Deepwater was a fascinating place to photograph trains. Three different railroads met in this small Kanawha Valley community approximately 32 miles east of Charleston. The main line of the C&O and a branch of the New York Central paralleled the Kanawha River on each side in this area while the former Virginian main line from Norfolk, VA crossed over the C&O and joined the NYC on the other side of the Kanawha from Deepwater. This became the western end of the VGN after 1931 when the bridge over the Kanawha was built.
The VGN had trackage rights from Deepwater Bridge (DB) Tower over the NYC to Dickinson Yard which is located approximately 15 miles east of Charleston. These trackage rights existed in the days of VGN passenger service when trains ran to Charleston. However it was cut back to Dickinson Yard when passenger service ended in the 1950’s.
When I became old enough to go out on my own to photograph trains, the VGN had been merged into the Norfolk and Western about 8 years previously. The N&W continued operating Time Freights 71 and 72 between Dickinson Yard and DB Tower but they were on borrowed time. Also the New York Central was in its last days before being merged with the Pennsylvania RR to form the ill-fated Penn Central Transportation Co. The C&O was the only railroad that was pretty much unchanged even though it had acquired control of the B&O in 1963.
All photos on this post are scanned images from 35 mm slides which I have in my possession. You may wish to check this post from time to time as I may add more photos.
DB Tower. NYC main line is to the left. Track
next to building leads to the former VGN mainline.
VGN trackage began at the search light signal in
background. The bridge over the Kanawha River
begins just beyond the signal. All track is now
owned by Norfolk Southern Ry.
N&W Time Freight 72 chugging through
crossover from the NYC to the lead track to
the bridge over the Kanawha River. The lead
track to the left went to the Union Carbide
Metals plant located at Alloy about 0.5 miles
from this point.
Train 72 lead by Alco C628 #1122 heading
across the Kanawha River and eventually
over the C&O on the opposite side of the river.
Rear of Train 72 with caboose 530322 ex-
VGN 322. This is a rare sight now days.
Rear of Train 72. The Kanawha River at this
point is unnavigable for barge traffic. The
beginning point for navigation is approximately
a few hundred feet downstream to the right of the
East end of the Kanawha River bridge with
the C&O running underneath. View is looking
West toward Charleston. The Virginian name
is still highly visible 8 years after the merger
of the VGN into the N&W.
Eastbound C&O coal drag headed by GP-9
6252 and 4 sister geeps. The sound of these
5 locomotives was quite awesome.
St Route 61 underpass looking west toward
Charleston. This is a separate structure from
the Kanawha River crossing. There is about
80 ft of fill between both bridges. Deepwater
Tunnel is to the left out of the picture.