Tapping the coal reserves of West Virginia, the C&O's Peninsula Extension to new coal piers on the harbor of Hampton Roads resulted in the creation of the new City of Newport News. Coal revenues also led the forging of a rail link to the Midwest, eventually reaching Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo in Ohio and Chicago, Illinois.
The Thurmond Yards were established during the 1880s to facilitate the transportation of the New River Gorge's smokeless coal to markets along the C&O Railroad. As a maintenance and repair facility the Thurmond Yards were a major regional feature along the C&O throughout the steam engine era. As a major assembling point for coal cars from different mines, the marshalling yards at Thurmond were credited with handling more coal, and thus producing more revenue, than all but a few such facilities. Finally, as a town where only trains traveled down Main Street, Thurmond gained a reputation as a regional center of commerce and recreation, legal or otherwise.
The Gr is for Thurmond as are the photos.