|2015 Mike Flickr via BridgeHunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike (CC BY-SA)
Crossing the Kanawha River
|Photo from WVU West Virginia & Regional History via BridgeHunter
[BridgeHunter's caption is "1st train across new bridge in 1915," but I read a date of Mar 15, 1931.]
|1 of 4 photos posted by Bridges & Tunnels with Sherman Cahal
The construction of the Deepwater Railroad Bridge over the Kanawha River in Deepwater, West Virginia was one of the Virginian Railway's (VGN) more significant legal battles.
The VGN had long sought an outlet for coal mined in West Virginia and Virginia with ports along Lake Erie in Ohio and at one point had acquired land along the Great Lakes for a terminal. Those plans never materialized, as did plans to acquire or lease the Kanawha & Michigan Railroad (K&M) and other railways.
After the conclusion of World War I, the VGN sought a physical connection with the K&M, now a subsidiary of the New York Central Railroad (NYC), at Deepwater so that it could interchange traffic but it faced opposition from the C&O which questioned its competitor’s authority to build that link. The difficulty for the VGN was that the only connections the VGN had to the west were the C&O and Norfolk & Western Railway, both of which were competitors with it on eastbound traffic from Deepwater to Hampton Roads. The connection with the NYC would give the VGN a non-competitive route to the west. The C&O was also worried that the VGN would merge into the NYC which was proposed at that time.
In 1930, the Interstate Commerce Commission ruled in favor of the VGN. The railroad contracted with the Virginia Bridge & Iron Company to construct a combination Warren through truss and plate girder crossing of the Kanawha which was opened to traffic in March 1931.
Check out more photos and history of this graceful bridge at