Thurmond, WV (THN)
Located in the scenic New River Gorge, Thurmond was long accessible primarily by rail. The C&O Railway built the wooden structure in 1904 to serve as a passenger depot and offices.
Annual Station Ridership (FY 2021): 364
- Facility Ownership: N/A
- Parking Lot Ownership: National Park Service
- Platform Ownership: CSX Transportation
- Track Ownership: CSX Transportation
Passengers at Thurmond may wait under the eaves of the two story, wood frame depot, which was built in 1904 for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O). During the summer months, the National Park Service opens the depot as a welcome center for visitors to the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. The building, restored in 1995, once served both as passenger depot and offices for the C&O. The yardmaster’s office on the west end overlooks Thurmond’s West Yard; the office has been restored with authentic furniture, fixtures and equipment from the early 1900s. The train master’s and ticket master’s offices have also been restored and present museum exhibits relating to Thurmond and the railroad.
Thurmond, located in the middle of the steep New River Gorge, was long accessible only by rail. The town was named for William Dabney Thurmond, who received the 73-acre site in 1873 as payment for a surveying job, and settled there. That same year, the C&O opened its main line through the gorge to connect the Atlantic coast to the Ohio River. The rail line runs along the bank of the New River, and the town, which lacked a single street until 1921, climbs the steep mountain behind the tracks.
In 1883, the C&O built a freight station in Thurmond, and soon after, a railroad bridge was completed across the river to connect the coal mines with the main line. This first station burned in 1899, and was replaced with the current building.
Thurmond incorporated in 1903, and became a chief railroad center for the C&O, one of only two shipping points in the New River Gorge, a major coal-producing region in the 20th century. Thurmond produced more freight revenue for C&O than any of the cities of Cincinnati, Richmond or Charleston. In 1910, its heyday, about 76,000 passengers boarded trains in Thurmond and about four million tons of freight were shipped—almost one-fifth of the C&O’s revenue for that year. The town’s tiny but complete business district, with the railroad tracks as its Main Street across from the riverside depot, included two banks, two hotels, dry good and grocery stores, a drug store, a jewelry store, doctors’ offices, churches, and railroad offices. Fifteen passenger trains a day came through in those days.
In the 1950s and 1960s, much freight still passed through Thurmond. However, by the 1970s Thurmond was all but a ghost town. The Bank of Thurmond had closed in 1931 and the remaining hotel burned in 1963. In 1984, the railroad offices in the town closed. However, the entire town was included in a historic district that year and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 2010 U.S. Census revealed only five residents in Thurmond, and today it is mainly an access point for the park and preserve.
The New River has long been known as a rugged whitewater river and tourist attraction in southern West Virginia. In 1978, a 53-mile stretch of the New River Gorge was incorporated into the National Park System, and in 1998, the New River was designated an American Heritage River, one of 14 in the country. The U.S. Congress redesignated the area as a National Park and Preserve in late 2020. It covers more than 70,000 acres that offer recreational opportunities for sports like whitewater rafting, rock climbing and bicycling; hunting and fishing; and enjoyment of the gorge’s natural beauty and biodiversity.
Platform with Shelter
- ATM not available
- No elevator
- No payphones
- No Quik-Trak kiosks
- Unaccompanied child travel not allowed
- No vending machines
- No WiFi
- Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to departure
- Amtrak Express shipping not available
- No checked baggage service
- No checked baggage storage
- Bike boxes not available
- No baggage carts
- Ski bags not available
- No bag storage
- Shipping boxes not available
- No baggage assistance
- Same-day parking is available; fees may apply
- Overnight parking is available; fees may apply
- No payphones
- No accessible restrooms
- No accessible ticket office
- No accessible waiting room
- No accessible water fountain
- Same-day, accessible parking is available; fees may apply
- Overnight, accessible parking is available; fees may apply
- No high platform
- No wheelchair
- No wheelchair lift