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The Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad was built in 1904 from Widen to Dundon, Clay County, where it connected to the Coal & Coke Railroad (later B&O). The railroad’s owner, Elk River Coal & Lumber Company, operated a mine at Widen. In 1916, the company built a sawmill at Swandale, and a logging railroad to serve it. The organizations were part of the Clay County empire of legendary industrialist J. G. Bradley.

By the early 1960s, the Buffalo Creek & Gauley was well known for its all-steam operations, rare by that time. The company was sold to Clinchfield Coal Company in 1958, the sawmill to Georgia-Pacific in 1963, and the steam locomotives were retired. Since the Widen mine closed, the railroad has been used intermittently, most recently as part of the coal-hauling Elk River Railroad in the late 1990s. Five of the Buffalo Creek & Gauley steam locomotives are preserved, but none are in West Virginia.

This Article was written by George Deike

Last Revised on August 29, 2017


Cite This Article

Deike, George "Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 29 August 2017. Web. 13 December 2017.

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