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Paint Bank, VA and Waitsville, WV Origins

On April 9, 1999 Dean Carroll wrote..."We were driving around Southwest Virginia the other day and happened upon a suspicious looking building in Paint Bank, Va. There was no sign of a RR anywhere, nor any obvious place where one could have been. Since my trusty digital camera was handy, I took this photo."

Dean continued..."you will notice the overhang on the first floor and the bay window betray the building as a depot. Fortunately, the lady in the general store across the street confirmed that it was indeed a RR station and that the road had replaced the railroad sometime in the 1930's. She also claimed that there is a turntable pit nearby but it was on private property and being law-abiding, i.e., chicken, we didn't look. 

I would be interested in knowing what line the station (and it's twin in Waitsville WVA below, some 10 miles West across the WV border) were built for. Paint Bank is about 30 miles due north of the Roanoke/Salem area, way up in the mountains. 

Ed Weber sent me an excerpt from Norfolk and Western Railway Pochahontas Coal Carrier, by Richard E. Prince (Privately published. Millard, NE: 1980.) It reads as follows.

"Big Stony Railway was organized about 1892 and by 1896 had completed its line of 101/2 miles from a connection with the N&W Railway at Big Stony (Potts Valley) Junction, Va., across the New River and up to Interior, Va.  The road was constructed primarily to haul lumber for the Interior Lumber Company and iron ore for the Big Stony Mining Company.  In 1898 the Big Stony Railway was reported to own one locomotive and during the early 1900's the entire railroad was leased to the Porterfield Lumber Company."

"In 1905 the N&W Rwy. acquired the Big Stony Railway and between 1907 and 1910 extended the road 28 miles, passing through a section of West Virginia and then back into Virginia over to Paint Bank.  This line, which ran in the valley west of Potts Mountain, soon became known as the 38 1/2 mile Potts Valley Branch of the N&W Rwy that extended from Potts Valley Junction (about one mile west of Ripplemead, Va.), up in the area north of New River as far as Paint Bank.  In 1932 that 34 miles of track above Oehl, Va., to Paint Bank was abandoned, leaving a branch of about 5 miles in length that included the New River bridge and terminated at Kerns, Va."

Thanks, Ed.

This page was last updated Sunday, April 30, 2000

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