Bulls Gap Railroad Museum

On the way to Morristown today, we decided to drop by the Bulls Gap Railroad Museum.  The last time we’d visited, it was in a small building down by the rail yard.  Now, it’s in a much larger and brighter  building across the tracks at 153 South Main.
Bill Haskins was holding down the fort today:

On the screen behind him is a graphic representation of all the activity in the rail yard.
Here’s a long shot of the museum – the large model train layout is on the right.

No admission charge.  Open seven days a week.  Lots to look at and souvenirs for sale.
It’s located at 36 15 11.31N, 83 05 09.50W.  Telephone is 423.393.4429.
Here’s the link to their Facebook page

 

The Twins, Again

I always liked The Twins (I like Kent Junction, too.  I’m irrational at times).  This is looking at the North Twin, south portal, from the South Twin, north portal.  South Twin is 236′ and North Twin is 308′.  Faceup date on both is 1912.   They’re about 5.6 miles northeast of Clinchport on Highway 65.
Up in North Carolina, on the loops, I was able to get three tunnels in one shot.  To get any more than that would take tunnels like Bee Rock lined right up.

Virginian 507

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I found this postcard in an antique shop a little north of Tazewell/New Tazewell TN on 25.  The card’s not all that rare and it’s got some water damage, but it’s a good picture and it’s from a publisher I’d never heard of.  And that would be Audio-Visual Designs of Earlton, NY.  Earlton is a suburb of Coxsackie…really, Coxsackie.  Although the picture was taken in 1957, I think it was printed in the 80s.  That’s when this company appears to have been active.

More on this locomotive:  click here

I didn’t pay $4.50 for it, either.

Tunnel, Bell County KY

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This 600′ or so curved tunnel is in Bell County KY between Pineville and Middlesboro (36.713553, -83.671519 off Patterson Branch Road).  The unfinished portal is on the south.
The line appears to be abandoned.  I saw a few rail dates in the 1920s and the faceup on the north portal has a 1944 date.  However, I think the tunnel is much older than that, since the L&N ran a line in this area sometime after 1890 (as far as I can tell…corrections happily accepted).
I walked through the tunnel and saw only one rockfall area.
Note: walking through a tunnel is not a good idea.

Southern Passenger Station, Morristown, Tenn.

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The Southern passenger station in Morristown TN pre-1906 (when his card was mailed).  For the time, the printer was generous with the area on which to write a message, since, as an undivided back card, you could only write the address on the back.  I still find it amazing that this card was mailed at 2:30 pm on October 3, 1906, and arrived in Bristol at 7:30 that evening.

Isabella writes that they are laid over in M’town until 2:30, but will be spending the night in Asheville.  I wonder if the train that took this card to Bristol also took Isabella and her companions on to Asheville.

Kidding my older brother, I mentioned that I thought one of the people posed there at the station looked a bit like him.  He was not amused.

The card was published by Rose & Rice and is on a slightly heavier stock that one usually sees in postcards.

Incidentally, there’s a Jennie Rose Rice (1867-1946) buried in Jarnagin Cemetery in Morristown.

Michigan Central Railroad

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I picked up this card mainly because I didn’t know anything about Michigan Central Railroad, but soon realized that this is an interesting card.  The picture was shot from the Ontario side of Horseshoe Falls. The picture shows Falls View.  Michigan Central Railroad trains had been stopping here since 1885 to let passengers take in the scenery.  I read that this place, in the mid to late 1700s, was known on maps as “Grand View”.

The card was mailed from Youngstown NY (north of the Falls) to Tioga Center, now just Tioga, NY, in July, 1938.  Tioga is in the south of the state, between Elmira and Binghamton.

The message was pretty thoroughly erased, but it seems to be the usual “having a wonderful time” thing.

ET&WNC Excursion Flyer, maybe

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This flyer is 8.5 x 14.  I bought this at a local flea market.  The dealer had maybe 10 of them.  He said they had come from an ephemera auction lot and was asking $20, firm, for one of them.  I walked away first, but, intrigued, I came back and bought this one out of curiosity.  Is it real? The paper appears to be brown tinted, not aged.  On the back, down at the bottom, in pencil, is “3.00”, which probably means some other dealer thought it was only worth that.  Under a 10-power loupe, the print looks more like melted toner that it does ink, though I didn’t see any toner splatter (note to all: I’m not an expert at this).  One other point: the morning I bought this was damp and foggy.  The young man helping the dealer was holding one of these when some water dripped onto it.  He didn’t seem to care.  If I had been holding ephemera worth $20, I would have cared, for sure.
Since it references the movie short “Tennessee Tweetsie” that came out in 1939, the first year after that with Sundays on the 14th and 28th is 1941.  That would be when the original, if this is a fake, was printed.
Anybody know anything about these flyers?

Camelback 4-6-0?

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This is a RPPC, a Real Photo Post Card, a one-off.  The configuration around the “Place Stamp Here” on the back with all four corner triangles pointed up puts its manufacture between 1904 and 1918.  I’m no expert on locomotives, but it looks like a Camelback 4-2-2 (note the bull’s horns above the lamp).  Or, if I’m looking at it wrong, it could be a 4-6-0 (Clinchfield had four 4-6-0s early on, but no 4-2-2s)  If this dates to the mid- to late-teens, this gang could be laying track for the Clinchfield Railroad, which may have occasioned the picture.  Or they could be cleaning up a wreck.

The only reason I think it’s Clinchfield is because I bought it locally.  Weak reasoning, I suppose.

The Tennessean

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The Tennessean train was jointly operated by N&W and Southern with a 24-hour run between Washington DC and Memphis.  It made regular trips from 1941 until 1968.

The lady who mailed this didn’t have a particularly good experience:
“Train 8 hrs late arriving at Memphis.  Phoned (someone). They will meet me in (something). Coach without heat all night – nearly froze.  No food on the train except potato chips and crackers.  Thanks for lunch. Love Mother”

The Memphis postmark is incomplete, but has to be from the ’50s, when postcard postage was two cents (1952 – 1958).

Card was printed by E. C. Kropp of Milwaukee.

Appalachia Train Station

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The L&N came into what was then known as Intermont in 1891.  It formally became Appalachia in 1906.  This Craftsman style train station was built around 1910.  Notably, it has a slate roof.
The card was printed by The Tecraft Company in Tenafly NJ.  That company registered The Tecraft Company as a trade name in 1946, when it was over 70 years old.

Judging by the quality of the photo and comparing it to other Tecraft cards on line, I would think this card dates to the early 20th century.  It’s in fair to good condition with just  two minor creases.

Note: back in 2012, I’d posted a picture of how the station looks now.  As the comment below notes, it’s a wreck.

Seaboard Coast Line Caboose

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I didn’t track this too carefully, but it was noted as being in Marion NC around 1984.  Makes sense, it’s now on some guy’s property about 8 miles south of Spruce Pine, beside an active CSX line at Sevier Crossroads.  Looks to be in pretty good shape.  It’s sited at 35 48 10.89N, 82 00 59.22W on Old Linville Road.  Family Lines System only existed from 1972 to 1982 and this predates that, since it carries a Seaboard Coast Line ID number.  It is, I think, an ACL (Atlantic Coast Lines) M-5.  I could be wrong.  When I was a kid, attracting chiggers on a mountain side in the foggy dawn light while by brother listened for squirrels, I looked over and saw what I thought was a cat and called to it.  My brother: “Hush, Bobby, and, anyway, that’s skunk, not a cat.  Now be quiet!”

Hazard Yard South Tunnel

This is the south portal of the tunnel that passes through a ridge south of Hazard Yard.  The tunnel is about 450′ long.

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The box truss trestle passes over the North Fork of the Kentucky River.  Vandals (grrrr) have relieved the bridge of its maker/date plate.  However, the bridge resembles others on this line that were made by Virginia Bridge and Iron Company in Roanoke in 1912.

The Tunnel that Opened up Hazard

In 1912 or so, the L&N was eager to get to the high-quality coal around Hazard KY.  This tunnel, 1,300′ or so, was the access.

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Hello, Hazard!  This is on the north side of Hazard Yard, now plenty of tracks but not much traffic.  In its day, though, it was a full-time yard.  There was at least one turntable.  The circular foundation is still visible.  The next post is of the tunnel on the south side of the yard.

Trolley?

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I took this picture back in 2009.  The idea that looking a little closer and taken a few more pictures of something interesting hadn’t dawned on me.
This is, or was, in Hiltons VA.  I think was once a trolley car.  Just over to the left is where the railroad once came through Hiltons (the line from Bristol to Gate City).  I dunno.  We find artifacts like this all over the place.

Surprise! Big Four, No Daylight

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Photo by Lee Stone.
I like the composition of this shot.  That’s Big Four #2 up ahead.  Just beyond it is Big Four’s Walmart (formerly a K-Mart).  This 174′ tunnel may still be scheduled for daylighting (removing the overburden and opening it up) in that corridor improvement project, but, as of November, 2106, it’s still a tunnel.  That’s Elkhorn Creek on the left.
Incidentally, when I was researching this tunnel, I learned that the community of Big Four was named after the four owners of the major mines in this area.  Keep the big people happy, and distracted.

Antler #1 Tunnel

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My traveling buddy, Lee Stone, was exploring the area around Welch WV and kindly took the time to shoot some of the tunnels in the area.  This N&S’s Antler #1 (37 27 14.88N, 81 37 42.75W – this is the format for Google Earth), eastern face, built around 1905.  In the late 2000s, it was part of the Heartland Corridor Clearance Project to raise the clearances in 28 tunnels on the line.

20th Century Limited Leaving Chicago

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I like postcards.  I especially like pre-WWI, probably German-printed, dramatic cards…with a train. This is one of them.  The title of this post is what is printed on the front of this card.

The back notes it is card 51 of, perhaps, a railroad series.  There’s a rather wordy puff piece about the 20th Century Limited.  But the message is the interesting item:

Hello Blanche.  Recd. your card all O.K  Was disappointed a few weeks ago, guess you know why.  Sincerely C.B.

It was posted from Rogersville TN on March 3, 2pm, 1911, to Miss Blanche Gladson, Rogersville Tenn R#4.

Now, let me tell you about Blanche.  I’ve run across more cards sent to her than to anyone else. She had a large family and, apparently, throngs of friends, all merrily posting cards to her.

She probably enjoyed them all.  I know I have.

Southern Pass

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T
his Southern Railway Company pass, 4 x 2.5″, was issued to Miss Josephine Morris, dependent daughter of W.H. Morris, Agent, Harriman, Tenn, in 1921.
The back looks like a pass that didn’t print well.  There’s a clover pattern overall and “NTOW”, part of some word or other. I hope she enjoyed her visits to and from Knoxville.

I didn’t have any luck tracking down the name of the vice-president who signed this.

Nolichucky River Bridge (Unaka Springs)

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I think this card is from the early 20s.  I don’t know what company actually printed it (“published by Erwin Drug” just means that the drug store commissioned the postcard run).  American News Company of Boston farmed out a lot of the black-and-white work to Curt Teich in Chicago.  The inventory number does seem to indicate ANC.  However, I’m still working on this.  I have several cards in my collection that have the same back design and one seems to indicate it was done by Asheville Post Card Company.
Another maybe: this design often is shown with “COMMERCIALCHROME” AND “OCTOCHROME” in place of the “BLACK AND WHITE” wording.  It gets complicated.
Whatever.  This bridge was a replacement for an earlier timber structure and is, according to Goforth, is a TPG, a through plate girder style built on stone piers (possible: Goforth had access to original construction data and may have been using the TPG abbreviation to mean “timber plate girder”). It’s 864′ long.  This view is looking back toward Erwin. Note the steps up to the railroad grade.
This is the same bridge in 2014 (36 05 56.8N, 82 26 34.9W – Google Earth coordinate data entry):

The bridge is now a through pony plate girder and the piers are still there, but have been added on to in order to raise the level of the track.  There are houses on the left of this,at Unaka Springs, but no stairs.

Southern Railway Freight Office

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Well, it was the Southern Railway Freight Office on Meadow Road in Asheville.  Habitat for Humanity occupies the back portion (cropped out in this picture) for storage, I guess, since their retail store is just across the parking lot from this building.  This portion appears to be unoccupied.

I especially like the SR medallions in the upper corners.  Southern was a deal back then.

Polly Switchers

Here’re three more pix of those switchers in Polly KY:

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This is looking at the back of the switcher.

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These are the controls by the engineer’s chair.  Note the intercom speaker.

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This is the registration plate on the back switcher (the front one was gone).  It’s been smoothed down over the years, but I think the model number is D904703 (that “D” could be a “O”) and the serial number is 52G155.

Two Blue Switchers

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Ran across these at a mostly abandoned coal mine and processing plant in Polly KY.
I am no expert on engines, but these are switchers made by the General Motors Electromotive Division…maybe carry the NW designation, which would mean they date from the early 40s.  I was able to get the serial number, but it didn’t yield any information when I conducted a search.

These have been hit by vandals.  That’s no surprise.