Thurmond's Decline Historical

Thurmond's Decline Historical (HM1VZ4)

Location: Thurmond, WV 25936 Fayette County
Country: United States of America

N 37° 57.534', W 81° 4.824'

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Inscription

New River Gorge National River

Look down the railroad tracks. You might see a train coming. But if you do, you won't see an engine fueled by coal, belching smoke and steam, as you would have during Thurmond's heyday. Instead, you will see an engine powered with diesel fuel.

Thurmond was a rail center, with a steam engine repair shop that employed up to 175 workers. But when the C&O Railway switched to diesel in the mid-1950s, the need for Thurmond's repair shop lessened. Combined with the decline of coal mining, the arrival of diesel brought Thurmond's golden era to an end.

Diesel Versus Steam
Why did rail lines switch from steam to diesel? Money, of course. In 1955 alone, diesels saved the C&O Railway 28 percent in operating costs, or $25 million. Diesels could start at the flip of a switch, travel long distances without costly repairs, and were more fuel efficient. They required fewer workers, too. Two men working a diesel replaced six on a heavy steam engine. Gone were machinists, boilermakers, and pipefitters. Gone, too, were repair centers like Thurmond.

(Inscription in the top of the image on the lower left)A diesel-powered passenger train rolls through Thurmond in 1984.

(Inscription below the image in the lower right) In a scene from busier days (above, 1946), steam engines await their turn at Thurmond's engine house.
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Details
HM NumberHM1VZ4
Tags
Placed ByNational Park Service US Department of Interior
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, November 28th, 2016 at 9:04am PST -08:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 492937 N 4201257
Decimal Degrees37.95890000, -81.08040000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 57.534', W 81° 4.824'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 57' 32.04" N, 81° 4' 49.44" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 96 Main St, Thurmond WV 25936, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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