With very little time before I had to be in Beckley I followed the P-D line on Route 97 south to Mullens and Elmont. The scenery and terrain for this drive was quite stunning. The heavy-duty mainline seems to have a long and brutal grade to get north out of Mullens, though only empties would head this route. NS track in Mullens itself is minimal. This photo shows the former Virginian Shops, which used to host electric locos. On the right in the distance is NS's route that joins with CSX in the Winding Gulf Area. Regrettably I didn't get a look at the rails, but I'm really curious whether it is active.
At the southern end of Elmore Yard is this hefty trackwork forming a wye between the Virginian north to Deepwater, east to Virginia, and West to the Gilbert Branch of the N&W. This is the last route, which I've heard takes much of the coal traffic at this point. I wish I had time to explore it.
A view of the yard office in Elmore, looking North.
I was surprised at how huge Elmore Yard is; it looks like a modern classification yard compared to the dinky old relics CSX mine branches have. Yet there was only one cut of cars in the long yard tracks, and I suspect there usually isn't much more.
I did "catch" a train in Elmore, this empty sitting near the yard office aimed to head west to a mine somewhere on the Gilbert branch.