Coal to Toledo

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Mon Mar 15 15:27:12 EDT 2010

Al: Yes, most of the N&W coal heading to Lake Erie went 'upwards' on the
T&OC Western Branch or the Hocking Valley to Toledo. The PRR had just
bought the Sandusky Line a few years before and it needed rebuilding for the
possible tonnage. Joyce Avenue Yard wasn't yet configured for movement up
the Sandusky Line. It wasn't until after the 1927 rebuilding of Joyce, the
reconstruction of PRR Grogan Yard, the realignment of the tracks northward
out of Grogan and the construction of Pennor yard around the top of Joyce
Yard, that the N&W and PRR could readily move the massive amounts of coal up
to Lake Erie. The raising of the N&W line 'south' of Joyce was important,
too , as the N&W used to cross the B&O/PRR Newark District at grade before
crawling up into the old Joyce. Real slow operation requiring doubling the
train up into old Joyce. The PRR built a new unloading pier at Sandusky,

Other lines coming out of Columbus did not have convenient routes to Lake
Erie or piers on Lake Erie. Some coal moved via the PRR through Columbus to
the west on the Panhandle to Chicago, but this was a long route for coal on
railroad cars and thus expensive relative to coal delivered to Chicago by
ship from Lake Erie.

I think more went up the HV in the early days, but the T&OC got a goodly
portion as well- I believe it was about 60-40%. Line capacity and
especially the capacity of the coal piers was the important factor in
setting the direction of the coal movements. One needs to look at the N&W
Annual Reports simultaneously with the HV and T&OC annual reports to see
where the investment in infrastructure and tracks went for a given set of
years. The railroads and the coal departments definitely talked to each

Also note that Watkins Yard did not exist until the rebuilding of Joyce in


From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at
[mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Monday, March 15, 2010 12:09 PM
To: nw-mailing-list at
Subject: Re: NW-Mailing-List Digest, Vol 54, Issue 23 No. 4 Kenova bridge

Where was that Columbus bound coal going in 1910? How much made it up to
Toledo? . . . . to the T&OC or HV Maumee River docks?

Al Kresse

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Today's Topics:

1. Re: N&W in 1910--Kenova bridge (NW Mailing List)


Message: 1
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2010 10:22:43 -0400
From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
Subject: Re: N&W in 1910--Kenova bridge
To: "NW Mailing List" <nw-mailing-list at>
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The elimination of the old main through Dingess Tunnel gave them three
stretches of single track, specifically Tunnels 1, 3 and 4, instead of just
the one across Kenova Bridge.


From: NW Mailing List
Sent: Monday, March 15, 2010 9:27 AM
To: NW Mailing List
Subject: Re: N&W in 1910--Kenova bridge

The Annual Report for the year ending June 30th, 1913, states:

"The Ohio River Bridge at Kenova, W. Va., consisting of four 300 foot spans
and one 521 foot span, has been replaced by a new double track steel
structure, eliminating the last section of single track between Williamson
and Columbus."

There is no specific date given for the in service date of the new bridge,
but the 1912 annual report stated that it was to go into service in the
spring of 1913.

Bud Jeffries

----- Original Message -----
From: NW Mailing List
To: 3N&W Mailing List
Sent: Sunday, March 14, 2010 1:09 PM
Subject: N&W in 1910--Kenova bridge

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
October 5, 1910

Immense Tonnage From Flat Top and Thacker Coal Fields, Which Are Being
Worked to Fullest Capacity
Huntington Advertiser. A condition now prevails in the Norfolk and
Western coal field which certainly stands without precedent in that
district, and which has probably never been excelled in any coal mining
district in the country. A prominent Mingo county man who was in Huntington
last week, stated that the movement of the coal output of the Norfolk and
Western field has come to be a problem of immense proportions. Seven years
ago the work of double-tracking the road in the Williamson district was
begun, and this work, aided by the construction of the Big Sandy line has,
in effect, given the road two tracks from a point to the east of Williamson
to Kenova, and this work is being extended to Columbus. With the advantages
of two tracks over a considerable portion of the line the road is able to
make a fair showing in the work of moving the mine products of the Thacker
and Flat Top fields, but at present equipment is taxed to capacity, and
there is often a shortage in
this respect.
It is stated on good authority that during the past thirty days coal
trains of full complement have passed over the Kenova bridge at the rate of
one every twenty minutes. The quality [sic] of coal thus carried is too
immense to be easily or accurately conceived.
Passenger trains are often delayed by the congestion of the tracks by
the coal traffic, though the officials make all possible effort to avoid
this condition, and to move passenger trains on schedule.
[This was on the original single-track bridge, which wasn't strong enough
for Mallet locomotives. The present stronger double track replacement
bridge went into service late 1912 to early 1913.]

Gordon Hamilton


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