The faint whistle echoed off the distant hills. Everyone knew what that meant, and began to make their way to the depot. The normally bustling town had even more of a pep and a zip to it, and everyone knew it was about to become quite a bit busier. Although it was not a large community, it was a very close knit one, as most of the Appalachian coal mining towns were, and the daily train arriving was a significant event to the town.
The whistle blew again, this time as the Chesapeake and Ohio train pulled into the station. Small boys raced the train the last few yards, and as the train pulled in they were all victorious in their pursuit. Older young men waited to unload the inevitable bundles of mail and small items, and others waited to load the mine’s coal into the waiting cars. Before long, the steam bellowed out as the engine pulled away, making way for the next one to come along.
These days, Thurmond, West Virginia is deserted, a faint memory of days gone by. The mighty engines still roar through town, no longer sounding their whistle, and no longer stopping. Still, as the train rumbles by the echoes of the town’s earlier day are all around, and for a brief moment, the town is alive again.