After visiting the Morrison Cemetery and Buckhannon Run, we stopped by Brake’s Dairy King in Buckhannon for blueberry sundaes. Besides having good sundaes, the Brakes must be cousins, through my great-great-grandmother Polly Brake Morrison. We decided to drive up Buckhannon River Road, which we had intended to do on Easter, but mistook the turn and came across the Carrollton Road instead.
The drive along the Buckhannon is lovely, although it is a one-lane road, lined with weekend cottages and some summer homes. The railroad parallels the river on the other side. When we got to the covered bridge and looked at the topo map to decide where to go next, I discovered Tygart Junction. It is marked as a place on the map, and is the place where the Buckhannon runs into the Tygart’s Valley River, as well as the junction of the railroads up the two rivers. There is no road, so if it was ever a populated place, the only way in was by rail, foot, or canoe back in the day. The Monongalia and its upper forks were the main highways for many years after the first settlements in the 1770s. It looked to be about a mile to the junction from the covered bridge, and was irresistible, of course. The right-of-way was a bit narrow, and once we got past the first bit, where the bank went up at about 90 degrees on one side, and down about the same to the river, and it widened out, we both admitted we had been a bit nervous.
The views from the bridge across the Tygart, just before the junction, were worth the walk. I did some rail-walking on the way back. Robert grew up where there were lots of railroads, and we had the RS&G in Spencer – the Ravenswood, Spencer, and Glenville, except they never laid the track from Spencer to Glenville. One Sunday Dad took me and my brother to Sunflower, near Reedy, and we walked the trestle there. It was high, and long enough that it had an emergency platform in the middle. I assume Dad knew the schedule, and it was a Sunday.
We discussed whether trains ran on this particular line on Sunday, and since they were undoubtedly coal trains, decided they might. I occasionally put a hand on the rail to feel for vibrations. We got to the narrow part, in sight of the covered bridge, and switched to the downhill side, where one could at least roll down the steep bank, although the large chunks of limestone would do some damage. There was a roaring down the valley, but it sounded like it was across the river. By the time I realized it was echoing off the hill, the train was coming around the curve. Fortunately, the bank was just shallow enough to sit on without sliding, so we did.