Gov. Justice attends ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate start of restoration work on the Buffalo Creek Gauley Rail Corridor

7/20/2021

CLAY, WV – Gov. Jim Justice attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony today for a project to restore the Buffalo Creek Gauley Rail Corridor.
The Buffalo Creek Gauley Rail Corridor had been an instrumental economic asset to Clay County since 1904. At its peak, coal was removed from the mountains around Widen, WV, and brought to Dundon, WV, where it was loaded onto the Baltimore Ohio Railroad for use across America.

The rail line remained functional for over a century, until it was severely damaged in the flood of June 2016.

After years of work to identify the full scope of the damage, a FEMA-funded project to repair the corridor and restore pre-flood main line capacity and function is set to commence.

“We’re here today celebrating something that’s going to bring more and more goodness back to an area that has given so much to our state and our entire nation over the years,” Gov. Justice said at Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony in Clay County. “A lot of people have put in a lot of licks to make this project happen, and I’m very proud to have played a small part.”
The Governor thanked the state and local officials who supported the project and were in attendance for Tuesday’s event, including West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Roger Hanshaw, Delegate Brent Boggs, Clay County Business Development Authority President Mitch DeBoard, members of the Clay County Commission, and officials from the Town of Clay. The Governor also thanked FEMA for providing the funding needed to complete the project.

“All of the work that’s going on along Buffalo Creek and the Elk River is really coming together,” Gov. Justice said during Tuesday’s briefing. “Clay County can already see a difference in the number of people that are visiting that area.”

In May 2019, Gov. Justice announced plans to build a major rail trail along the Elk River and Buffalo Creek in the same area. This project, which is currently underway, aims to utilize 72 miles of existing rail lines in Clay and Kanawha counties and either repurpose the tracks for recreational purposes or convert them into trails for walking, hiking, biking, and more.

The planned trail network has the potential to become the second-longest rail trail east of the Mississippi.

“We’re really proud of all the stuff that’s going on,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s a big deal for tourism in West Virginia.”

West Virginia Department of Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby and West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Stephen McDaniel were also on-hand for Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov

Contact

Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

Governor's Mansion:
304.558.3588

Flag Status

 

Banner Images Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

Site Map