Potts Valley Branch

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sun Jan 16 15:17:14 EST 2022

“The Norfolk &Western in West Virginia 1881-1959,” available from the NWHS Commissary, pages 202 – 217 covers the Potts Valley Branch.


Both the N&W and the C&O had plans that would have allowed for a connection in the area of the Potts Creek Post Office, although there was no formal agreement to do so. 


The N&W chartered its Virginia & Potts Creek RR to run from the terminus of the interior & West Virginia RR to the Potts Creek PO in Alleghany County, a distance of 11.15 miles. The RR was only constructed 4.15 miles to Paint Bank, with construction complete in 1909.


The C&O graded its Potts Creek Branch for 22.97 miles, but only constructed it for 19.70 miles to Bess. The Potts Creek PO was located about one mile beyond Bess.


By 1908 the Great Lake iron ores with cheaper transportation rates significantly reduced the Virginia iron ore mining industry.


The C&O did not reach Paint Bank, the N&W did.


Alex Schust  


From: NW-Mailing-List [mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2022 9:39 AM
To: NW Mailing List
Subject: Re: Potts Valley Branch




I recall reading somewhere that the C&O once had a branch line from Covington to Paint Bank. A small portion (a mile or two) of this line still exists in Covington. Is that correct and, if so, do you know about when it arrived at Paint Bank and when it was removed?  Thanks.


   Ray Smoot

Sent from my iPad

On Jan 16, 2022, at 8:43 AM, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org> wrote:


On Sun, Jan 16, 2022 at 6:45 AM Charlie wrote:

Mr. John Garner ! 

Thank you for the photos! This branch has always fascinated me! Looking at an overall picture, I'm wondering if a C&O connection was ever thought of.


I dug into the L.E. Johnson correspondence files years ago when they were in the Virginia Tech Library (and are now hostage in GOB East). There were several letters from people in that area asking for a connection to the C&O line from the north, but the N&W wasn't interested. Its line ended at the wye at Paint Bank; the Va. Iron Coal & Coke Co. tracks continued beyond that to reach several mines, so the means was there, but why would the N&W want to offer an easy way to shortcut traffic off its line?


Bruce in Blacksburg


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