Late 40's re-alignment on Elkhorn grade

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Wed Jul 9 11:10:31 EDT 2014

There were multiple N&W Employee Magazine articles on the Elkhorn Tunnel/Elkhorn Grade realignment. – January 1948, November 1951, March 1952 and other around the same time period.


The old bridge at Landgraff served the coal mine, The main line was constructed on the opposite side of Elkhorn Creek (or at least was by 1904).


Page 71 of “Billion Dollar Coalfield” (available from Commissary) photographs indicates old alignment and new alignment at Maybeury in 1949/1950. Mines in Barlow Hollow closed in 1944 and N&W removed tracks in 1945. Pg 80 of book shows new alignment in Barlow Hollow at location of former mine tipple.  


You can see a photo of main line going through Kyle on pg 107 of book. There were multiple changes to Elkhorn Creek during realignment. 


During the realignment the switch for the Angle Branch was moved to the opposite side of the main line and came down to Maybeury on the north side of the new bridge. Pg 90 of book shows original  alignment of Angle Branch. 


The power plant received coal directly from Delta Coal Mine. Originally there was no siding associated with power plant. A siding was built at some point to either bring new equipment for substation at power plant or during the realignment construction. I think it is still in place.


Alex Schust


From: NW-Mailing-List [mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Tuesday, July 08, 2014 11:25 AM
To: NW Mailing List
Subject: Late 40's re-alignment on Elkhorn grade


In preparation for discontinuing electric operations with the opening of the new Elkhorn tunnel in 1950, several miles on the heavy grade were re-aligned to reduce curvature and rise.  I have read at least one article (may have been in Railway Age) giving an overview of this work that spanned several years showing a few pictures/diagrams of a few of the places where new cuts were made, bridges eliminated, etc.  I would like to get more detailed information and/or photos of exactly what changes were made during this project e.g. creek re-routings, U.S. 52 re-routings, all the places where the line was relocated, any sidings/branches that were eliminated, etc. etc.  There is an old bridge at Landgraff on the opposite side of 52 from the present main that I assume was left from when the main was over there.  Also, down in Kyle bottom there are footers standing in someones front yard that again look like evidence of the old alignment.  I am especially interested in the changes at Switchback/Maybeury associated with new bridge and side swap up Barlow hollow.  It is still barely possible to see slide fence remnants (vertical rail segments) through the leaves/kudzoo to the North side of the present main near Switchback.  I assume the old main would have hugged the hill and been right next to this slide fence as it climbed past the power plant on its way to the old trestle.  I assume the Angel Branch would have left the main at some point along here, but would sure like to know exactly where.  Also, was there a siding associated with the power plant?

Any information on this transformation will be greatly appreciated.

Jim Cochran

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