SEEKING INFO/PHOTOS ON THE MIDDLE FORK RR : LUSENET : Shortline, Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railroading : One Thread

Looking for just about anything that I can find on this 10 mile shortline that ran from Ellamore WVA to Midvale WVA. It was operated by Moore Kepple Coal to serve their mine although it was originally built to serve the lumber industry in the area.

-- Thomas Rimer (, July 20, 1999


My first knowledge of the Middle Fork RR came from the MODEL TRAINS article and the line's half inch entry in the OFFICIAL GUIDE. Never set out to explore the line but kept stopping by on trips to the BC&G, Beech Mountain, WVN, and WM in the 1960s. By the time I first got to Ellamore in 1962 they were on their third diesel, a center cab Whitcomb with Buda engines. An earlier center cab was in the weeds out of service along with the Heisler and a two truck Climax. Word was that the first diesel, a 44 tonner not up to the job, had already been sold. On those early trips never got beyond Ellamore and the B&O interchange at Midvale.

Stopped by in early summer of 1966 to what was an active place. The railroad had been rebuild and in good shape. The mine at Cassity was hiring and expanding production. The #10 was on the property and working. Word with the crew was that the #10 had be purchased as US Air Force surplus for $7,000. Can anyone confirm this and if so from which installation?

Two months later after ROTC summer camp at Fort Bragg, I stopped by Ellamore again. What a change. The Cassidy mine had closed the previous Friday and the North Carolina owners had become a "land management" rather than a coal producing company. The railroad was scheduled to run the following day (Tuesday?) to pull the last of the Cassidy mine loads. Needless to say I stayed in the area to witness the last big run of the Middle Fork. The #10 ran light to Cassidy, worked the Cassidy mine and a small reclaim coal operation that was going through the Cassidy mine refuse pile, and departed for Ellamore. After several cars were switched out at Ellamore for later billing, the train proceeded to Midvale and placed the remaining loads on the B&O interchange. From Midvale the #10 made its way back to Ellamore and was put away in the single stall engine house. At least one of the final loads of Cassidy coal was destine to fire railroad steam engines. It was consigned to the Mount Washington Cog Railroad in New Hampshire.

The railroad had two other small customers at the time of the Cassidy mine closing: the Cassidy coal reclaim operation and a rustic garden fence mill at Ellamore. While I understand the railroad operated for several additional months, this was the last time I saw the Middle Fork operate. At least part of the line around Ellamore remained in place for several decades. In 1992 by chance I was passing through the area as this track was being removed with a front end loader. For a line I never set out to explore, I count myself fortunate to have gotten to know a little about the Middle Fork RR even if it was during lines last days.

-- Mark Metz (, September 11, 2002.

See "Hartland of the Middle Fork Revisited" by Shirley Gower. Was republished in 2000 by the Ralston Press Inc. of Buckhannon, W.V.

-- Alan Clarke (, October 30, 2001.


Write to Mountain State Railroad and Logging Historical Association, P. O. Box 89, Cass WV. Ask for a back issue list of their magazine 'The Log Train'. The issue which featured the Middle Fork RR was labeled Vol. 4, Issue 1 if I recall correctly, but it was really Vol. 3, Issue 1.


-- Max S. Robin, P.E. (, May 26, 2000.


We have the Middle Fork Heisler #7 down in N.C. Let me know if you get any information or have photos beyond Don Hensley's ?


-- Bill Conklin (, October 24, 1999.

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