A little bit late due to medical issues in the family, but here is the latest update. Today we’re covering the town of Hitop and the importance of coal to the branch. Of course, the main mine here in Hitop was owned by Union Carbide to supply their plants in the Kanawha Valley.

The town of Hitop in actuality is an unincorporated town. Hitop consists of the Union Carbide mine, some company houses, a general store and post office, a Baptist Church, and a service station/garage.

Looking down from the siding that goes into the truck dumps at Morris Fork, we can just barely see part of the gas station and garage in the town of Hitop:

Just out of view below to the left is the Hitop mine

I’ve used a filter for these photos to compensate for the Kanawha Valley haze, as I was down in the valley earlier chasing trains,which will come in the next update. In the next photo you’ll see the general store and gas station/garage. At the general store, Ernie the proprietor is out front helping Lois, a local resident, while next door at the garage, Wally is talking to Wayne in the green coveralls about a car he just brought in:

The next photo shows the main reason for Hitop: coal. A lot of coal is shipped out of here for Union Carbide, as can be seen by all three tracks full of loaded hoppers waiting for the next mine run to come up the branch.

While coal waits to be picked up, a customer gets his windshield washed at Wally’s garage

The last photo shows some of the tight confines required in the hollows of West Virginia, as we look down the side of the road that runs between the mine and some of the company houses:

Penn Central’s yard office is the small building straight ahead, while the Hitop Baptist Church is on the right, along with one company house

Stay tuned, we’ll chase some trains again next time..