Train ‘runs’ again at Fenwick Mines
CRAIG COUNTY – The train hasn’t run at Fenwick Mines since the boom days of the iron mining town in the early 1900s. But there’s a new train now.
On June 7, a crew from the National Forest recreation team out of the Eastern Divide office in Blacksburg installed a 31-foot-long wooden train – complete with rails – that they built for children.
Jeffrey Price, Stephen DeFranco, Drew Paulette and Brent Stewart spent about a month during the winter, spread out over days when it was too wet for them to work in the woods, building the train from plans similar to one in Giles County.
Last week, they plus two new crew members, Brian Lemon and Mike Lancianese, spent about half a day carefully transporting the four sections of train and setting it up at the Fenwick Mines site near the hiking trail and pavilion.
They started building the train in December, said Paulette, who added he enjoyed working on the project “because I hadn’t done a whole lot of wood working before.”
Price explained to get the train pieces that are built on their own wooden rails and ties to the Fenwick Mines site, the crew loaded two dump trucks pulling a trailer with pieces of the train on each. New Castle residents and people in town for the day were treated to the sight of the wooden engine, coal car, tanker car and caboose traveling down “Town Hill” on Rt. 42 and making a left onto Rt. 311, then turning right past Mick-or-Mack IGA and on to Fenwick Mines Recreation Area off Rt. 811.
About three weeks ago, the crew had prepared a pad for the train.
“We had the first three cars in place in an hour after getting here,” added Price. “We had to do a few adjustments.”
The train has already attracted a number of children. While the crew was working, a family hiking the Fenwick Mines trail stopped by to ask about it, said Jean Bradley of New Castle, who is a support services specialist in the National Forest Service office in Blacksburg.
Later that evening, her three young grandchildren gave the train their seal of approval. Twins Kallie and Kammie Fisher and their little sister, Natalie, and friend Jada Wolfe climbed inside and all over the train, sticking their heads out the window of the engine and checking out the cars.