Did VGN passenger trains run west to Kentucky?

Q: [From Don Mills, editor of the "Gondola Gazette" newsletter of the C. P. Huntington NRHS chapter in Huntington, WV. ]

I heard something that I could not believe so I thought I would come to the source. Someone was telling us that in teh 1930's the Virginian Railway ran a passenger train via the New York Central into Charleston, and then changed to C&O tracks, [proceeding through Huntington and Kenova WV, into Cattletsburg or Ashland KY. I have never heard of this before, but it appears feasible [from a routing point of view].

A: [Roger Nutting, Jr.]

What you have heard is close to true, from a passenger's point of view.When the VGN was first built, it had a western connection with the C&O at Deepwater. (South bank of the Kanawha.) Part of the passenger service included coach and sleeper service through West Deepwater on the C&O to western destinations. This may initially been VGN trains forwarded by C&O, but later bacame a function of changing trains at West Deepwater. When the VGN built the bridge across the Kanewha to the NYC (Kanawha & Michigan) in 1930, timetables indicate that the VGN ran its trains directly over the NYC to the K&M station at Charleston, with no stops. Passengers could transfer to NYC trains there. The sleeper dropped off by the mid 30's, with coach service lasting until the mid 50's.

[Posted 21-Nov-99]

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