Trains.com

O. Winston Link's Private Branch Line

2619 views
5 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: Northern New Mexico
  • 465 posts
O. Winston Link's Private Branch Line
Posted by rjemery on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 10:33 AM

In his later years, O. Winston Link was so fond of a branch line, I think in West Virginia, that he purchased it from the N&W when the railroad chose to abandon it.  In a station thereon, he also was married.

What was that branch line, and what became of it now that Link has passed away?

RJ Emery near Santa Fe, NM

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 11,914 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 10:54 AM
Could it have been the Abington, Va. - West Jefferson, NC branch that was later made into a trail? 
  • Member since
    August 2003
  • From: Northern VA
  • 484 posts
Posted by feltonhill on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 4:16 PM
Link wanted to buy the Abingdon Branch, but never did because of the enormous maintenance cost.  He never purchased the line, which ran from Abingdon, VA to West Jefferson, NC.  He was married to his second wife, Conchita, at the Green Cove station which was located on the branch in VA.
  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: Northern New Mexico
  • 465 posts
Posted by rjemery on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 6:00 PM

Near as I can tell, that circuitous route is about 50 miles in length, with a large number of bridges and culverts.  I presume Link was not interested in the entire branch, just the Virginia portion perhaps, but even so, it would have taken considerable effort to keep that track in good enough condition to run a train over it, which I assume was at least a goal.  On that Abingdon-West Jefferson branch, Green Cove is more than half way from railhead Abingdon.  That’s still a substantial portion if Link desired a connection to the mainline.

What was Link thinking?  Did Link wish to make the line into a tourist attraction?

I have seen pictures from the area, and the scenery is spectacular.

When and what prompted N&W to create that branch?   What was its commercial purpose?

RJ Emery near Santa Fe, NM

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 11,914 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 9:02 PM
Back in the 50s when roads were very bad especially in western NC a monster snowstorm shut roads and the Abingdon branch. N&W imported a ROTARY because of drifts and mounted a snow train and two relief trains from Bristol to West Jefferson, Most ever activity on the branch. Anyone know more details? Maybe why Link wanted to buy it.
  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: Northern New Mexico
  • 465 posts
Posted by rjemery on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 9:43 PM
The Green Cove station, though small and where Link re-married, did have a ticket window, passenger waiting room, and a freight office.  Therefore, that line had to have some regular traffic at some time in the past.

RJ Emery near Santa Fe, NM

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy