Originally the Cowen and Pickens Subdivisions of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the railroad was a part of CSX until it was leased to Watco, which began operating the railroad on March 25, 2005. Watco only held the line for a short time before turning the lease from CSX over to Four Rivers Transportation, now P&L Transportation, on May 15, 2006.
It connects with four other railroads:
- CSX, at Grafton
- Beech Mountain Railroad (BEEM), at Alexander
- Elk River Railroad (ELKR), at Gilmer, West Virginia
- West Virginia Central Railroad (WVC), at Tygart
All of these railroads are currently active, including the BEEM regularly loading coal trains since 2008 and the ELKR regularly moving cars between Gilmer and Gassaway for storage and the contracted repair facility in Gassaway, WV.
The A&O railroad uses CSX locomotives to move the empty and loaded cars coal trains to and from customers. They currently have two CEFX EMD SD90MACs for helper services in the Burnsville area, four EMD GP38s (#s 2631, 2634,2638, and 2662), and two GP38-2's (#s 2665 and 2670) for various switching and local tasks. All Watco motive power, including twenty EMD SD50s (#5101-5120) four EMD GP50s (5010-5013) and five EMD GP38s (ex-Bangor & Aroostook) went to other Watco operations.
- A&O Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Watco, 2005. Accessed 2007-07-22.
- A & O Railroad, Appalachian and Ohio Railroad, 2006. Accessed 2007-07-22.
- System map Archived November 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Appalachian and Ohio Railroad, 2006. The Century branch has been inactive for several years. Accessed 2007-07-22.
- Appalachian and Ohio Railroad Locomotives, http://www.thedieselshop.us/App&Ohio.HTML Accessed 2007-12-09.