Williamson WV Rail Yard

While Norfolk Western laid down a line through Williamson in 1892 or so, they didn’t build the big consolidation and repair yard until 1901.  It has a roundhouse, but I wasn’t able to get a decent picture of it.  It shows up quite well on Google Earth, though.

You can also see from the satellite image the fairly wide suspension pedestrian walkway that spans the yard.  It is gated, but I was able to climb the rickety stairs that access the northern bridge support tower.   This is looking southeast:

This is looking across the yard showing the pedestrian bridge (there’s a date on the building in the center, 1926):

And this is looking northwest or so:

This is the best view I could get of the roundhouse, taken from a 1913 truss bridge over the Tug Fork on the southern side of the yard:

Devon Tunnel

First it was timber that drove the railroads, narrow gauge lines, into Buchanan County VA.  The timber baron W. M. Ritter ran Shay engines and a few passenger cars along with his freight cars, the Big Sandy & Cumberland Railroad, all over Knox Creek, up the hollows and, eventually, on into Grundy.  When the N&W line took it all over in 1923, they had a problem.  N&W was standard gauge.  Shay engines can do a 6% grade, slowly, but the big non-geared wheels of the steam engines couldn’t.  The N&W opened its company coffers and rebuilt the line to reach the rich coal beds in the area.  They built a wye over the Tug Fork from the Pocahontas Main Line and constructed this tunnel, Devon Tunnel.  This north portal is at 37.52763, -82.04658.








You can see in the above picture, on the left wall of the tunnel, a niche.  Apparently, there was once a manual switching unit there.  It’s all controlled now remotely.  Here’s a better look at the mechanism.








And, my favorite picture, looking out of the portal to the deck girders forming the wye over the Tug Fork.










On the other side, about 1700′ back, is the south portal, a little more worse for wear.  The date on both is 1930.