The Belva Railroad Bridge carried the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Greendale (Gauley) Branch over the Gauley River in Belva, West Virginia.
Between 1893-94, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad (C&O) constructed the 14.2-mile Greendale Branch between Gauley (now Gauley Junction) along the New River northward along the Gauley River and the waters of Twenty Mile Creek to Greendale. 1 5 The route included the erection of a 1,126-foot, seven-span Warren deck truss and pile trestle bridge over the Gauley River. 4 7
The Greendale Branch later became known as the Gauley Branch and was used by the C&O’s successors Chessie and CSX Transportation (CSXT). Coal traffic along the line steadily declined throughout much of the 20th century as many of the early underground coal mines were exhausted.
In July 2012, CONSOL Energy idled its Fola surface coal mining site and its two associated preparation plants because of the depressed market demand for bituminous coal for power generation, coking and steel making, regulatory pressures by the Environmental Protection Agency, and costs associated with litigation by the various environmental groups. 3 The mine was the last customer along the Gauley Branch, and the Belva Railroad Bridge was placed out of service afterward.
In October 2016, CONSOL sold its Fola surface coal mining operations and associated preparation plants to Booth Energy. 2 The company expected to restart operations but the collapse of bituminous coal usage for power generation in lieu of natural gas has stalled the project.
- State: West Virginia
- Route: CSXT
- Type: Warren Deck Truss
- Status: Abandoned / Closed
- Total Length: 1,126 feet
- Main Span Length: 103 feet
- Navigational Clearance:
- “A Timeline of Gauley River History.” Gauley River National Recreation Area. National Park Service, 3 June 2013. Article.
- “Booth Energy to Acquire CONSOL Energy’s Miller Creek and Fola Thermal Coal Complexes, West Virginia.” Mining Connection, 27 Jul. 2016.
- Olson, Thomas. “Consol idling W.Va. mine, laying off 318 workers.” TribLive, 29 Jun. 2012.
- Hunter, William M. Cultural Resource Analysts, 2013, pp. 59–62, A Cultural Historic Survey for the Hawks Nest-Glen Ferris Hydroelectric Project.
- Rice, Otis K., and Lyle M. Blackwell. West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, 1986, Gauley Bridge Historic District Survey.
- GAI Consultants. West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, 2003. K&M Railroad Right of Way.
- Collier, Patricia A. West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, 1992, Bridge #70.