Grafton’s B&O Station
Revisiting a Railroad Treasure
By Bob Withers
I first saw the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad’s Grafton station and hotel in the wee hours of a hot June morning in 1958. I was a 13-year-old rail buff from Huntington, and the B&O was my favorite railroad. My hometown was located near the end of a branchline, and I wanted to experience the B&O’s mainline glories. So my mother and I were riding the National Limited to Baltimore for a firsthand look at the railroad’s headquarters city. But I didn’t have to go that far to find what I sought.
We pulled into Grafton at 12:51 a.m. — on time. I found out that while we were there, our streamlined diesels would be replaced by powerful freight engines for the grueling eastbound trip over the mountains. But I couldn’t see their numbers. So I bounded to the front of our coach and asked our uniformed coach attendant, who was busy helping passengers board, to find out for me. The woman, obviously near retirement, looked a little surly at first. But she was not. She shouted to the conductor down on the station platform. He gave her the critical data, which I promptly recorded in my tablet.
At that moment, glancing out the car’s Dutch door, I saw it — an elegant, three-story, 16,000-square-foot Beaux Arts passenger station. It had cost the railroad $125,000 when it was built literally into the hillside almost a half-century before. Huntington never had anything like this!
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