SEEM to recall that they had a spur as well

their where sidings all over that part of town, mostly to long defunct businesses, I recall

Gossan Jct--Milepost P47------------------------------

General Chemicals Gossan Mines, shipped about 10, 70 ton hoppers every day that they worked (Monday thru Saturday) to the Acid Plant in Pulaski, They shipped Iron Ore, and small amounts of Copper. and the occasional locked boxcar of other assorted minerals.( Former employees told me about this) Closed 1963

Lineberry Jct--Milepost P46-------------------------------

Served an Iron mine of the Virginia Iron Coal and Coke Co. ,Closed 1916. The VIC&C also used Narrow Gauge Dinkys at this location, Had an interesting talk with an elderly lady at this location about their operation!

Chestnut Yard Milepost P45-----------------------------

Their WAS / IS a place to unload a dumptruck into a Gon, or a Hopper, their is spilled Iron Ore all around the ground at it. Large Section House is still here, and is being used as a private residence. Their is also the stone "ring" and "pivot stone" of a turntable still here!

(Fries Branch)----------------

Fries ....Milepost P45

Fries Cotton Mill, Regal Mills in its latter days, loads of cotton bales in, finished goods out, closed 1985

New River Grocery, Where the present day park and playground is, their was a spur that ran behind it, and went behind all the stores of the downtown section of Fries, and continued on to the mill (early photo confirms this, it went where the foot bridge is today) The Caboose, sits on a remnant of this spur.

New River Grocery received most of its goods by rail. Closed in the mid 1960's


Grayson -----Milepost P39------------------------

Site of a Hot Sulfur Springs resort, closed in the teens, now under Byllesby Pond (lake formed by Byllesby dam)

Byllesby-------milepost P37-------------------------

Short Spur leading into the hydroelectric dam's transformer house, NEVER saw or heard of it being used, ALSO NOTE.....

At Byllesby, their IS, and I repeat THEIR IS, an Norfolk and Western Passenger Shelter still standing!! APCO is using it as a shed, it has been moved about 100 feet from the ROW, Photos to come later

It is still in very good shape! The only one I have heard of surviving!

Ivanhoe----------- Milepost P32----------------

National Carbide Company, several tracks, several STILL in place, loads of Coal to fire the furnaces, Loads of Limestone in, Boxcars of barrels of Carbide being shipped out! Closed late 1960's to the early 1970's

Ivanhoe Furnace, their was a MAJOR Iron ore furnace in Ivanhoe, Closed in the 1910's or 1920's It was most defiantly rail served, they even had their own locomotives for inter-plant use.

Their could be more in Ivanhoe, But frankly, details are sketchy, Their IS the New Jersey lead and Zinc mine, present in Ivanhoe, but they used Austinville as their load out location,as the mines where joined underground.

(Speedwell Branch)-------------From Ivanhoe to Speedwell, removed in the early 1940s or late 30's----------

Served the Iron Ore Furnaces at Cripple Creek and Speedwell, Mines at Speedwell, their are lots of old Iron Ore Furnaces along the RoW, they where closed years before the branch was built. Lots of Dinky RoW's in this area, Even an old Mine, right in downtown Speedwell, right beside US21!

Served a feed store at Cripple Creek, Their is a very VERY old Truss Bridge near Cripple Creek, still in use as a road bridge, photos to come later. The branch was abandoned in the late1920's and was re-activated to serve the US 21 road building project in the 1930's


Austinville------- Milepost P29---------

New Jersey Lead and Zinc mine, seen gons, loaded with Zinc, also seen gons loaded with Limestone (they mined MORE limestone than anything else it seemed) and we are talking hundreds of cars a week out of this mine.

Indian Camp Jct----Milepost P28--------

Indian Camp Branch

Indian Camp Iron Ore Co, closed around 1910 shipped Iron Ore. Also used Dinkies,Subject of my last post.

(Hematite Branch)--Milepost P24---

Crossed the New River and served some Iron Ore mines, just across the river, also had an interchange with the Virginia Iron Coal and Coke Co's Narrow Gauge railroad Closed after a flood washed the New River trestle out in the mid 1910's I am going to be asking permission to visit this property, the mines and several mine buildings appear to be intact! Looks real promising on the permission!

----Foster Falls ---Milepost P24---

Iron Ore furnace, Several "dinky" Row's and mining "cuts" are evident in this area, New River Trail State park, runs a world class recreation area here, and they are doing an admiral job in preserving the historic buildings. several RR buildings remain, station and Section House still present.

All closed by the 1920's, In the latter days, the Neuhoff Farm, used the station as a "barn" and the station siding for unloading covered hoppers of feed

Also NOTE... US52 from Jackson's Ferry, to New river grocery, is built on the old Virginia Iron Coal & Coke Dinky ROW.

-----Bertha--Milepost P20

Large Zinc mine, and processing plant here, long closed ( I have not explored this area yet, it is on my To-Do list)

-----Barren Springs---Milepost P18

Old Iron Furnace here, pile of rubble today, some sources say that it was very old (civil war era), and someone brought it into blast around 1900 for a very short period of time, but no way to confirm this.

Reed Island Jct------Milepost P13

Reed Island Branch, served "Kayoa" {badly misspelled} Patterson, High Rock, Sylvatus, and Betty Baker mine


Old furnace at Kayoa, or "boomtown" and a section Forman's house, private residence, also,another railroad house here, with someone living in it, I want to say it is an section house, but I just am not certain. The original station here, was taken apart and shipped to Elkland or Todd North Carolina, at the terminus of the Abington Branch, before it was cut back to West Jefferson, it still stands!

Patterson (Periwinkle extension)--------Branch off of the Reed Island Branch

Iron Ore mines, with large tipple, had an narrow gauge railroad (now a road)that served several widely scattered mines, the Company Store still stands at Patterson, and it is STILL a store right beside route 100!

High Rock-------

Their was a grist mill and several buildings here, most still stands in remarkable shape!, very private property, with severe encroachment of a huge rock quarry I MUST get permission and get photographs here soon.

Sylvatus, appears to be a railroad section house still in use here, I read of a store that got SMALL rail shipments here, A relative told me of his father, in the 1920's used to sell crossties to the N&W here

Betty Baker mine, is about 3 or 4 miles from Sylvatus, HUGE mine, with lots of large cuts, and slopes, closed early 1910's JUST FOUND THE LOCATION OF THE MINE a few weeks ago, did some preliminary explorations, found several large cuts, and the loading location, they had a narrow gauge dinkies that served the mines, and they simply dumped the dinky cars into the standard gauge freight cars, the loadout location is on a "friend of the family"s property, so farther investigations will be forth coming this spring!

Rustin Railroad,Interesting footnote

A narrow gauge railroad, that served several mines near Allisonia, much of the ROW is now a public road, with the original railroad trestles still in use, for the moment, 2 deck plate girder trestles, lots of mines in this area

Their is also a sizable creek that shoots out the side of the mountain here, LITERALLY, very spectacularly I might add! doing some more digging on this, I believe it is man made, to run a water wheel.

Allisonia----Milepost P12

Interchanged with the Rustin Railroad near here, seen photos of boxcars loaded with pulpwood as well, Station still exists, moved 30 feet off of RR property and converted to a bed and breakfast!

Hiawassee----Milepost P11

Hoover Color corp. still here!! and still mining Iron Ore!! they have a siding, looks to have not been used in 30 years, they have a small display of ore jennies out front of their complex. They just mine the ore out of large open cuts now, that are located near their plant, they use the ore to make red pigments for paint and crayons! they are the ONLY source in the US for some colors, "Red Sienna" is one of them!

I cannot recall anything else to Pulaski! WHEW!!!!!!

PLEASE FEEL FREE to add more info, or correct any errors!

Andy Jennings

----- Original Message -----
From: nw-mailing-list at
To: nw-mailing-list at
Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2006 4:26 PM
Subject: Re: North Carolina Branch--Carnation

The types of cars (freight traffic to/from) will be real interesting! Aubrey, we need a conductors log book from there! I better hold on to TYCO Carnation tanker!
Charlie Long


I might just have one! I know I have some conductors time book that give engine and caboose numbers, trains, etc., but not sure if they include the consist. I will check. I have several from Radford Division from the late 40s through 60s.

Aubrey Wiley


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