Coal, coal and more coal... The lively-hood of many whom reside in Southern West Virginia. Coal mining and railroading are what they depend on, and one of few remaining jobs. When the coal industry suffers, they suffer along with it. Declining traffic along many of NS' coal branches is staggering compared to ten years ago.
This vista shows a long string of Norfolk Southern top-gon coal cars marching, one-by-one across massive Black Lick Trestle in Kegley, W.Va on the morning of April 29th, 2013. Originating at Elmore Yard in Mullens, W.Va., it is likely that three or four cuts of cars in this train, was loaded at separate mines along the trackage of the former Virginian and made into one train at Elmore.
Coal is what built this area: it is the reason Henry Huddleston Rogers constructed the Virginian Railroad in the early 1900s. It wasn't because of freight transportation, but immense quantities of coal that he foresaw to bring huge profits upon transporting it to the coast.
The future is uncertain for this career and lively-hood that many depend on, but for now, the coal continues to roll out of West Virginia mines and to the coast for exportation.