locked Re: Work Trains on Southern's Appalachia Division

Daniel Bourque


Great info—thanks for sharing! I’m trying to imagine an N&W derrick squeezing through the tunnels between St Paul and Norton that were too tight to handle plate C cars—might have been some sparks flying on that move!


On Mar 10, 2022, at 10:22 AM, Stephen Warner <sgwarner88@...> wrote:

George, While I did not start to work on the Appalachia Division until the early 70's, The patterns should have been the same.  Yes, the Div. HQ originally on the V&SW/S Ry was in Bristol, and the connection to the East End of the A Line of the Knoxville Div. was via the Scott St. Connection to N&W, west of the depot.  The Bristol Yard was a joint operation, but I suspect but cannot confirm that the yard crews were N&W, and it would have been more costly to come on-line at Bulls Gap unless the eqpt came off the N&W.  The SA&O line continuing into NC did not connect with anything useful for this purpose and had been flooded out and removed by that time except for two miles further into Bristol.  The direct connection with the Knoxville Div. was at Bulls Gap, either to Sevier Yd. or Asheville via Leadville.  Having said all that the driver of the operation would have been (and was in my time there) where the train & eqpt. came from.   Unless the eqpt was delivered via N&W, such as a Sperry Car or Ballast Cleaner, it would have come from Knoxville Div., mainly from the direction of Sevier Yd., but possibly also from Asheville, thus it would have come out of Bulls Gap.  The Scott St. Conn. in Bristol was in the middle of the street to connect to a wye switch just west of the wye on N&W, and more conducive for Interchange of cuts of cars rather than a ballast train.  But keep in mind that coal was still handled via Bristol to Interchange with N&W for Saltville, but that was in the Bristol Local from Appalachia - and stopped after the April '70 flood took out the line east of Moccasin Gap.  I know that our ballast trains came from Stockbridge Ga., so they came via Knoxville, as did rail trains from the Inman Fab. Plant.  Ties came in tie cars or gons from Southern Wood Preserving/Chattanooga in regular trains the same way.  The spray train & Sperry Car (which I ran), and most other such trains were first used on the Knoxville Div., and generally came to us on a Friday (we got them after the first finished the Knoxville Div. and that meant that we started work Friday afternoon through the weekend - fun.     Appalachia only had a small Derrick that would have come out of Appalachia, so major derailments often used the Knoxville Derrick via Bulls Gap, and sometimes "borrowed" the N&W Derrick, either through Bristol or Norton (IRR).  General work trains such as tie unloading, or pickup came from whatever location was most convenient and the eqpt. was staged. If we were unloading ties east of Dan'l Boone we would likely have the train come up from BG, or the night before and tie up closer to the work.  Any work on the west end would come out of Appalachia, including the TB/St. Charles Line.  While I never T&S'ed the Bristol Line, I would assume that for work closer to Bristol they would move the eqpt to Bristol and start unloading or pickup from there.  If you want more, just ask.

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