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Tours

Tour coordinators Steve Kite and Steve Raque have prepared seven tours around the north central West Virginia region. Each tour is three to four hours long. Tours leave the hotel as noted in each tour description below. Please note the special needs for the American Fiber Resources, Fort Martin Power Plant and Chemtura tours. Tours will be using vans for transportation to the locations. Please use the form on the Registration page to sign up for these tours. You must be registered for the Mountain State Express to participate in these tours.

We had hoped to offer a coal mine tour. This unfortunately was cancelled following the two West Virginia mining disasters in January 2006. Any of these tours may be cancelled at any time. Contact will be made with tour registrants concerning any changes. Please check back to this website for additional information before the Mountain State Express begins.

 
  A new tour has been added! Check out the details to see Keith Mason's homemade narrow gauge. Scroll down or click here.
P1::
American Fiber Resources (AFR) and Hoult Bridge - $12.00 cost
Friday AM

AFR is the largest dry pulp producer in the world. AFR receives paper from our office recycle bins and recycles it into pulp. Dry pulp has the advantage that it can be stored for a longer time than wet pulp. AFR is served by CSX, and we will get an extensive tour of the plant. Tour participants must wear pants (no skirts), and no open-toed or high-heeled shoes are permitted. We will also examine the spectacular early 1900s Hoult Bridge built by the Fairmont, Morgantown, and Pittsburgh Railroad. Departs: 8:30 am - Returns: Noon

P2::
Fort Martin Power Plant - $12.00 cost
Friday AM

Allegheny Energy's Fort Martin Power Station is a coal fired power plant located in Maidsville, WV. The tour will include seeing the two 570 MW generators, the two boilers (which are up to 14 stories tall), the giant electrostatic precipitators, and the barge unloading area where coal is delivered. Fort Martin also has a rail siding for the delivery of heavy equipment. We can also take an elevator up to get a birds-eye view of the entire plant. Hard hats, eye, and ear protection will be provided. If participants prefer their own hard hat, they may bring it.

SPECIAL NOTE: A background check is required for all participants in accordance with Fort Martin's security policy. Name, address, and birth date will have to be supplied to plant security ahead of time (procedure for this will be mailed to those who sign up).
Departs: 8:00 am - Returns: Noon

P3::
Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) - $10.00 cost
Friday PM

Morgantown's PRT, in operation since 1975, typically carries 16,000 riders per day over a 3.6 mile route between downtown and three West Virginia University Morgantown campuses. The New Electric Railway Journal has picked the PRT over Disney World's monorail as the greatest people mover in the United States. The tour will feature the control room of this automated commuter system and, if time allows, a short run on the Boeing 15-passenger vehicles. Limited to 24 adults. Departs: 1:00 pm - Returns: 5:00 pm

P4::
Grafton to Tunnelton on B&O - $15.00 cost
Friday PM

It's mountain railroading at its finest! Long strings of coal cars and big motive power rule the West End. We will begin at the CSX yards in Grafton where you'll see the engine terminal. Next, we will follow the tracks through Newburg to Tunnelton. Along the way there should be plenty of opportunity to photograph both coal trains and the afternoon general freight. We plan to have a knowledgeable tour guide who will point out various current and historical sights and information. Departs: 1:00 pm - Returns: 5:00 pm

P5::
Chemtura - $15.00 cost
Saturday AM

Chemtura Corporation, the world's largest plastics additives company, operates a plant in the Morgantown Industrial Park with facilities for steam-coil-heated chemical storage tank cars hauling raw materials used in specialty chemicals. Facilities include three generations of worker fall protection.

Participants provide their own hardhats and ANSI Z87.1 safety glasses.

Participants must wear pants (no skirts), and fully enclosed, leather shoes (no fabric or ventilation holes allowed).

CAMERAS are NOT ALLOWED in the Chemtura Plant, but a CD of photos will be provided to trip participants. Departs: 8:30 am - Returns: Noon

P6::
Rowlesburg and M&K Junction - $22.00 cost
Saturday AM

One of the most famous locations on the B&O. You will see Rowlesburg inside and out. We will go up on top of Cannon Hill, where Union troops protected the railroad from marauding confederates, and get an outstanding and unique view of the entire area. We will also see Tray Run Viaduct, the restored depot, and the partially restored B&O caboose located near the tracks. There will be photo opportunities track-side at M&K Junction. Lunch is included on this tour. Departs: 7:30 am - Returns: 1:00 pm

P7::
Industrial Fairmont - Inspiration for a Realistic
                                   Operating Model Railroad
- $12.00 cost
Saturday PM

Fairmont, West Virginia, offers many prototype opportunities, having seen over 150 years of railroading from the original B&O mainline to today's CSX and NS coal drags.

The Fairmont Beltline had complex sidings and spurs in a 1.24 mile B&O "Division" that fits a home layout with little space compression. The Beltline served a variety of industries: glassworks, a box factory, a mine equipment manufacturer, a plaster company, an ice plant, a building supply yard, two grain companies, warehouses, and the century-old Helmick Foundry. Many prototype buildings provide testimony to the once-busy Beltline. If time permits, we will also examine the spectacular early 1900s Hoult Bridge originally built by the Fairmont, Morgantown, and Pittsburgh Railroad. Departs: 1:00 pm - Returns: 5:00 pm

P8::
Keith Mason's Locust Heights and Western Narrow Gauge Railroad
       - $15.00 cost
Saturday PM
 

The LH&W is a 3-foot narrow gauge railroad that runs about 3/4 of a mile back into the woods behind Keith's home. The line features 40 pound rail, a timber trestle, a section of 5% grade, and a switchback. The locomotive is a replica of an early, vertical boiler, Class A Climax. Keith and his friends really enjoy operating the line and we will get to ride the length of this logging railroad. Keith's full-size railroad was featured in the November/December issue of the Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette, and was on tour during our last MCR convention here in Morgantown in 1999. Keith also used to run a steam-powered saw mill, but it is currently out of service with boiler problems. Departs: 1:00 pm - Returns: 5:00 pm

 
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