Tracing Train History Along the New River Gorge Railroad Tracks

Trek the old tracks in the New River Gorge back in time to the rail boom.

Here are some of the best ways to explore the rail history in the gorge:

Thurmond Depot

Thurmond Depot

Thurmond Railroad Days on July 19, 2014 is the perfect time to explore the Thurmond Depot and historic district. Take tours through the town or hike the Rend rail line trail. Let the kids learn train safety, get their photo taken or try to use an old handcart.

Thurmond was once one of the most booming rail towns in the country. It sat along the C&O Railroad line, where tons of coal rolled through daily. The banks in this popular coal baron town were the richest in West Virginia. Learn more about its history and stories at the visitor's center in the old depot.

Prince Depot

The gorgeous art deco design of the Prince Depot was ahead of its time. Also along the C&O line, it was designed for energy efficiency as well as elegant style, with massive windows and a shady platform canopy. You can still see the original "Chessie" kitten logo in slumber on the waiting room floor. Amtrak still runs occasional trains from the station, but the area is otherwise serenely quiet and tucked away.

Kenneys Creek Rail Trail

Enjoy the scenery with a hike or a bike down the Kenneys Creek Rail Trail. The mountain terrain maintains a 4% grade, passing the coal tipple that towers over the abandoned Nuttalburg town. You'll also cross over trestle bridges, giving you a great view of the streams below.

New River Train Excursions

If you're looking for a real rail experience, take New River Train Excursion. In the fall, when the canopies are ablaze with color, you can take a ride along the rails through the mountain landscapes. The whole family can enjoy the scenery as you gaze out over the New River Gorge Bridge, Sandstone Falls, and Grandview on your way to Hinton, WV, for the Railroad Days Festival.

What's your favorite way to explore rail history?