Welcome to SACOM’s Railfan Guide:
Covering CSX’s Kanawha and adjoining C&O subdivisions

This railfan guide is an attempt to help out-of-area rail enthusiasts make the most out of the their trip to the heart of the C&O. The guide is focused on operations on the Kanawha, Logan, and Coal River subdivisions.

Click on images for a Google Maps link.

Kanawha Subdivision (Kenova – Montgomery, W.Va.)


A small hamlet at the western tip of West Virginia, Kenova, is where the C&O and N&W crossed, with the latter taking the higher route. One can sit here on just about any day of the week and witness a number of trains on both railroads. Norfolk Southern seems to run more, however. Their Kenova District (Pocahontas Division) is part of the “Heartland Corridor” and is major artery for intermodal, merchandise, unit, and mineral trains.

Kenova once hosted three railroads (C&O, N&W, and B&O) and a two-story union station to serve all three roads. The station no longer exists, but would’ve been located at about where the tall tree is in the photograph to the left. There is also a small interchange yard nearby. (Photo by Cory Claxon)

Spring Valley

Spring Valley lies between Kenova and Huntington. A defect detector at MP 507.1 is located near here. A little to the west, at Ceredo, is where SunCoke’s Kanawha River Terminal railroad switches loaded and empty hoppers with CSX. (Photo by Cory Claxon)

HO Cabin (West Huntington)

HO Cabin is located on Huntington’s west side, behind a Kroger store, along West 7th Avenue. It is here where trains can enter the Huntington Yard.

About two blocks east, is where a line once stretched north across eight city blocks to parallel the Ohio River and various industries that were once served by the railroad. During the summer of 2021, that section of track was abandoned and torn up.

The few industries left are now served by a similar route between 22nd and 24th Street. (Photo by Cory Claxon)

Huntington Amtrak Station

A good place to watch trains and activity in the yard is at Amtrak’s Huntington Station located near the intersection of 8th Avenue and 10th Street. Across the tracks and back to the west, the former C&O passenger depot can be seen. It’s located on Seventh Avenue.

On Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday the eastbound Cardinal (Train #50) arrives around 7:16 a.m. and the westbound Cardinal (Train #51) arrives around 9:44 p.m. barring any delays. This is a crew change location for Amtrak and is usually stopped here for few minutes while the train is handed off. (Photo by Cory Claxon)

Guyandotte (East Huntington)

Across the Guyandotte River on Huntington’s east side is small community which is the namesake of the river that separates it from downtown.

The C&O crosses this same river on it’s route. Interestingly, this where the former B&O line “Ohio River Subdivision” from Grafton join the C&O mainline. There is a double-track bridge over the bridge. It can only photographed from the east side off Buffington Street. (Photo by Jesse Smith)


The mainline is triple track from Guyandotte to Barboursville to accommodate for coal traffic coming off the Logan Subdivision. That third track has been out of service since March 2021 due to low traffic.

A large reclamation plant was located on the north side of the rails here, but was razed and sold to a property developer for a multi-unit mall called “Tanyard Station.” CSX’s bridge plant still operates here and is situated inside the wye for the Logan line. (Photo by Jesse Smith)

Blue Sulphur

Blue Sulphur was the location of a 1,316 ft. tunnel that was daylighted in 1930 and features a rock cut in a curve. (Photo by Jesse Smith)

East Milton

A bridge on East Mud River Road provides us this unique overhead angle. Further west is Blenko Glass Company that was once served by rail. (Photo by Jesse Smith)


Hurricane is probably one of West Virginia’s busiest small towns with a thriving Main Street district. The tracks have been a vestige of downtown since the town’s inception and was once the site of an explosive 2-6-6-2 (click for story).

A good vantage point is from the intersection of Putnam Avenue and the Main Street on the northside. There is enough room to park on the side of the road. (Photo by Cory Claxon)

Big Rock

Looking west, a nice curve is featured and a rock cut is featured looking east from this location. Behind the photographer is a rock outcropping, hence the name “Big Rock.” It is accessible from public road. (Photo by Cory Claxon)


Here at Scary, trains going to and coming from AEP’s John Amos Power Plant switch from the mainline to the Bills Creek IT.

In this area, C&O’s original mainline was rerouted here in favor of better gradients and doubletracking. (Photo by Jesse Smith)

West End Dock

An easily accessible shot is of West End Dock, the location of the west end of Dock Siding and a crossover. Trains from the Coal River Subdivision utilize the Dock Siding to head up toward the aforementioned AEP John Amos Power Plant via the Bills Creek IT.

This shot can be accessed via an overpass on WV 817 (old U.S. 35). (Photo by Jesse Smith)

East End Dock

Accessible from Rust Road, East End Dock is where the eastern end of Dock Siding accommodating Coal River coal trains converges with the mainline. (Photo by Jesse Smith)

St. Albans

A restored C&O Depot is still located along the mainline, originally built in 1910, and now owned by the City and managed by the local Chamber of Commerce.

In recent years, the depot was given a fresh coat of paint. It is a nice history piece and photo prop. Until recently, it also served as a stop on the annual New River Train.

Also near here is the junction with the Coal River Subdivision. Here, empty hopper trains will head south (railroad east) to various coal mines. Loads will return and head either west or east on the mainline. (Photo by Jesse Smith)


While coal was always C&O’s biggest commodity, bulk chemicals was also a feather in the company’s portfolio during its height.

Several companies chose Charleston, and the Kanawha Valley, to produce chemicals used in various industries all across the world. Today, those same chemical industries are still served by the railroad and continue to be important segment of the local economy.

Amtrak also serves Charleston on its thrice weekly Cardinal route from New York City to Chicago. In 2020 and 2021, Amtrak completely rebuilt the passenger platform to be meet ADA standards. (Photo by Jesse Smith)


An overhead curve shot at Marmet is available off the Rt. 94 bridge just as you get off the interstate.

One can frame the historic Ebenezer Chapel, upper left in this picture. The chapel was built by slaves in 1836. They were owned by Marmet’s first settler, Leonard Morris.

During the American Civil War, the chapel served as a military headquarters and hospital for the Union army. Russell Hansford managed to get the historic structure designated at a National Historic Landmark, saving it from destruction while the WV Turnpike was being built in 1974. (Photo by Jesse Smith)


C&O’s power scheme during the steam days was to order power for certain sections of the railroad. Compared to today, diesels of all types perform operations on almost any piece of railroad.

Handley was an important marshalling yard for coal in the steam days. Handley was well placed for the numerous coal mines nearby. All coal train, going either east or west, would stop here and trade off power.

Smaller road steam engines would be changed out for H-8 Alleghanys for the climb up the New River and over the Alleghany range. There was also numerous servicing facilities here to maintain the fleet of steam engines needed to move coal across the C&O system. Today, only the yard office and coal dock exists.

Today, this is where the Kanawha Subdivision changes to the New River Subdivision. (Photo by Jesse Smith)


Montgomery is technically on the New River Subdivision, and we’re only covering the Kanawha Subdivision in this guide. However, it’s close enough to Handley to mention.

Established on April 1, 1891, Montgomery grew with the construction of the C&O Railway, the Kanawha & Michigan Railroad (across the river), and the Virginian just a few miles east at Deepwater. It once was home to 26 different coal operations.

It was also home to WVU Tech for 122 years before it moved to Beckley in 2017.

Today, it’s just a stop on Amtrak’s Cardinal route.

Logan Subdivision (Barboursville – Logan, W.Va.)

Coal River Subdivision (St. Albans – Danville, W.Va.)

*Do NOT trespass on railroad OR private property for any reason.*
Always be mindful of your surroundings.