I got to thinking: trestle or bridge? Both, I discovered. A trestle bridge is a span supported by piers or bents (says Google). This solidly built deck girder trestle bridge spans the French Broad River near Marshall NC. The man standing to the left is my buddy, who kindly entered the shot to provide a sense of scale. The bridge is over 600′ long.
This is a 1960 ALCO 125-ton diesel locomotive, according to the web. Quite fancy livery, too. The Sunny Knott Loadout is located at Lackey, Knott County, Kentucky. We couldn’t tell if it was active. The gates were wide open and, even though there was security of a sort, we weren’t hassled at all. From the looks of the surrounding area, this must have been a busy site once upon a time.
We’re on the Long Fork Subdivision of the old C&O that ran from Martin KY to Hi Hat. This is the north portal of a tunnel, faced out and supported by wood, near Printer KY (named for a John Printer, in case you were wondering).
It’s 350′ long and in good shape. Here’s what the inside looks like:
And here’s the south portal:
Again, I don’t know how old these wood supports and facings are. The line went in sometime in the late 1920s and was active up until the 1990s.
This is just outside Martin (old Beaver Creek) KY on what was once called the Elkhorn and Beaver Valley Railroad (there’s a split in Martin: the E&BV went west, the Long Fork subdivision went south).
It’s supported by wood bracing and framing. This line was built in the 1913-1914 time period, but I don’t know if this wood structural support dates to that time. The timbers are gray with age and have been heavily imbued with creosote. This is an abandoned line.
(I also don’t know who owns the two red plastic balls down on the left)
The former Northern Ohio & Western 4497 EMD GP9, out of service near Bishop WV in March, 2016.
Photo courtesy of Lee Stone
This is Hemphill tunnel #1 west portal, about 800′ long.
and this is Hemphill tunnel #2 east portal, about 1200′ long
If you’ve got Google Earth, set the options to “digital” and enter these coordinates:
Or just follow the N&S railroad line south of Capels WV and you’ll find where my buddy was standing when he took these pictures. He was sort of in between these two, with #1 being slightly to the SE of him.
There’s great history of these tunnels here <click>
Pictures courtesy of Lee Stone
This is the N&S’s Welch tunnel, located just north of Welch WV. It’s about 1300′ long.
Coordinates (decimal) 37.435642, -81.583812
No lie, this once was a busy tunnel…two tracks and all.
If you use Google Earth, check the Historic Imagery of this tunnel and dial it back as far as you can. That shot really shows the tunnel well.
My coal country-obsessed buddy recently journeyed to the area around Welch WV. He found and photographed a couple of tunnels on the N&S lines through there. The first one is:
(Photo courtesy of Lee Stone)
The east face of the West Vivian tunnel at Kimball WV.
The tunnel is centered at (Google Earth entry form) 36 25 28.03N, 81 30 30.09W.
I don’t post a lot of pictures of bridges. My buddy’s always saying, “Look at that bridge! You want to stop and take a picture of it?” And I say, “No.” I figure if it’s a mighty truss bridge, then Calvin (Sneed) has already posted it on bridgehunter.com. Otherwise, it’s just trestle…
However, this really sturdy deck girder is a relic of the once-mighty coal-driven railways that the L&N pushed though out of Harlan KY. They built strong. The rails on this trestle have “Tennessee 1938” notations on them. It’s a dead line, but I bet it supported one hell of a lot of tonnage in its day.
The trestle crosses Catron Creek at about 36.79852, -83.33855.
Found this in an antique store last year and forgot about it. As far as I can tell, this is from the early 50s, an N&W J-type out of Roanoke Shops.
On the back:
Norfolk and Western Railway’s streamline, all-coach, daylighter along New River in Virginia
Pub. by Roanoke Photo Finishing Co., Roanoke, Va.
Dextone Made Direct from Kodachrome and Ansco Color by Dexter Press, Pearl River, N. J.
This old loader is near the Wakenva VA junction (it’s just ahead in this picture). It was hard to figure this one out. There had been a pulley system of some sort with stout wire cable, but I couldn’t tell what it was for. It had both rail and truck access.
Two views of the refurbished train station at Evarts KY, near Harlan. It cleaned up quite nicely. The first Post Office opened in this town in 1855. Since the L&N came into Harlan in 1911, I assume that the railroad came through here soon after, as it made its way east into the coal country.
This old caboose, maybe from the 40s, is located off Highway 38, east of Ages KY. It appears to have been lived in at some time. It’s pretty derelict now.
“V-901 SOUTH ENTRANCE TO NATURAL TUNNEL, SHOWING THE APPROACH OF A MIGHTY SOUTHERN RAILWAY DEISEL ENGINE, NATURAL TUNNEL, VA.” Yeah, they misspelled “diesel”.
The plate number is E-10246
On the reverse:
The Natural Tunnel, located on U.S. Highway 23, 14 miles west of Gate City, Virginia, in Scott County, is said to be the only Natural Tunnel in the world used by a railroad. Through it the Southern Railroad has hauled many million tons of coal from the rich deposits of Southwest Virginia.
(Kodachrome by Robert Suttle)
In pencil: 1951
Published by Asheville Post Card Co., Asheville, N.C.
Okay, this is the default detector at Wakenva VA, about halfway way between Trammel and Nora on the original Clinchfield line (now CSX).
My question is: Every reference source I’ve gone to says that “Wakenva” is a portmanteau word (mashup, i.e.) comprising West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia. People, look at the word!
It would have to be “WEkenva” for that to work. Hmm.
All it says on this 1940s Asheville Post Card Co. issue is “A-38 THE LOOP ON THE L. & N. RAILROAD, NEAR TENNESSEE-GEORGIA LINE”
Actually, this is the Hiwassee Loop, the “eye” of the “Hook and Eye Line” built in 1898. It goes around Bald Mountain near Farmer TN.
I found this pristine card while rummaging through a bunch of crap cards. Never know what you’ll find, sometimes.
This is a N&S trestle over the French Broad River near Marshall NC.
I don’t know why I keep posting pictures of these trestles…they all look alike.
We’re at 35.777686, -82.649629. Trestle is around 687′ long. No date on it.
Found this today in an antique shop. It’s a pinback. The diameter is 1.5″ or 3.8cm. I see several of these around on the internet, all noted as being “vintage”. Southern went under the control of Norfolk-Western in 1982 and then was merged officially into the Norfolk Southern Railroad in 1990.
I could go out on a limb and say that this may date to before the railroads gave the old heave-ho to passenger service in this area, but I won’t. That’s definitely a diesel engine on the left, though. The caboose on the right fits the streamlined period, but that may just be to fit the design on this pin.
Basically, I just don’t know when these were handed out.
This one is in fair shape. Water damage, apparently, around the rim.
This sturdy standard-gauge trestle runs over Laurel Creek in Damascus VA. It’s located at the end of Trestle Street, naturally. Now part of the Creeper Trail, it was originally on the Virginia-Carolina Railroad that ran from Abingdon to Todd NC. Details are here.
This is looking southeast.
I’ve biked the Creeper up from Abingdon to Damascus a couple of times and I’ve taken the shuttle from Damascus up to Whitetop and biked back down a couple of times.
Great fun. Seriously.
I’m looking southeast down Highway 38. Days Creek is on the right, under the extended part of this deck girder that once served the old Clover Branch of the Clinchfield Railroad. The date plate is right about where that white spot is (the white is paint that covered over whomever Danny C loved at one time). This is a Virginia Bridge & Iron structure made in Roanoke in 1948. Holmes Mill is about .64 mile down this road. There’s a currently out-of-use coal sorting plant behind me. If I had backed up a little bit and turned around to take a shot, you’d see two conveyors coming down to the plant. You can see it on Google Earth 36.87884, -83.01097.
This is one of three double trestles we saw in the area of Imboden. The line on the left is active, but the one which was on the right is long gone. It’s a vehicle bridge now, reinforced with steel, but with sorry-looking ties. Looking at this from above in Google Earth, I think I can tell that the line on the right probably went up to a loader in the valley. There are several coal mines in that area, mostly stripped out now.
Imboden was possibly named after Gen. John Imboden, the man who had a vision of making Damascus VA into a major iron smelting town. I don’t know. Heck, I’ve never figured out why Osaka is named that. Or Sun. My main book on Virginia place names ignores some of these.
Both of these chrome postcards are from the late ’60s, when Doe River Gorge Playland was in business (check this link). As you’ll read on that webpage, for about a year, it was Hillbilly World and it closed in 1971. I’ve hiked the gorge twice, once from the Ministry side and once from the highway side. I think the one on the left shows the Engine #1 at Pardee Point, the one on the right is just a general shot of the engine steaming along.
The technical details: On the left: the card is badly creased end to end. Shame, that.
On the back: “Doe River Gorge, Highway 19-E, Hampton, Tennessee
A panoramic view of the Doe River as it winds through the Doe River Gorge. This is just one of the many scenic views of natural beauty seen from “Little Whistler” as Engine Number 101 puffs through the 3 1/2 mile trip in the Gorge.”
Published by KING PRINTING 509-511 Shelby Street, Bristol, Tennessee 37620
(there’s a small logo on the back: KING ADVERTISING DESIGN – PHOTOGRAPHY – COLOR SEPARATION – LITHOGRAPHY BRISTOL, TENN U.S.A.)
It’s been scribbled on, apparently by a child. Postally unused.
On the right: Card is in pretty good shape.
On the back: “Doe River Gorge Highway 19-E, Hampton, Tennessee
The “Little Whistler” puffs up the 2% grade road bed of scenic Doe river Gorge. Steam engines have been pulling this grade for nearly one hundred years. A trip through Doe River gorge offers one of the most scenic natural beauty views in the southeastern United States.”
All rest is same as above.
As you can see, the title of this postcard, a real photo card, is “SOU. DEPOT GATE CITY, VA 1963”. There is no more information anywhere on this card. I bought it maybe 10 years ago from a dealer in Maryland. Since the first SLR cameras began coming into the United States in 1963, it’s entirely possible this was shot with a regular rangefinder camera. Either the lens was soft or the film was slow, either way, the sign about halfway down the building should be readable, but it isn’t, even at 10x magnification. It’s out of focus.
This post card, never mailed, shows the tender with the livery of 1968 with Clinchfield in gold letters.
On the back: THE CLINCHFIELD SPECIAL – The most famous little steam engine of railroad history, built Aug. 1882, is puffing again through the Appalachian Mountains. It sounds nostalgic episodes of history with its whistle echoing through the mountains. Old No. 1 pulled first food, medicine and rescue workers to Johnstown, Penn. flood area May 1889, and the first refugees out.
Train Concessions Operated by
Y’s MEN’S CLUB OF ERWIN, TENN.
Color Photography by
Earle M. Walker
640 Holston Place
Vertical Division line: Pub. by Earle M. Walker Photographer, 640 Holston Place, Erwin, Tenn. 37650
Published by Dexter Press, Inc. West Nyack, New York
Note: in the PLACE STAMP HERE box, there is a small “69” in the lower right. This may be the date the card was printed.
Inman is an unincorporated community in Wise County VA. This is a divided-back postcard that was allowed between 1907 and 1914. A website had this card for sale and, without attribution, stated it was “1910’s”. Close enough. I think this is an Interstate Railroad steam engine, but I can’t be sure.
On the back, scrawled in pencil (it was never posted) “Hello CB Ans soon CDM”
Addressed to Miss Blanche Gladson, RR #4 Rogersville Tenn.
If you want to know more about Miss Blanche, go here. If it’s still not the top entry, look for “Rogersville Postcards” in the menu.
This much-used Plasser American unit was parked a little south of Dante (winter, 2015). I think it’s used to replace ties. There was a lot of that going on at the time.
Note that the just-completed Gotthard Base tunnel in Switzerland uses concrete ties, very closely grouped.
I saw this on private property near Allen KY. I understand that C&O began using the yellow paint scheme in 1957. The unit # is 903597. I’ve seen similar ones on other websites, but I don’t have any more information.
This is a CSX
Clevinger Branch Coal Run subdivision (read about it here) tunnel near Clevinger Branch Road (3227), about 3 miles NE of Coal Run Village in Pike County KY. Coordinates (at center) are 37.5519, -82.5239. It’s about 1,500′ long on an active line.
Inside the tunnel, the ties are concrete:
The ballast is covering the center of the ties. I’ve seen flat (and cracked) concrete ties at the Indian Ridge tunnel in Johnson City, but none like these. Interesting.
You can read about this sturdy, 1894 Pencoyd Bridge & Construction Co. (PA) trestle over the Levisa Branch in Kentucky right here. It once carried two tracks, maybe when it was over the Ohio River. The website I noted above says that this bridge is closed to all traffic, but check the rails…they’ve been used recently. The actual maker plate is on the right support. It’s been broken, but it’s still readable.
This tunnel at Robinson Creek KY (37.38180, -82.54229) was in the news in April, 2014, when two arsonists set the thing on fire. The fire burned for weeks and the ceiling of the tunnel collapsed. The arsonists were discovered and now face federal charges.
The tunnel is 700′ long and dates back 100 years. It’s on an active CSX line that serves two coal mines.
Here’s what it looks like inside:
I’m told it took major work to get the tunnel back in operation.