This was originally published on Martha Sparks’ My West Virginia Mountain website and is reprinted here with her permission and our special thanks.
Construction on the C&O railway first moved eastward in 1872 toward Charleston, West Virginia, running a route through Teays Valley. When the railroad began its line, the Guyan River had provided obstacles that slowed the progress. A bridge had to be built across the river so the railroad could move eastward. The small steamboats and pushboats were the only means of travel between Guyandotte and Chapmanville. During the high water season, boats were able to travel on to Logan. This was the only means of transportation except for the narrow trails that could only be traveled by horse.
A need existed for a railroad line to be built up the river to Logan. The Guyan Valley Railroad was granted the charter in March 1, 1899, to construct a rail line from Barboursville up the Guyandotte River to Logan. Plans and surveys were taken but construction did not begin until spring of 1900. The work crew completed 25 miles of rail line to Midkiff, the first two years.
In December 1901, the Guyan Valley Line instituted its first round trip passenger train. A person could now take the train to Midkiff. They would then have to transfer to the steamboats for the journey to Chapmanville and then to Logan.
Looking for ways to expand its capital in the form of other rail lines, the C&O entered the picture in April 1902 to take over construction of the line to Logan. With the C&O offsetting construction costs, the line continued on toward Logan. The C&O finally took over the Guyan Valley Railroad Company on October 31, 1903. Construction moved southward along with train service and in November 1903, the passenger train began making round trips to Big Creek. With the arrival of the railroad, the small steamboats and pushboats soon went out of business.
The first passenger train reached to the town of Logan on September 9, 1904. This was a great day for Logan and Logan county because the railroad linked the two with the outside world. The people of Logan appreciated the railroad completion and a gala celebration was given in honor of the railroad.
With the rail link completed to Logan, many people needed transportation so they could find jobs in the coal mines that were opening. In November 1904, the C&O provided two eastbound and westbound passenger trains that departed from Barboursville at 6:05 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. opposite a 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. departure from Logan. The population of Logan and surrounding areas grew in large numbers as the passenger trains were filled to capacity.
The economy of the area around Logan increased with the completion of the line. The first car of coal was shipped Thanksgiving Day 1904 by the Gay Coal & Coke Company.
During the heyday of passenger service, seven regular trains made daily runs throughout the county.
Logan, WV City Hall and old Train Station