From the wye junction with the Wayne Branch (MP 567.8), north end of the erstwhile Old Main Line heading southeast (and connecting to the former C&O line below), today's line turns west, past the junction (west end of the wye) with the Kenova Belt Line (MP 59.13), and the west end of the yard at Kenova (MP 58.8), and then south, along the east bank of the Big Sandy River, past MP 57.7, where the maximum speed rises to 40 mph, the crossovers (30 mph on the crossovers) at 57 Crossover (MP 57.0), where Track 2 becomes current-of-traffic (Rule 251), and the 9,100 ft. siding at Neal (MP 55.9), on Track 2), south-southeast, south-southwest, past detectors at "Cyrus (MP 52.0), where the maximum speed rises to 50 mph, and the 9,530 ft. siding at Cyrus (MP 51.2), on Track 1, south and then east-southeast, past MP 47.0, where the maximum speed drops tp 45 mph, and the 10,600 ft. center siding (20 mph from MP 46.5 to MP 45.0, then 25 mph to MP 43.5), from Prichard (MP 46.5), turning south-southeast, with a 40 mph speed restriction on the curve at MP 44.3, past a crossover (25 mph) at MP 43.8, to Dean (MP 43.5), and past a crossover at MP 43.1, and Hubbardstown, and west past detectors at "Hewlet" (MP 40.1), where the maximum speed drops to 40 mph, and the 9,700 ft. siding at Hewlet (MP 39.2).
The line turns south, southeast, south, east-southeast, and south-southeast, all following the river, past the Fort Gay House Track (MP 33.9), Fort Gay (MP 33.8), the split between the Big Sandy River, heading away south-southwest, and the Tug Fork River, heading curvily south-southeast, with the line following its east bank, past the spur for Model Dredging (MP 31.8)crossovers at See (MP 31.0), detectors at "Glenhayes" (MP 27.9), the 9,460 ft. siding at Glen Hayes (MP 24.7), the Glen Hayes House Track (MP 24.5), and MP 22.5, where the maximum speed drops to 35 mph for the curves (all following the river) south-southwest, just north of due east, south, west, south past the 9,485 ft. siding at Webb (MP 18.2), where there is a Hot Box Track, ,southeast, southwest, south-southwest, past Tunnel 7 (MP 16.0), where single track starts, through the eponymous tunnel, south-southeast through Tunnel 6, east, away from the river, through Tunnel 5, past Tripp, MP 14.8, where the maximum speed rises to 40 mph, and Sloan Spur (MP 14.6), southeast, through Tunnel 4, and past a detector at MP 13.1, MP 12.6, where Two Main Tracks resume (35 mph on the turnout), "Tunnel 4" (MP 12.4), where the line rejoins the river bank, the Crum Team Track (MP 11.2), MP 9.5, where the maximum speed drops to 35 mph, and the Stonecoal Bad Order Track (MP 8.3).
There is a turn to the south, south-southeast, southwest, past MP 7.5, where single track starts, and the spur at Steptown (MP 7.4), south with a 30 mph speed restriction on the curve at MP 7.4, through Tunnel 3 and Tunnel 2, past Grey Eagle (MP 6.4), where Two Main Tracks resume, turning south-southeast, with a 30 mph speed restriction on the curve at MP 5.9, past Wolf Creek (MP 4.2), where single track starts, the junction (25 mph on the junction) with the Wolf Creek Branch (MP 4.10), the junction with teh Upper Burning Creek Branch (MP 4.0), Tunnel 1, and the 11,600 ft. siding at Panco (MP 3.0), where Two Main Tracks resume, very curvily south-southeast, past the junction with the Lenore Branch (MP 0.3), south end of the erstwhile Old Main Line, coming from the northeast, and the 3,650 ft. siding at Naugatuck (MP 0.0), and even more curvily, past a detector at "Maher" (MP 482.6), finally tuning southwest, south past the 6,800 ft. siding at Nolan (MP 477.6), on Track 1, the junction on the west side with the Nolan Spur (MP 477.5), and the Nolan House Track (MP 477.4).
The curves smooth out, as the line heads south-southeast, still following the Tug Fork River, past Armen, Hatfield, the 4,000 ft. siding at Borderland (MP 475.6), Borderland Storage (MP 474.8), and the Chattaroy House Track (MP 473.7), where an erstwhile mine spur once headed east, southwest, south-southeast past Goodman, south through the Mingo Tunnel, making a counter-clockwise horseshoe back to the north-northeast, following a bend in the river, and then clockwise to south-southeast, into Williamson (MP 469.7).
The 90-mile segment of the former N&W from Williamson to Bluefield is heavily engineered over its entire length, with double track flowing through broad sweeping curves with tunnels and bridges as necessary to minimize both curvature and ruling grade. Although the line climbs steadily from the banks of the Tug Fork River at Williamson to the top of the grade at Bluefield, there are no famous steep grades along the line, minimizing the need for helper stations to add and remove helpers along the way.† The double track, CTC, ABS, line, with speed limit 40 mph, follows the Tug Fork as far as Welch, and then Elkhorn Creek as far as Elkhorn Tunnel.
From Williamson (MP 469.7), where the depot is on the east side of the line, the line is only single track (outside the yard), and in Yard Limits, the line heads south-southeast, past the former roundhouse in Williamson, on the west side of the line, now Norfolk Southernís car shops, the yard on the west side of the line at East Williamson (MP 468.1), and the wye on the west side of the yard with the Aflex Branch and several other former branches, turning east, along the east bank of the Tug Fork River, and leaving the south end of Williamsonís North Yard at Sycamore, where Yard Limits end and the double track, CTC, starts, curvily southeast, following the river, curvily south past crossovers at Rawl (MP 465.7), detectors at MP 464.0, and Merrimac, and then curvily east, still following the river.
At Sprigg (MP 463.0), the branch to the Sprouse Creek Prep Plant leaves to the north, just west of the crossing of the Tug Fork on through truss bridges, turning east-southeast and entering the two parallel Hatfield Tunnels in Kentucky, and at the other end of the tunnels, crossing the river again on two more through truss bridges, heading south, and back in West Virginia, the line turns just north of due east, and then turns east-southeast and enters Matewan (MP 460.9), where the depot is on the west side of the line as it turns south-southwest through the concrete flood wall, and the branch to Mitchell and Red Jackets departs to the east.
The line turns south-southeast, past McCarr, east and then just west of due south, turning east past the 11,150 ft. siding at White (MP 459.0), south at Thacker (MP 456.4), where the Colonel Mine branch once trailed in from the east, past detectors at MP 455.4, with another coal branch to Old Ben Mine #20 leaving to the east at Lick Fork Junction, turning west, still following the river, past crossovers at Delorme (MP 453.7), making a counter-clockwise horseshoe within a river bend, to the east-southeast past Arrow, south and then east to Vulcan (MP 452.2), and north-northeast, east, round a clockwise horseshoe on a river bend back to the west-southwest, then a counter-clockwise horseshoe within a river bend at Cedar (MP 449.9), where the Majestic Branch heads away to the south, and east past detectors at MP 447.9, southeast past Beech creek, south and east again, and then south, past Devon (MP 446.7).
At Buchanan Branch Junction, where the line turns east, the long Buchanan Branch south from Richards, on the Norton line, trails in from the south through a tunnel located in Kentucky immediately south of the wye with the main line, the legs of which are located on bridges across the Tug Fork.