Preserved 2-8-0 No. 14 at the Gaithersburg Community Museum in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

(jpmueller99, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


BC&G logo.


The Buffalo Creek and Gauley Railroad (BC&G) was a railroad chartered on April 1, 1904 and ran along Buffalo Creek in Clay County, West Virginia. The original Buffalo Creek and Gauley ended service in 1965.

The BC&G was one of the last all-steam railroads, never operating a diesel locomotive to the day it shut down on February 27, 1965. Its primary purpose was to bring coal out of the mountains above Widen to an interchange with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at Dundon.



Beginning at Dundon, the line ran east along Buffalo Creek to a terminus 18 miles (29 km) away at Widen. Along the way, it passed marked locations at Avoca, Sand Fork, the company towns of Cressmont and Swandale, and Eakle. Swandale contained the sawmill for lumber operations of the Elk River Coal and Lumber Company (ERC&L) and there was a small dairy at Cressmont. The railroad terminates at the Rich Run Coal mine yard in Widen.

At Avoca, the ERC&L logging line ran about 9 miles (14 km) out in the woods where the logging was done during the final years of operations.

After the BC&G ended operations in 1965, it was reactivated in 1971 by the Majestic Mining Company to serve a mine at Widen. The company used an Alco S-2 for power on the formerly all-steam route; the operation concluded in 1985. The line was again reactivated in the mid-1990s when the Elk River Railroad, Inc. (TERRI) reopened the route to Avoca to serve a mine there. The operation lasted until 1999, when American Electric Power (AEP) determined the coal to be too poor in quality.



Some of the BC&G's equipment, as well as that of its sister railroad the Elk River Coal & Lumber Co. have been preserved, some in operating condition.

BC&G Consolidation No. 4 was owned by the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, North Carolina. It operated in tourist service until 2001. It was subsequently purchased by the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad, which intends to restore it for operation between Durbin and Cass, West Virginia.

BC&G Consolidation No. 13 is owned by Jerry Joe Jacobson and is stored at the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek, Ohio, where it, along with all other equipment in the roundhouse, can be viewed by the public on tours the museum offers. Consolidation No. 14 is on static display outside Gaithersburg, Maryland's commuter rail station.

ERC&L Shay No. 19 is on display in Ohio. Climax No. 3 is owned by the Roaring Camp and Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad in California, but is not serviceable.

The ERC&L's American log loader and bobber logging caboose are both restored and on display at the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park in Cass, West Virginia.

BC&G Mikado No. 17 had been initially preserved on the Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad but was scrapped in 1970 following the locomotive's sale to a private owner who found it to be mechanically irreparable.

At one time the Elk River Railroad ran modern diesels from Gassaway, through Dundon and a branch to a coal loading facility at Avoca then from Dundon to Hartland.


Buffalo Creek & Gauley No. 4: Coal, Tourism, & Rebirth

The Appalachian region of the United States has seen its fair share of steam locomotives. From conventional side-rod driven locomotives to more unique designs like Shays, Heislers, and Climaxes, Appalachia had it all. Tucked away in the mountains of West Virginia though was the Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad who had their own share of unique steam locomotives. Charted on April 1st, 1904, the BC&G ran 18 miles east to west hauling timber and coal to an interchange point with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The railroad primarily used second-hand B&O engines. Their only brand new engine was No. 4, originally destined for Mexico. In this video, the history of the Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad is celebrated along with its famous 2-8-0, known to some as "Ole' Slobberface".


Locale: Clay County, West Virginia
Dates of operation: 1904–1965
Successor: Elk River Railroad
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length: 18-mile (29 km) mainline


See Also:

Railroads A-Z