New River Gorge National River
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 Thurmondís repair shop lessened. Combined with the decline of coal mining, the arrival of diesel brought Thurmondís 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 Thurmondís engine house.
Erected by National Park Service US Department of Interior.
Location. 37° 57.534′ N, 81° 4.824′ W. Marker is in Thurmond, West Virginia, in Fayette County. Marker is on Thurmond Road. Touch for map. The marker is in old town. Marker is in this post office area: Thurmond WV 25936, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Heart of Town (here, next to this marker); The Railroad Was the Town (here, next to this marker); Thurmond, West Virginia (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Thurmond Depot (about 800 feet away); Glen Jean Athletic Club (approx. 4.6 miles away); Indirect Firing (approx. 6 miles away); Oakwood Mine Complex (approx. 6 miles away); Marquis de Lafayette (approx. 6.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Thurmond.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on November 28, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 27, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 143 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 27, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.