Follow the N&W’s main
line, branch lines, and
spurs as the railway hauls
coal from West Virginia’s
– the heart of the
“Billion Dollar Coalfield”
NWHS member, Alex Schust, tells
the story of the first 100 years of
the industrialization of McDowell
County by following the N&W
as it tunneled through Coaldale
Mountain to reach the mining
operations on Elkhorn Creek in
1888, through the construction of
the last major mining operation at
Munson, WV in 1947.
Schust uses the necessary quartet
of land ownership, coal operators,
railroad and labor to provide a
record of coal mining in McDowell
County. But more than that, he
tells why Pocahontas Coal became
the world standard and the role
the N&W played in making it so.
While “Billion Dollar Coalfield” is a book about coal mining it will become the railfan’s indispensable
guide to the N&W in McDowell County. Schust uses over 10 years of research and
N&W siding agreements, engineering drawings, coal contracts, correspondence and other material
to write about coal mining along the N&W main line from Maybeury to Wyoming, along
with operations on North Fork, Dans, Kings, Tug Fork, Sand Lick, Superior, Twin Branch, Spice
Creek, Clear Fork, Dry Fork, Caretta, and Jacobs Fork Branch lines and their spurs and extensions.
Besides technical and contractual data to produce an industrial history, Schust uses diaries, letters,
interviews and articles to flavor the history with the thoughts of the people who made it!
Hardcover with 640 pages, 516 B/W photographs, 102 maps and includes letterheads from 47 of the original companies in the coalfield.