This website focuses on the rich coal and rail history of an 8-county area in West Virginia and identified historic and cultural sites for individuals interested in railroads and mining. The sites vary in term of access and level of interpretation, as noted on each individual page. Regardless of the degree of development, the sites represent unique aspects of West Virginia's railroad and mining history, and therefore, complement the better developed railroad and mining attractions throughout the state.

Click on any of the trains or coal carts on map below for more information about the rail and coal history of that area.

The Appalachian Regional Commission contracted with the We Make Things Happen Corporation (WMTH), in partnership with the firms of Barge, Waggoner, Sumner & Cannon (BWSC) and Economic Research Associates (ERA) to provide technical assistance to selected Appalachian counties in West Virginia for the development of marketable "trails" and "corridors". The goal was to strengthen the skills and build the capacity of leaders and organizations in distressed counties to develop and utilize their assets in a way that encourages authentic travel. This is the outcome of that effort. For more information about West Virginia Railroad and Coal History, visit

The Spine of the Virginias. Journeys along the border between Virginia and West Virginia, by Michael Abraham. Book published by Pocahontas Press. Mr. Abraham chips away at the West Virginia formation myth. He follows with a collection of contemporary vignettes of people and places on both sides of the border of Virginia and West Virginnia, in revealing looks at the interaction between a landscape and its people. (540) 392-1119 or email him at