Birds fly high above Thurmond, WV on the afternoon of May 18, 2021 as CSX #144 proceeds past the coaling tower with coal loads bound for Norfolk, VA from RJ Corman Railroad Group's, former C&O, Loup Creek Branch.
Built by Fairbanks-Morse of Chicago, Illinois, this coaling tower was abandoned by the C&O Railway in 1960. The coaling tower operated as such: coal hoppers were shoved into the center track underneath the coaling tower where their coal loads were dropped into a pit underneath the structure. Coal then dropped into the pit, into a conveyer belt, through a crusher to reduce the size of the coal for locomotive use and then was transported up a bucket elevator where the coal was emptied into the storage container. Locomotives on either side of the coaling tower could then refuel their tenders using the various chutes. The chutes on the this side of the coaling tower were used for trains on the mainline heading East and West on the New River Subdivision and the chutes on the opposite side (far right) were used to refuel locomotives heading to and from the Loup Creek branch.