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BMRR & Yancey Railroad

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Information provided by Mark Huber

A Brief History of the Black Mountain and Yancey Railroad

Yancey Railroad's locomotive number 2, a GE 50-ton switcher photographed somewhere in Micaville on October 20th, 1981. The railroad nicknamed number 2 "Puddles", because, according to former Yancey Railroad president Bill Cannon, "it had a tendency to waddle along the tracks without falling into a puddle."

Engine number 1, a GE 45-ton 300 horsepower diesel built and entered into service in 1955.

Fall 1984, the final run of the Yancey Railroad, photographed in Micaville. This is the NPRR's old engine number 40 that now sits abandoned along 19E in Micaville, across the road from the Silver Bullet convenience store.

Engine number 1 passing through Micaville in July 1970; a young child greeting the train with a wave.

Headed north from Bowditch to Micaville, July 1970.

Looking south from the north side of the Black Mountain / Yancey Railroad trestle, sometime after it was repeatedly set afire by vandals and later knocked into the river by a bulldozer. The trestle was located a half-mile south of the Kona station at the confluence of the north and south forks of the Toe River. A year or so after the bridge was destroyed, a helicopter transported the remains, piece by piece, to a nearby iron scrap yard. In the distance, the south fork of the Toe River can be seen flowing toward the trestle from the right, the north fork flowing from the left.

The same trestle, back in the early 1980s when it was still in use.

Taken sometime after one end of the trestle collapsed.

Looking south from the north side of the river, taken sometime in the 1960s.

Engine number 3, photographed in September, 1976, alongside the Micaville loop road.

There was a minor flood in the late summer of '76. It damaged a railroad trestle alongside the Micaville Loop Road, and repairs were needed. Taken September, 1976.

The same trestle repair site in September, 1976, taken from a different angle. The stores and the church along the Micaville Loop Road can be seen in the background. The sign on the store to the left of the church reads J.L. ROBINSON GEN MDSE.

An old steam locomotive - engine number 9, a caboose and an open passenger car, photographed in September, 1976 on a sidetrack at the Burnsville depot.

Engine number 2, photographed somewhere near Kona in the 1970s.

Engine number 2, photographed at the Burnsville depot. The lumber yard in the background is either Heritage Lumber or its predecessor, Liberty Cash & Carry.

Engine number 3, photographed somewhere near Kona in the 1970s.


The Laurel Branch Baptist Church can be seen in the background in the top photo. Occasionally sparks escaped the locomotive's spark arrestor, exiting via the stack. When the engine passed by the church, sometimes the sparks landed on its roof, which worried the churchgoers. As a preventive measure against fire, the BMRR eventually paid to have a tin roof installed. The date is incorrect. This train arrived in July, 1913.

The Burnsville station was located on what is now known as Depot Street.

BMRR's engine number 1, a 41.5 ton 4-6-0 built in 1882. The BMRR purchased it from Clinchfield in 1913 for $4500, and used it until April of 1954.

BMRR's engine number 2, a 93-ton three-truck Shay built in 1914 by the Lima Locomotive Works of Lima, Ohio. The BMRR used it primarily to transport freight, lumber and passengers from Pensacola and Eskota to Kona, where connections could be made with the Carolina, Clinchfield, and Ohio system.

BMRR's engine number 3, a 68-ton 4-6-0 built in 1905 and purchased from Clinchfield for $4513. At the front is Paul Young, General Manager of the BMRR.

The Pensacola Depot and a train at the right on the main track. Rolling stock was stored behind the building on a spur. The depot was later converted into a home - the yellow house next to Louie Leadbetter's place on Cattail Creek Road.

Paul Young, General Manager of the BMRR, in his office at the Burnsville Depot. He retired in 1969 after 27 years of service.

Diesel number 1 at the engine house in Burnsville. Number 1 was a GE 45-ton 300 horsepower diesel locomotive built and purchased new in 1955, the same year the name was changed to the Yancey Railroad.

This 65-ton 300 horsepower diesel engine was built in 1941 by the Vulcan Iron Works in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania for the U.S. Navy. They used it during WW II in a large naval armaments storage yard in New Jersey. The armaments were loaded onto rail cars and shipped down to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where they were transferred onto Navy vessels for use at sea. Sometime after the war it was sold to the NPRR. 

The Narragansett Pier Railroad was chartered in January 1868 and opened on July 17, 1876, between Kingston, Rhode Island and Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island. Trolleys were operated over the segment of the railroad between Peace Dale, Rhode Island and Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island from 1904 until 1907. The railroad ended regular passenger service on December 31, 1952, although limited excursion service continued into the 1970s.

February 1944 - Today, hundreds of Vulcan locomotives are rendering vitally important war-time service, both at home and overseas, and our shops are working at top speed to complete urgent orders for Army, Navy and defense plant requirements. Tomorrow, more and larger Vulcan locomotives will be available to help rebuild a war-torn world. Our manufacturing facilities are being enlarged and improved--engineering and executive staffs strengthened--new sales connections established in many countries.

Write us regarding present or prospective requirements for steam, Diesel, or Diesel-electric locomotives--any type or size--wide or narrow gauge. Bulletins in either English, Spanish or Portuguese will be furnished promptly on request.

The NPRR eventually sold this engine to the Yancey Railroad, the last one they would acquire. It now sits in quiet repose on abandoned trackage along highway 19E across from the Silver Bullet convenience store in Micaville.

The same engine, photographed back in the 1950s when it was still in operation with the Narragansett Pier Railroad in Rhode Island.



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Last Updated 03/17/2013 07:52 AM by Rick Silvers contact me: rsilvers@mebtel.net