The West Virginia Central Railroad (WVCR) is located near the center of the state and passes through Barbour, Randolph, Pocahontas and Webster counties. It was purchased from CSX Transportation on September 26, 1997. The railroad is comprised of the former CSXT Belington, Tygart and Laurel Subdivisions and Dailey Branch. It has a total of 132.13 route miles. The WVCR connects with CSXT’s Cowen Subdivision at Tygart Junction. A private company under contract with the state operates the WVCR. The Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad (D&GV) performs all marketing, train service and routine maintenance on the line. The state restores out-of-service sections to operation and performs long-term maintenance programs.
Freight service is currently available on the 28.4 miles between Tygart Junction and Elkins and over a portion of the Dailey Branch. Frequency of service is one to two trains per week.
D&GV has two excursions running on different portions of the WVCR. The “Tygart Flyer” is an excursion train operating between Belington and Elkins. It features streamlined passenger cars that had formerly operated in the Norfolk Southern steam train program. The “Flyer” runs on certain weekends during the summer and fall. The “Cheat Mountain Salamander” is a British railbus that makes round trips between Cheat Bridge and the “Big Cut” near Spruce.
In addition to the opening of the Dailey Branch, another project will provide an interchange track at Tygart Junction. This double-ended side track will facilitate the exchange of freight cars with CSXT and eliminate a long shoving movement from Belington. The side track will also enable the “Tygart Flyer” to make the scenic run to Tygart Junction by permitting the locomotive to change ends of the train for the return to Belington.
Floods damaged several miles of the WVCR between Elkins and Spruce in 1996. After repairs are made in 2000, approximately 110 of the WVCR’s 132 miles will be open for train service.