Iaeger to Bluefield

From the junction and yard at Iaeger (MP 422.3), where another long branch heads south to Cedar Bluff on the Norton line, just a couple of miles east of Richards, and the main line turns just north of due east, Two Main Tracks, Traffic Control (CTC), maximum speed 35 mph, passing the 11,120 ft. center siding (25 mph) starting at Sandy Huff (MP 419.3), where it turns curvily south-southeast, crossovers and the end of the siding at Wilmore (MP 418.1), turning east past Clear Fork Junction, where the Coalwood branch once left to the south, a tunnel, a turn southeast and then east again, detectors at MP 413.0, then through the Roderfield (MP 412.6) tunnels, and past the junction (MP 413.0) and 25 mph crossovers (MP 412.8) between them with the branch to Premier, off to the southeast, where the line turns curvily north-northeast to the 5,900 ft. siding at Claren (MP 410.3), and east, past Marytown, where a branch once left to the north, a tunnel, Twin Branch, and another tunnel.

After a bend to the south at the crossovers (25 mph) at Davy (MP 406.7), where a branch to Asco once headed east, the line turns curvily south-southeast past detectors at MP 406.7, a tunnel, Mohegan (MP 403.1), a turn east, another tunnel, a 7,000 ft. siding starting at Caples (MP 402.8), a turn south, Wharf (MP 401.4 on Track 1), where there is a spur, the end of the siding at Farm (MP 401.1), where there is an on-line concrete coaling tower and the line turns southeast to pass through the two Hemphill tunnels, Hemphill (MP 400.0), and Tug (MP 399.6), where, a branch heads south (MP 399.8) to Gary, Filbert and Black Wolf, turning east through another tunnel and then southeast to the crossovers (25 mph) at Welch (MP 398.1).

East of Welch are more tunnels and a narrowing valley, curvily (30 mph at MP 396.8) southeast past detectors at MP 396.7 and Maitland, where the line turns south-southeast, past the 3,300 ft. siding at Huger (MP 396.0) and the Huger Tunnels, east through Big Four Tunnel #2 and northeast through Big Four Tunnel #1 and past MP 394.2, where the maximum speed drops to 30 mph, the crossovers (25 mph) at Big Four (MP 393.7), where the speed limit drops to 30 mph and Vivian Tunnel to Kimball (MP 391.9), where a branch from Kings once trailed in and the main line turns southeast and then just north of due east (25 mph on curves from MP 390.4 to MP 389.6), the yard at Vivian (MP 390.8), where it makes a clockwise horseshoe back to the southwest and then turns southeast past Landgraff, south and then northeast past the yard at Eckman (MP 388.3), where a branch from Dan's once trailed in from the south and there are 25 mphcrossovers (MP 388.2).

The line turns southeast past Keystone (MP 387.3), north, east, south, and east again (25 mph on curves from MP 387.1 to MP 386.4) to North Fork (MP 387.0 on Track 2), where the speed limit returns to 40 mph and a line to Crumpler once headed northeast at a wye on the north side (where there is still a spur, MP 384.5) as the main line turns curvily south, past MP 386.3, where the maximum speed rises to 40 mph, a 35 mph speed restriction on a curve at MP 384.7, a 35 mph speed restriction on a curve at MP 383.9 the 7,100 ft. center siding (25 mph) at Powhatan (MP 383.5), east past the end of the siding at Crozier (MP 381.8), Elkhorn, and detectors at MP 381.0, just east of due south, and east again to crossovers (35 mph) at Maybeury (MP 378.2), where the line bridges over the main road on a through bowstring-truss bridge, two branches once left to the east, and the line turns south-southeast, through the long Elkhorn Tunnel, and past MP 374.8, where the maximum speed drops to 30 mph.

At Cooper, where a branch once trailed back in on the east side and the line turns south (25 mph on the curve at MP 373.8), a large trestle crosses the now-lifted former N&W line through Bramwell, immediately followed by Cooper Tunnel, crossovers (25 mph) at Bluestone (MP 373.6) where that branch once trailed in on the west side (and there is still a spur), Bluestone Junction  (MP 374.1), where another branch once left to the southwest and the speed limit drops to 35 mph, as the line turns southeast, south, east (25 mph on the curves from MP 372.7 to MP 372.3) to Nemours (MP 371.8), curvily south and then west past Flat Top (MP 370.6 on Track 1), where there is a small yard in this rare level area,  crosses into Virginia, turns curvily south, southeast past crossovers (30 mph) at Falls Mills (MP 369.3) and detectors at MP 368.8, east, south past Hale, east at Bluefield, VA (MP 366.3), where there is a crossover (30 mph, MP 366.2), the maximum speed rises to 35 mph (MP 366.2), the line from St. Paul trails in from the west on the south side (MP 366.19), and re-enters West Virginia heading just north of due east, past detectors at MP 365.4, Arch (MP 364.4), MP 364.0, where the maximum speed drops to 25 mph, Allen Street (MP 363.6), where Yard Limits start (MP 363.4), there is an on-line coaling tower still standing, and there is only a single main track past the large yard at Bluefield, WV (MP 363.1), and the East Yard Office, where double track resumes. The line between Iaeger and Bluefield was operated by overhead electric catenary between the early 1920s and 1950.

The large yard at Bluefield, at an altitude of 2,528 ft., is at the top of the grade from both directions—the westbound climb out of the New River Valley at Radford, and the eastbound climb from the Tug Fork River at Williamson and Matewan. The valleys near the upper end of the west slope—the Pocahontas line—are narrow and thickly wooded, with room only for road and railroad (and a stream of some variety) at the bottom in many parts.