Morgantown & Kingwood Railroad
The Morgantown & Kingwood Railroad extended from Morgantown, WV via Masontown, Kingwood and Rowlesburg to M. & K. Junction (opposite the river, from Rowlesburg), in Preston County, for a total distance of 47.9 miles. The road was completed from Morgantown to Bretz, in September, 1903; Bretz to Kingwood in March, 1906; and Kingwood to M. & K. Junction in July, 1907. The railroad had heavy freight traffic in coal, building stone, glass sand, and lumber. Today, some of the old M&K line makes up CSX Transportation's Kingwood Subdivision.
Brief History of the M&K
Construction of the Morgantown & Kingwood Railroad (M&K) was the work of entrepreneurs involved in the development of coal reserves in the interior section of the Fairmont Coal Field. After several abortive attempts to finance the road by public subscription, its assets were sold at auction to George C. Sluggish, who extended it eastward to the Preston Company line in 1902. In 1907 Senator Stephen B. Elkins bought the M&K and completed the line to Morgantown & Kingwood Junction on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O).
Elkins's first visit to the area was in 1890-1891, when he began buying up coal leases. His interest in linking the Morgantown & Kingwood Railroad eastward to the B&0 indicates that he evidently had some prospects for selling this coal in Baltimore, probably to the Maryland Steel Company plant at Sparrows Point. When the B&0 finally purchased the M&K outright in October 1919, it did so with the financial cooperation of the Bethlehem Steel Company. Bethlehem had acquired Maryland Steel through its purchase, prior to 1914, of the parent Pennsylvania Steel Company, and was undoubtedly anxious for secure connections with the major sources of coal and coke for the Sparrows Point furnaces.
When the Elkins interests sold the M&K to the Baltimore and Ohio, their coal mines and coke ovens were sold to the Penn-Mary Coal Company. Four years later, they were acquired by the Bethlehem Mines Corporation, a holding company of Bethlehem Steel. While the development of the Monongalia coal field was dependent on the introduction of transportation facilities, in this case the railroad, the controlling factor was the growing demand for coke in the iron and steel industry. Senator Elkins could only afford to build the M&K after he had secured a constant market for the coal and coke produced. The growth of the Bethlehem Steel Company after 1900 provided a new and increasing market for the area's coal and for metallurgical quality coke.
The following table lists the stations located on the Morgantown & Kingwood Railroad in 1913.
|Distance from Morgantown
|1.5||Siding, Mine No. 5||Monongalia||835.0|
|2.4||Siding (Glass Plant)||Monongalia||849.5|
|2.5||Siding (Glass & Steel Plate)||Monongalia||853.4|
|3.8||Rock Forge & Siding||Monongalia||967.5|
|8.8||Switch, Lime & Sand Plant||Monongalia||1406.2|
|9.1||Siding (Lumber Dock)||Monongalia||1411.4|
|10.0||Siding (Lick Run)||Monongalia||1464.5|
|12.5||Cascade (and Siding)||Preston||1682.0|
|13.5||Masontown (and Siding)||Preston||1683.0|