N&W in 1910--C&O invasion

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Tue Mar 23 22:50:18 EDT 2010

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
October 14, 1910

Would Open Up Vast Resources in This Rich and Undeveloped County
Chesapeake & Ohio Officials Passed Over the Route Recently and it is Believed Work of Construction Will Start in Spring
The Daily Telegraph learned last night, on reliable information, that the Chesapeake and Ohio railroad is going to extend its Big Sandy branch from its present terminus near the Buchanan county line in Virginia along Levisa fork of Big Sandy to the properties of the New River and Pocahontas Consolidated Collieries Company and the Mason Coal and Coke Company in Buchanan county, and on information indirectly from an agent of the New River Company it was learned last night that the road will be extended on to the Mouth of Garden, 19 miles by county road from Richlands. This proposed extension will open up Buchanan county and enable the coal and lumber men of Buchanan county to get an outlet to the west.
Whether this extension to the neighborhood of the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio means that the Chesapeake and Ohio is to take over that road is not known, but it is learned on reliable information that the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio has been offered to several roads, none of which have shown any great desire to acquire it, with the exception of the Seaboard Air Line.
It is generally believed that the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio will never be a financial success until it has a western outlet, and the activity of the Chesapeake and Ohio is taken to mean that traffic arrangements at least may be entered into whereby the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio may secure a western outlet if the road is not acquired by the Chesapeake and Ohio, which road would be greatly benefited by having as outlet over the new line to Charleston, S. C. and the Panama canal.
The recent trips by Chesapeake and Ohio officials over the Big Sandy section and branch is now partly explained, but no information can be secured as to when the work of construction will really start. The survey which was recently made by the Chesapeake and Ohio of the Big Sandy section has fully acquainted the Hawley people with the cost of construction of the proposed line, and it is generally believed that construction will be started in the spring unless some severe financial setbacks should occur.
A prominent coal man and lawyer said last night that he was sorry the Norfolk and Western was not the road to develop Buchanan county. It would be possible for the Norfolk and Western, according to the gentleman, who asked that his name be withheld, to get into Buchanan county from its Indian Creek branch, which has sometimes been call the Cedar Bluff cut off. A good route with not over a one per cent grade could be had from Cedar Bluff, seven miles to the Cedar Bluff tunnel, from which point before entering the tunnel a line could be projected up Indian Creek four miles to Sandy ridge [sic], through which it would be necessary to bore a tunnel about a quarter of a mile long. From this tunnel the projected line could go over Jones' fork, a tributary of Dismal Creek and down Dismal to its mouth where the line would strike the Levisa fork of Big Sandy.
The estimated mileage of this line would be to Cedar Bluff tunnel, seven miles; from the tunnel to Sandy ridge, four miles; from the ridge on Jones' fork to Dismal creek, three miles; from Dismal to its mouth, 16 miles; from the mouth of Dismal to Grundy, eight miles, while the distance from Grundy to the Kentucky line would be but 13 miles.
A survey of this line was made in 1890 by the Clinch Valley Coal and Iron Company, but as far as is known has never been made by the Norfolk and Western , which road has seemed to prefer the Bradshaw route, which it is believed, is more expensive and less satisfactory from a grade standpoint.
[See Blackstock and Wilson's article, "The Buchanan Branch, Part 4, The Levisa Extension" in the Oct. -- Dec. 2007 issue of The Arrow for a good account of the feeble effort of the C&O to extend into Buchanan County. Their article gives some credence to the above October 1910 newspaper report that the C&O was to built into Buchanan County. According to The Arrow article, the Levisa River Railroad was formed in 1910 to build into Grundy and was taken over by the C&O in 1911. This C&O line was not built until 1945, and it stopped short of the Virginia border. About the same time the N&W built an extension into Kentucky that connected with that C&O line. When Fishtrap dam and lake severed the C&O line, the N&W took over operation of the connecting part of the C&O line."

Gordon Hamilton
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