locked Re: St Charles Branch Coal Loader Info
In addition to the St. Charles Branch and Middlesboro lines, the Southern and L&N also shared the Clear Fork Branch on the KY/TN border--the Southern reached it via trackage rights over the L&N's main near Jellico. Like the other two, the Clear Fork Branch was coal, coal, coal.
In the '50s, there were three major tipples at the end of the Southern's branch to Benedict. The first is Benedict, as you mentioned. The Monarch tipple (Blue Diamond Coal) was geographically south of the tail track--the track to serve it left the main just before the trestle at Benedict (it had its own adjacent trestle). The Imperial tipple was geographically north of the tail track and reached by a separate switchback going up the hillside. Imperial seems to have disappeared in the '50s. Monarch was gone by the late '60s.
From: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io> on behalf of sgwarner88@... <sgwarner88@...>
Sent: Wednesday, December 23, 2020 8:06 AM
To: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] St Charles Branch Coal Loader Info
Evan - Southern long had access to Middlesboro, via trackage rights from Cumberland Gap through the tunnel to Middlesboro. As CSXT traffic from Middlesboro dropped off in the 80’s and NS traffic increased, they leased The Middlesboro facility to NS in exchange for NS leasing the Virginian Winding Gulf branch to CSXT beyond Amigo in 1985 (I wrote both agreements). Having worked on the St. Charles line in the 70’s I always thought that there were similarities between the two operations. This is the first time that I have seen the 1963 map, however. It is especially interesting in the trackage that goes past Benedict to Monarch and Imperial. Sometime before 1970 these two evidently closed, as a portion of the line was retained as tailback room to make the move up into Benedict (the old site). On my first inspection trip in 1970 was intrigued by that tailback track disappearing into the woods, and wondered if it at one time went farther, Now I know. Thanks.