Planning a sight seeing trip of the pokey

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sun Dec 3 12:30:20 EST 2006


You asked about the Clinch Valley Line, and since I did not see a
response I'll give you some highlights of my favorite branch of the N&W
(based on my last trip there which was on the way to the N&WHS meeting
in Williamson in the summer of 2005):

You can see the junction of the Clinch Valley Line with the Pokey in
downtown Bluefield, Virginia, about where US 19 makes a left hand turn
(going west) and becomes Virginia Avenue. However, after Bluefield you
cannot see much of the CV until you get to Tazewell. If you go into
Tazewell there is a N&W station still standing. Continue on US 19/460
to Claypool Hill and then take US 460 to Cedar Bluff, Richlands, and
Raven where you can see the CV again.

Backtrack on US 460 to US 19 and continue west. At Hansonville get on
Alternate US 58 and head to St. Paul. St. Paul is where the old
Clinchfield crossed the N&W, and just east of St. Paul is Boody which is
where the interchange between the CRR and the N&W took place (a large
horizontal wye). To get there, take SR 63 in St. Paul and head east and
you will see the Boody yard. There is road to the right of SR 63 that
takes you right under the CRR/N&W wye.

Going west on Alt. US 58 from St. Paul you will cross under the CV Line
and between St. Paul and Coeburn you will see a series of high trestles
to the north of the highway connecting Big Bull Tunnel , Holbrook
Tunnel, and Little Tom Tunnel. It is quite a sight to see, but be
careful slowing down as the coal trucks go really fast!

Go into downtown Coeburn and you will see a N&W station now being used
by a local government agency. In Coeburn get on SR 72 and take a short
side trip along the Toms Creek Branch line to Tom Creek. There you will
see an active flood loader owned by the Paramount Coal Co. Return to
Coeburn and continue west on Alt. US 58. In Tacoma you will see a coal
loader which you can't miss since it is painted red. In Ramsay there is
a large coal loader to the south of the highway, but it was not active
and locked up in the summer of 2005.

The last stop on the CV Line is Norton which is an interesting railroad
town. If you go up to the 11th Street viaduct you will get a good view
of the Norton yard. To the west was the L&N/N&W interchange and the
Interstate Railroad's yard. To the east was the Interstate's interchange
with the N&W.

I highly recommend that you have a DeLorme atlas for Virginia with you
if you intend to take any of the side roads, and it is also useful in
tracking the CV Line. For some background on the CV Line as well as a
description of its route and maps you may want to read the series of
article on the CV Line that Buck Wilson and I wrote for The Arrow (the
3/4/04, 5/6/04 and 7/8/04 issues).

You can contact me off line at ipmandel1 at
<mailto:ipmandel1 at> if you have any questions.

Hope you have a great trip.

Paul Mandelkern
Winter Park, FL

----- Original Message -----
From: NW Mailing List <mailto:nw-mailing-list at>

To: nw-mailing-list at
Sent: Sunday, November 19, 2006 8:40 AM
Subject: Planning a sight seeing trip of the pokey

Last year at Christmas I took a very last minut ride
(from Florida) to Bluefield to follow the frograil tour of the Pokey
listed on the web. We got as far as Welch and up the Tug branch before
having to return home.

This year we are going back between Christmas and New
Years. Got a new digital camera and am looking to take better pictures
this time. Anybody want to share where the real quality shots to be had
are located? Are there any steam era tipples left? (even abandoned in
place) We saw the large facility at Keystone and went up the Tug branch
and saw the small loaders in Elbert.

Also curious to know what can be seen or is it even
possible to follow the Clinch Valley Line out of Bluefield.

More important, Is there better or closer motels to
sleep than coming back to Bluefield or Princeton?

Thanks in advance for any info.
Tom Lewis, Jacksonville FL.


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