Bridge at Narrows, VA

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Tue Aug 13 16:25:59 EDT 2013

On Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 2:29 PM, someone wrote:

I'm looking for info on the bridge that connects the former VGN mainline on

> the north side of the New River to the N&W mainline on the south side near

> Narrows, VA.


> What trains would use the former VGN to Roanoke vs the N&W tracks on the

> other side.


> I'm assuming the VGN bridge at Glen Lym came down around the same time.

> Is this correct?


That bridge was build courtesy the Virginia Department of Highways (now the
Va. Department of Transportation, VDOT) in return for its grabbing the VGN
right of way from Narrows to Glen Lynn. U.S. 460 was a narrow, curvy,
two-lane road between Narrows and Rich Creek and from Rich Creek to Glen
Lynn, clutching to the side of the mountain above the Virginian tracks.
After the N&W and VGN merged, the highway department saw a nice, level
stretch of land that could be used to improve that section of highway. The
original bridge at Kellysville, W.Va. that allowed eastbound movements from
the N&W to the VGN was replaced with a new bridge that went the other way,
taking eastbounds from the VGN onto the N&W. The Narrows bridge was built
to move trains back to the VGN. Tracks were taken up and a new road built.
Between Narrows and Rich Creek, two eastbound lanes were laid down where
the tracks used to be and the original road became two lanes westbound.

>From Rich Creek (which was bypassed), a new four-lane stretch of highway

was built, although it still crossed the New River on the original steel
through-truss bridge. That road tied into the new U.S. 460 built by West
Virginia that went over Hale's Gap (and on to Princeton on an entirely
newer and better route), obliterating the VGN right of way and Hale's Gap
tunnel. Over time, the New River Bridge was replaced with new spans.

The Virginian was and still is used for eastbound coal trains. Trains come
out of Bluefield and Priceton and use the double-track N&W between
Kellysville and Narrows. Depending on traffic, trains destined for the
Virginian tracks may cross over in the Narrows at Robinson Crossover or
they may not change until the Narrows Connection Crossover right at the
bridge approach.

I'm not sure when the west bridge in Glen Lynn came down. All the
approaches on the east side of the New River were removed as part of the
highway work (although one of the concrete piers is still there, pretty
much immovable). There were still three steel spans over the river well
into the '70s but they were eventually removed. The tall concrete piers are
still standing in the river, though.

A plug: see
information about Kellysville, Glen Lynn, and changes to the area.

Bruce in Blacksburg
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