The Town the Railroad Built
As the railroad grew, the town grew. The deep river gorge and steep mountains were the reason the railroad required helpers. The steep grades going east and west required two or three steam locomotives to move coal and freight trains--sometimes two on the front and two on the back. The town was named after an engineer for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and aptly so. The high point of railroading here was during WWII when dozens of trains moved in both directions daily assisting in the war effort. Rowlesburg was almost buried in smoke, soot and cinders from the many trains rumbling through town. At the peak of the steam era, 21 huge Mallet locomotives were stationed at M&K Junction on the edge of Rowlesburg helping trains up the mountains out of Cheat Valley. Following the war, steam engines gave way to diesels in 1949 and the station was closed as a major repair shop in the 1960s. Still, the helpers are there doing their job.
Two helpers pushing a coal drag up Cranberry out of Rowlesburg.
Early Rowlesburg steam engine probably used for switching cars.
M&K Shops during the steam era--from Howard Hotel postcard.
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