Calvin Sneed’s first book, with some of the 11,800+ bridge pictures he’s posted to bridgehunter.com, is now available (College Press ISBN: 978-1-5323-4369-8).
Tim Cable and I interviewed Calvin on Thinking Out Loud morning show on AM910 WJCW radio this morning. Truss bridges, mostly, are a passion for Calvin. And he knows his stuff.
The book isn’t on amazon.com yet; however, Calvin’s having a book signing at the I Love Books bookstore in the Ft. Henry Mall in Kingsport this Sunday, December 10, from 1:00 – 3:00 pm.
N&S locomotive 7512 slowly coming up the grade across Highway 606 below Exeter VA.
I find some of these utilitarian railroad trestles across rivers quite satisfying.
Lancefield East angles across a shoal in the French Broad River. Keep going on this and you’ll leave Cocke County TN and hit Madison County NC in just a few miles. The trestle is 960′ long, with a handy walkway provided. I’ve been on a walkway similar to this when a train came by. I was safe enough, but that much power and sheer tonnage was certainly impressive. And loud.
This is one of several pedestrian walk-throughs under the N&S lines in Williamson. I show this to contrast to how St. Paul VA solved their problem with the rail line: they took the whole street under the tracks.
The junction box identifies this crossing as Hatfield. The town of Hatfield, though, is a little over 5 miles to the northwest. I was looking slightly north northwest when I took this picture. I’m just across Tug Fork from Williamson KY yard. The truss bridge, canted to bear the weight shift on a curve, was made by Virginia Bridge and Iron, in Roanoke, in 1913. The road is Kentucky 292. If you look just above the bridge, you can see part of a long coal conveyor belt.
While Norfolk Western laid down a line through Williamson in 1892 or so, they didn’t build the big consolidation and repair yard until 1901. It has a roundhouse, but I wasn’t able to get a decent picture of it. It shows up quite well on Google Earth, though.
You can also see from the satellite image the fairly wide suspension pedestrian walkway that spans the yard. It is gated, but I was able to climb the rickety stairs that access the northern bridge support tower. This is looking southeast:
This is looking across the yard showing the pedestrian bridge (there’s a date on the building in the center, 1926):
And this is looking northwest or so:
This is the best view I could get of the roundhouse, taken from a 1913 truss bridge over the Tug Fork on the southern side of the yard:
This is a tiny pin, just 1/2″. It’s been around for a while, but I have no way of dating it.
Butterfly pin back, no maker’s mark. Base metal.
My color ID program (Colorblind Assistant) calls this “rosy brown”. I think it’s pink..ish.
It’s located just down from the coal house in Middlesboro KY.
I’d forgotten I had this picture. This much-used Jordan Spreader, SBD 774760, was sitting in the eastern part of Kingsport yard back in 2012. I thought it might have been used to clear tunnels of ice. That was fanciful. When I looked it up, I found that the unit is used to dig and clear ditches, regulate ballast and even to plow snow. Sturdy and reliable, and, of course, it’s been replaced by more modern things…so it goes.
It was raining slightly and I saw these boxcars sitting on a siding off Tilthammer Drive, in the industrial park behind Evergreen Garden Center in Kingsport. A few years ago, I came this way and the rails were getting a little rusty. I thought that this siding was unused, but, as you can see by the rails now, it is getting steady use by one of the companies down there. Nice to see. Go, railroads!
A long string of TTX well cars pooled outside Tazewell VA.
It looks like this unit has been here (37.20723, -81.562866 near Bishop VA) for several years. It wasn’t here in 2012, but was in 2015 (the available Google Earth images). The locomotive is unlocked but hasn’t been terribly vandalized.
Here’s the glamour shot:
I don’t have the foggiest where this is and neither does my buddy, who knows a thing or two about tipples. Since this was in the early 60s, over 50 years ago…it’s probably long gone by now.
There are a few thin clues to where it may have been: The Unknown Collector put his acquisition date as April 18, 1963 (that was a Thursday, I looked it up). The photographer was C. H. Ruth, who took chromes like this around the area, generally for Haynes Publishing, in the 60s. This one, though was published by “Mountaineer Post Card Service, Chilhowie, Va.”. Printed by Dexter in West Nyack, N.Y.
The hopper just visible under the front tipple is marked L&N.
Lines and lines of empty hoppers parked in Southwest Virginia. This is looking more or less southward into Dante Yard. We were moving from Scott County into Dickenson County and back and saw a lot of these idle units. Anecdotal reports indicate that they’ve been there for a considerable time (several weeks or so). We were seeing both CSX and N&S (and some old Southern and Norfolk & Western units, too).
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.
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.
This Clinchfield Railroad trestle is only King Bridge Company (Cleveland OH) unit I’ve found. Made in 1907. That’s the Clinch River it’s crossing (no, it’s not..see below. It could be Cove Creek, though). This deck girder is just off Hwy. 65 south of Ft. Blackmore in Scott County VA.
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.
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!”
This was at Norton Yard a few years ago. These guys really know how to bend steel!
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.
Size is 1″ x 3.5″ the reverse is blank.
Note: people used to wear hats back then. “Hat Check” wasn’t for fleas or anything, it just let you amble about hatless without worrying about someone sitting on your topper.
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.
This 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.
Here’re three more pix of those switchers in Polly KY:
This is looking at the back of the switcher.
These are the controls by the engineer’s chair. Note the intercom speaker.
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.
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.
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.