St. Albans to Sproul

Lines in the Coal River Valley, south from St. Albans:

The lines are universally single track, with passing sidings as needed, often maintained to standards suitable only for quite low speeds, even though the loads they must bear are heavy coal trains. The lines are mostly alongside the streams in the centers of the various valleys, which are heavily wooded except where there are towns and villages, and of course coal company facilities. In spite of casual appearances, this area comprises not mountains arising from a plain, but rather river valleys cut into the Appalachian Plateau, a sloping flat area rising slowly from west to east, originating at about 800 ft. near Cincinnati and rising to over 3000 ft at the Appalachian Front on the eastern border of West Virginia. This explains why so many mountains in this state have flat tops!

At St. Albans (MP 465.1), there is a wye on the south side where the Coal River subdivision departs to the south, with a grade crossing within the east leg of the wye, single track, CTC, with speed limit 25 mph, past St. Albans Tunnel and Indian, turning west past Calvert, along the east bank of the Coal River, southwest through Armstrong Tunnel and then south, cutting off a bend in the river, making a counter-clockwise horseshoe to the northeast, along the riverbank again, and then following the river around to the south, past the 7,046 ft. west side siding at Coal River (MP 5.1), Upper Falls, a counter-clockwise horseshoe at Lincoln, following a bend in the river, to the north-northeast and then around to the southeast, past Fuquay and south, past the 10,425 ft. east side siding at Alum Creek (MP 11.5), a detector at MP 13.7, a turn east and then south again, and then south-southwest to the 4,850 ft. east side siding at Sproul (MP 15.0), where the Big Coal sub. departs on the east side, heading southeast, while the Coal River sub. continues southwest.