Blackwater Canyon Opened Up (cont'd)
Of the stone culverts constructed, the most impressive is located at Big Run. The culvert at Big Run is estimated to be 60 feet long, with a width of 20-25 feet and height of 30 feet. The culvert at Big Run was known as the site of several wrecks and derailments, mainly because of the severity of the curve which the railroad took at this point.
The Black Fork grade was also known for its steep gradient. The railroad grade climbs 1236 feet over its ten-mile course, giving it an average grade of 2.34 percent. Modern surveys and field tests show that in some locations the grade is slightly more than 3 percent, making this an incredibly steep railroad whencompared to current standards.
With the railroad came industry and expansion. Along the way towns, such as Limerock and Coketon, popped up, as the influx of workers to the coal mines, coke ovens, and timber industry began.
The last train ran along these tracks on September 29, 1983. In 1989 the abandoned grade was converted to USFS Trail 115 for recreational use and at this point is still open for public use.
For more information about the effort to Save Blackwater Canyon Trail and the Railroad, please visit www.saveblackwater.org.