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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Kimball in McDowell County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
 

Heartland Corridor Project

Kimball

 

— National Coal Heritage Trail —

 
Heartland Corridor Project Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, July 24, 2021
1. Heartland Corridor Project Marker
Inscription.  The West Vivian Tunnel (approximately 820 feet west of this sign) was constructed about 1907 by the Norfolk and Western Railway (N&W, now Norfolk Southern Corporation), and is named for a small unincorporated community about one mile east of Kimball. The tunnel was excavated through medium to thick-bedded sandstone of the Pocahontas Formation and lined with about 30 inches of concrete. The tunnel was modified during the Heartland Corridor project to allow passage of double-stacked shipping containers. Most of the tunnel liner was notched (for an average of 20 inches on either side of the tunnel crown), and parts of the liner near the west portal were replaced. Minor modifications were also made to horizontal clearance in parts of the tunnel, and drainage throughout the tunnel was improved.

The Heartland Corridor rail clearance project involved a series of engineering efforts undertaken to allow trains to transport double-stacked containers of cargo through tunnels and across bridges along the Norfolk Southern rail line between the Port of Virginia and Columbus, Ohio and other destinations in the Midwest. Improvements were
Coal Company Town and Heartland Corridor Project Markers image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, July 24, 2021
2. Coal Company Town and Heartland Corridor Project Markers
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made to tunnels and bridges along the route, and terminals in Portsmouth and Columbus were upgraded to process the increased amounts of goods transported. The project was funded by the federal government; state agencies in Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio; and Norfolk Southern Corporation.

Vertical clearance was increased in 28 tunnels (see map to right), and 24 other overhead obstructions were cleared. Of the 28 tunnels modified, 15 needed to have the roof excavated and the liner replaced. Seven tunnels were notched to allow passage of the containers, and tracks were lowered or realigned at six tunnels. Many of the tunnels also required drainage improvements. In total, 5.7 miles of tunnel were modified.

Construction for the Heartland Corridor project began in October 2007 and was completed in September 2010. As part of this work, Norfolk Southern Corporation sponsored documentation of 116 bridges and tunnels along the old N&W line between Belspring, Virginia, and Bull, West Virginia. Norfolk Southern Corporation and the federal and state agencies involved are proud of their cooperation and achievement. The project has been called the most ambitious railroad engineering project of the past century, and represents the continued importance of rail transportation to the nation’s economy.
 
Erected by National Coal Highway
World War Memorial and Markers image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, July 24, 2021
3. World War Memorial and Markers
Markers are on the southeast corner of the building, facing the sidewalk.
Authority, the U.S. Department of Transporatation Federal Highway Administration, and Norfolk Southern.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical month for this entry is September 2010.
 
Location. 37° 25.506′ N, 81° 30.377′ W. Marker is in Kimball, West Virginia, in McDowell County. Marker is on Main Street (U.S. 52) 0.2 miles south of Lavania Street, on the left when traveling south. It is at the World War Memorial. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Kimball WV 24853, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Coal Company Town (here, next to this marker); World War I Memorial (a few steps from this marker); 2991–2992 Floods (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); African Americans (about 600 feet away); Houston Company Store (about 600 feet away); Kimball War Memorial (about 600 feet away); Frederick Kimball (about 600 feet away); Carswell Mining Complex (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kimball.
 
More about this marker. This interpretive panel has seven illustrations. They are captioned as follows, clockwise from top left:
  1. East portal of West Vivian Tunnel in 2007, looking west, prior to double notching
  2. East portal of West Vivian Tunnel in 2010, looking west, following modification for clearance
  3. Heartland Corridor tunnel locations—twenty-eight tunnels were modified for the project
  4. A stack train emerges from a modified (deep-notched) Big Sandy No. 1 Tunnel (constructed in 1905), Panco Siding, West Virginia.
  5. Complete crown removal in Cooper Tunnel (constructed in 1902), Bluestone, West Virginia
  6. Mechanized carving of notches at Hemphill No. 1 Tunnel (constructed circa 1903), Hemphill, West Virginia, to allow for double-stacked trains
  7. Spraying concrete to help create a new liner crown in Antler Tunnel (constructed circa 1903), Mohegan, West Virginia.
 
Norfolk Southern Engines Pause at the West Vivian Tunnel in Kimball WV image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, July 24, 2021
4. Norfolk Southern Engines Pause at the West Vivian Tunnel in Kimball WV
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 6, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 6, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 60 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on August 6, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.   2, 3, 4. submitted on August 5, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Dec. 1, 2021