The Cripple Creek Line was the original name. It was built along the New River, eventually reaching the town of Galax. The Norfolk and Western bought the line and ran it until 1985. Here’s some more history. There’s more and lots of pictures at this site hosted by Virginia Tech. They asked for no reposting so I am settling for a link to this picture of one of the bridges we crossed as it looked when the trains were running.
If I had seen the picture before we went on the trip, I would have tried to get a current shot from the same vantage point. Here’s one I did take, looking down at the structure of the bridge.
It’s a park now, 57 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trail. It is a scenic park, the facilities are well maintained, and we had a great time.
But something has been lost. The industries that made the line profitable are gone, the rails taken up. The energy that led people to dig and blast and build bridges just to build a spur line railroad is gone, too.