Thurmond, West Virginia was once a thriving town in the south-central region of West Virginia. Located in the New River Gorge next to the New River, Thurmond was a served by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. It played a major role in the coal mining industry. Incorporated in 1900, the town was a town like any other town with a train depot, a post office and two hotels. It was the home of a rail yard and rail shops. For many years the town was only accessible by the train until 1921 when a connecting road was built. In the 1930’s one of the hotels burned down. The town was in its decline until the 1950’s when it officially became a ghost town.
There is only one road that enters the town. The road runs alongside of a rail line that you cross a few times. You arrive at the New River, and you drive across a long one lane bridge (which is shared with the rail line) to enter the town. You see the depot and what remains of the town. You stand around and feel the ghosts of the trains and the people walking around. You walk around, and you come upon the C&O Walk which details the history of this town. You look around, and you see just old structures.
Today, the facade of the main street remains, and there are only a handful of residents. The yards and the shops are gone. Only the main line and the depot remains. The depot is now a visitor center for the New River Gorge New River National Park and it only open seasonally. CSX continues to roll through the town. Amtrak does have a stop here, but very few people use this stop. (It is said to be the second least used stop on Amtrak.)
The town of Thurmond is accessible by Amtrak and by Thurmond Road which is a short drive from U.S. 19 south of the famous New River Gorge Bridge. The town is accessible twenty-four hours a day, but the only paved parking is at the depot / visitor center. Most of the old town is mainly accessible by foot with very little handicap access. The tracks are still active, and if you are fortunate enough, you may see a train roll by just like the good old days of Thurmond.
Welcome to the town of Thurmond, West Virginia, a ghost town where the ghosts are alive with the heart of the railroad.