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West Virginia Archives and History Library

The Norfolk and Western Railroad: Its Ohio Extension and Kenova District
November 16, 2017

On Thursday, November 16, 2017, rail historian and author Tim Hensley will present "The Norfolk and Western Railroad: Its Ohio Extension and Kenova District" in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston. The program will begin at 6:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Although Chesapeake & Ohio rails first reached what is now Kenova in 1879, it did not burgeon as a rail center until the Norfolk & Western completed its Ohio Extension in 1892. A Baltimore & Ohio branch line, which extended down from Pittsburgh/Wheeling, also terminated in the town. But the N&W emerged as the dominant local transportation player. Serving as a spawning point that converted the fledgling rail company from a sleepy, Confederate agrarian road into a major Atlantic-Midwest trunk route and Great "Pocahontas Coal Carrier," the town:sporting a roundhouse, yards, running-repair car shops and division offices headquartered in the 1894-constructed Union Station:further burgeoned when the Big Sandy Low Grade Line was opened to traffic in late 1904.

Down through the years, approximately 30 passenger trains a day and a multitude of freights from four railroads called or originated/terminated at the bi-level Union Station, at a point where more coal traditionally passes than any other place in the world. Anchoring the venue is the 3,886-foot-long Ohio River Bridge and approach viaduct that was said to be among the top 10 targets of the Germans during WWII.

Tim Hensley graduated from Marshall University in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. He is a former CSX resident vice president-WV, who served more than 13 years as an Amtrak passenger engineer on The Cardinal. Proprietor of The Trainmasters House bed & breakfast, his Kenova home also incorporates the offices of Pocahontas Productions, a rail and history-oriented publishing venture that first released Cass Scenic Railroad: Fifty Years a State Park; A Century Of Steam On Bald Knob (2013). He and his business partner co-wrote Three Times A Lady: A History of N&W Class J No. 611 (2016) and are currently working on books about the N&W Class A 2-6-6-4 and N&W stations. Hensley also writes a quarterly column for Railfan & Railroad Magazine.

Participants may park behind the Culture Center after 5:00 p.m. on November 16 and enter the building at the back loading dock area. There also is limited handicapped parking available in the new bus turnaround.

For additional information, contact the Archives and History Library at (304) 558-0230.

West Virginia Archives and History Workshops/Lectures

West Virginia Archives and History