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                   Monday, January 21, 2008 - 5:30PM

CSX's ex-abandoned Cabin Creek, WV branch

By DAN ROBINSON
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A few shots from Cabin Creek on Friday:

Yes, that is a basketball court installed across the road with an old aluminum road sign for a backboard. A closer shot:

One of my interests from my earlier railfanning years was the subject of abandoned lines. I had a fascination with exploring old rights-of-way that had been long since retired from service, some with the track removed and a few with nothing but a tree and weed-covered flat path through the woods to mark the fact that there had once been trains running there. The eastern end of the old Virginian Railway, B&O's Wheeling-Pittsburgh branch (from Washington to Wheeling), C&O's Paint Creek branch, the Elk River railroad, the Waynesburg and Washington narrow gauge line, and the C&O Keeney's Creek branch just to name a few are routes that one can only imagine what it was like to see steam locomotives roaring through what is now desolate woods.

Every once in a rare while, a railroad finds a reason to re-open an abandoned line, which to me is a great thing to see. Such a re-opening of a near-abandoned route happened on the Cabin Creek branch in southeastern Kanawha County, WV when a new coal mine was opened at Red Warrior in 1995. New track was installed from the mine all the way to the mainline at the Kanawha River, and to this day the branch sees between 2 and 4 trains daily.

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