CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Author Tim Hensley, author and rail historian, will present “The Norfolk and Western Railroad: Its Ohio Extension and Kenova District” in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. The program will begin at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Although Chesapeake & Ohio rails first reached what is now Kenova in 1879, it did not burgeon as a rail center until the Norfolk & Western completed its Ohio Extension in 1892. Serving as a spawning point that converted the fledgling rail company from a sleepy, Confederate agrarian road into a major Atlantic-Midwest trunk route and Great “Pocahontas Coal Carrier,” the town—sporting a roundhouse, yards, running-repair car shops and division offices headquartered in the 1894-constructed Union Station—further burgeoned when the Big Sandy Low Grade Line was opened to traffic in late 1904.

Approximately 30 passenger-trains a day and a multitude of freights from four railroads called or originated/terminated at the bi-level Union Station, at a point where more coal traditionally passes than any other place in the world. Anchoring the venue is the 3,886-foot long Ohio River Bridge and approach viaduct that was said to be among the top 10 targets of the Germans during WWII.

Hensley graduated from Marshall University in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a former CSX resident vice president-WV, and served more than 13 years as an Amtrak passenger engineer on The Cardinal. Proprietor of The Trainmasters House bed and breakfast, his Kenova home also incorporates the offices of Pocahontas Productions, a rail and history-oriented publishing venture that first released Cass Scenic Railroad: Fifty Years a State Park; A Century of Steam on Bald Knob (2013). He and his business partner co-wrote Three Times a Lady: A History of N&W Class J No. 611 (2016) and are currently working on books about the N&W Class A 2-6-6-4 and N&W stations. Hensley also writes a quarterly column for Railfan & Railroad Magazine.

For additional information, contact the Archives and History Library at (304) 558-0230.

Patrons may park behind the Culture Center after 5 p.m. on Nov. 16 and enter the building at the back loading dock area. The bus turnaround is open, and handicapped spots are available there. Visitors parking there should enter at the front of the building.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is proud to be able to present its programs at no charge to the public but without a solution to the state’s budget situation, this could be the last year that programs of this type could be offered. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, is an agency within the Office of Secretary of Education and the Arts with Gayle Manchin, cabinet secretary. It brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.