This now-abandoned route is better known as the Patterson Creek Cutoff, not the McKenzie Cutoff. I and some others explored it a couple of years ago, and though in rough shape in some spots, with some effort, CSX could bring the route back into service in fairly short order, PROVIDED there was a 180-degree change for the better in coal traffic. The Patterson Creek Cutoff was built in 1904 to keep through traffic from going through Cumberland, which aided in relieving the bottleneck there. About the only passenger train of consequence that went over the cutoff was the B&O's Cincinnatian, which stopped west of McKenzie at Keyser, WV, to take on/discharge any passengers from Cumberland. If it stopped in Cumberland, an additional likely hour would have been added to the Cincinnatian's travel time of 12 hours between Baltimore and Cincinnati.
Most traffic over the cutoff was coal, though B&O Trailer Jets traversed it as well. The cutoff was abandoned in the mid-seventies, though with a surge of coal traffic in the 1980's, there was talk of bringing it back into service at that time, but as usual, many things like this usually don't go beyond the talk stage. With the abandonment of the Parkersburg Sub in West Virginia, and the light traffic nowadays over the CSX Mountain Sub, it's most unlikely that the Patterson Creek Cutoff will ever see a revival.
Member, B&O RR Historical Society
Daniel Willard (1860-1942) and Jervis Langdon, Jr. (1905-2004) - Two of B&O's best presidents and managers!
President Leonor Loree (1858-1940) brought the B&O into the 20th century!