locked Need scan of Murphy Branch timetable page


Jim King
 

I’m trying to locate water tanks and coaling spots on the Murphy Branch between Addie and Bryson City.  If anyone can send me a scan of the 1-page timetable page for the Murphy Branch for any year in the 40s up to 1952 (end of steam here), I’d greatly appreciate it. 

 

In the 1960s to circa 1972, there was a Geep-powered local based in Sylva that ran between Sylva and Addie to switch the various industries, primarily Mead Paper.  If this local existed in steam days, there was likely a water tank and coaling facility, possibly a conveyor like at Nantahala, for this 2-8-0. 

 

The ICC Val map for Bryson shows a water tank directly across from the wye and a coal trestle to the east (which is still there) but I’m not sure if this was for a retail coal dealer or for Southern engines (or both).  Was there a built up platform at this location where coal was shoveled into tenders? 

 

Was there a coal conveyor or similar on the east end of Addie? Nothing shows on the Val map except the coal trestle.  There are remnants of a long stub siding visible in folks’ backyards made of very light rail and “ballast” appears to be coal mixed with cinders.  It’s angled away from the track but could have been the sight of a conveyor and the “ballast” that remains today is actually spilled coal from hoppers.  This would have been near the station and at the base of the climb to Balsam.  Addie’s water tank was east of the station around the curve (ICC Val map) from the station but there is no mention of a coal trestle.

 

There was a coal dealer called Sylva Coal & Lumber near the Sylva station (the trestle’s concrete bents still stand) but the trestle was angled away from the track.  Ironically, there is no mention or outline of the Sylva depot which stood on the opposite side of the track slightly westward toward Dillsboro.

 

Jim King

www.smokymountainmodelworks.com

 


--
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com


George Eichelberger
 

Jim:

Here are the two ICC summary pages for Accounts 18 (Water Stations) and 19 (Fuel Stations) for NC Val Section 53, the Murphy Branch. There appears to have been coaling facilities only at Balsam (MP 34.9) and Bryson (MP 64.3) as early as August 12, 1932.

All/most of the summaries are in the SRHA archives as well as the bi-annual submissions up to the 1960s.

Ike

PS to everyone. I’ll need to start deleting some of our attachments fairly soon.


On Jun 9, 2019, at 3:13 PM, Jim King <jimking3@...> wrote:

I’m trying to locate water tanks and coaling spots on the Murphy Branch between Addie and Bryson City.  If anyone can send me a scan of the 1-page timetable page for the Murphy Branch for any year in the 40s up to 1952 (end of steam here), I’d greatly appreciate it.  
 
In the 1960s to circa 1972, there was a Geep-powered local based in Sylva that ran between Sylva and Addie to switch the various industries, primarily Mead Paper.  If this local existed in steam days, there was likely a water tank and coaling facility, possibly a conveyor like at Nantahala, for this 2-8-0.  
 
The ICC Val map for Bryson shows a water tank directly across from the wye and a coal trestle to the east (which is still there) but I’m not sure if this was for a retail coal dealer or for Southern engines (or both).  Was there a built up platform at this location where coal was shoveled into tenders?  
 
Was there a coal conveyor or similar on the east end of Addie? Nothing shows on the Val map except the coal trestle.  There are remnants of a long stub siding visible in folks’ backyards made of very light rail and “ballast” appears to be coal mixed with cinders.  It’s angled away from the track but could have been the sight of a conveyor and the “ballast” that remains today is actually spilled coal from hoppers.  This would have been near the station and at the base of the climb to Balsam.  Addie’s water tank was east of the station around the curve (ICC Val map) from the station but there is no mention of a coal trestle.
 
There was a coal dealer called Sylva Coal & Lumber near the Sylva station (the trestle’s concrete bents still stand) but the trestle was angled away from the track.  Ironically, there is no mention or outline of the Sylva depot which stood on the opposite side of the track slightly westward toward Dillsboro.
 
Jim King
 

-- 
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com


Michael Roderick
 

Jim:

I have the following Timetables from the Asheville area which has the Murphy Branch listed one is a 1948, 1960 time tables. Also if you could send me a copy of the ICC VAL Map of Bryson City I would surely appreciate it as I am going to be modeling the Murphy Branch and I am currently in the research faze of what I want to do. You may also want to reach out to Gordon on the murphy branch group also he has a lot of information to and would also probably like a copy of the Bryson Val map to.

Mike


From: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io> on behalf of George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...>
Sent: Sunday, June 9, 2019 17:21
To: main@southernrailway.groups.io
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Need scan of Murphy Branch timetable page
 
Jim:

Here are the two ICC summary pages for Accounts 18 (Water Stations) and 19 (Fuel Stations) for NC Val Section 53, the Murphy Branch. There appears to have been coaling facilities only at Balsam (MP 34.9) and Bryson (MP 64.3) as early as August 12, 1932.

All/most of the summaries are in the SRHA archives as well as the bi-annual submissions up to the 1960s.

Ike

PS to everyone. I’ll need to start deleting some of our attachments fairly soon.


On Jun 9, 2019, at 3:13 PM, Jim King <jimking3@...> wrote:

I’m trying to locate water tanks and coaling spots on the Murphy Branch between Addie and Bryson City.  If anyone can send me a scan of the 1-page timetable page for the Murphy Branch for any year in the 40s up to 1952 (end of steam here), I’d greatly appreciate it.  
 
In the 1960s to circa 1972, there was a Geep-powered local based in Sylva that ran between Sylva and Addie to switch the various industries, primarily Mead Paper.  If this local existed in steam days, there was likely a water tank and coaling facility, possibly a conveyor like at Nantahala, for this 2-8-0.  
 
The ICC Val map for Bryson shows a water tank directly across from the wye and a coal trestle to the east (which is still there) but I’m not sure if this was for a retail coal dealer or for Southern engines (or both).  Was there a built up platform at this location where coal was shoveled into tenders?  
 
Was there a coal conveyor or similar on the east end of Addie? Nothing shows on the Val map except the coal trestle.  There are remnants of a long stub siding visible in folks’ backyards made of very light rail and “ballast” appears to be coal mixed with cinders.  It’s angled away from the track but could have been the sight of a conveyor and the “ballast” that remains today is actually spilled coal from hoppers.  This would have been near the station and at the base of the climb to Balsam.  Addie’s water tank was east of the station around the curve (ICC Val map) from the station but there is no mention of a coal trestle.
 
There was a coal dealer called Sylva Coal & Lumber near the Sylva station (the trestle’s concrete bents still stand) but the trestle was angled away from the track.  Ironically, there is no mention or outline of the Sylva depot which stood on the opposite side of the track slightly westward toward Dillsboro.
 
Jim King
 

-- 
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com


Jim King
 

Thanks, Ike.  Now this really opens up a can of worms.  Turntables at Addie, Bryson and Epps Springs (about 5 miles west of Bryson)?  I suspect the first 2 were replaced with wyes about in the same location.  According to "legend" and confirmed by the 1948 t/t, light 2-8-2s (4500-class, most likely) were allowed to Addie, which might explain why the Addie turntable (too short) was replaced with a wye.  However, the 1945 retirement date of Bryson's table seems strange.  Only 2-8-0s and 4-6-2s (maybe 4-6-0s) were allowed there so if a turntable that was in-service in 1920 it would have handled everything still operating in 1945.  Maybe it just worn out?  Epps Springs would have been underwater by 1948 as a result of the Fontana Dam track relocation.  Balsam's coaling station retirement in 1949 seems to indicate that steam was gone from the branch by then.  Anyway to confirm that?

Another eye-opener is the multitude of "Retired 1951" dates related to water tanks and, especially, 1946 for Canton's water tank.  August 1952 was that last active steam in Asheville but, it appears, the Branch has already dieselized.  The 1946 Canton date is confusing because there was only 1 tank that I know of (west side of Pigeon River) and steam was still running in 1946.  Could "retired" mean "replacement"?  There was a water pipe of some sort for the yard engine across from the station.

The Bryson coaling station was HUGE compared to the Balsam installation.  Now where was it?  This description rules out the current coal trestle as doing double-duty ... it was likely only for the retail coal dealer.  According to the ICC sheets, the water tank was at MP 64.1 and is shown on the valuation map.  MP 64.0 is between the main road crossing at that station and the coal trestle.  MP 64.3, where the coaling station is noted on the ICC blueprint, would be about where  the 2 tracks become 1 west of town.  There is a stub siding shown on the val map with a "tool house" notation.  Interesting.

Good stuff, thanks again, Ike.
--
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com


Jim King
 

As more pieces come together, it's interesting to note that the July 1948 t/t from Mike Roderick lists Bryson as having a coal station but the ICC valuation sheet above  shows it retired in 1945 along with the sand house and turntable.  I wish there was a milepost listed for the turntable to confirm or deny suspicion that it was located where wye was installed.  MP 64.3 (coaling station location) is 0.3 mile from "downtown" (station) and, when built in the teens (?) would have been open terrain.  This installation was likely of similar construction as the Balsam ramp, meaning Bryson's ramp (being MUCH bigger) required a long run to get up the ramp.  Not something that would fit closer to town, IMO.  Good grief, even MORE questions ... but we're getting closer to "an answer".
--
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com


Michael Roderick
 

Jim:

My guess would be to try to get in touch with somebody from Swain County Court House that handles records and maps especially from the 30's to 40's. I will try to get with my parents to see if they know anybody there in Bryson.

Mike


From: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io> on behalf of Jim King <jimking3@...>
Sent: Monday, June 10, 2019 16:41
To: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Need scan of Murphy Branch timetable page
 
As more pieces come together, it's interesting to note that the July 1948 t/t from Mike Roderick lists Bryson as having a coal station but the ICC valuation sheet above  shows it retired in 1945 along with the sand house and turntable.  I wish there was a milepost listed for the turntable to confirm or deny suspicion that it was located where wye was installed.  MP 64.3 (coaling station location) is 0.3 mile from "downtown" (station) and, when built in the teens (?) would have been open terrain.  This installation was likely of similar construction as the Balsam ramp, meaning Bryson's ramp (being MUCH bigger) required a long run to get up the ramp.  Not something that would fit closer to town, IMO.  Good grief, even MORE questions ... but we're getting closer to "an answer".
--
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com


mike turner
 

Jim,

Name something non-trivial the more you knew about it, the less questions you had.

That's how the universe works!

Then again, maybe that's just me. :)

Anyway, good fascinating discussion.

On 6/10/2019 4:41 PM, Jim King wrote:
  Good grief, even MORE questions ... but we're getting closer to "an answer".
--
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com--
Mike Turner
MP-Z35


George Eichelberger
 

Jim:

You are certainly making good use of the material! Keep it up!

I would like for us to be able to organize a comprehensive study of various items in the SRHA archives. A point I have been explaining to people is that there are several completely different types of records and documents that may contain data about the same subject or loaction. For example, the Presidents’ files may include information, and authorization for AFEs (Authorization for Expenditure) that explain/justify the monies requested, the ICC reports from 1916 into the 60s give us very detailed costs and dates. And, we are very fortunate to have the Ben Roberts/Oscar Kimsey/Frank Ardrey collections of depot photos. Ben and Oscar obtained many photos taken with the ICC study and there are more in the ICC Field Notes we have.

Re: Turntables….

Researching the SRHA SR diesel book (a abridged portion of the FT introduction is in the TIES now at the printer), I found a reason so many turntables were removed at about the same time in the early 1950s.

GP-7s were marketed by EMD, and purchased by the Southern, for use on secondary passenger trains. As delivered they were NOT equipped for single engine bi-directional operation. When a passenger train reached the end of its run, on a line like the Murphy Branch, the engine used a turntable for the return trip. The problem was, turning a loco that way required a hostler per the union agreements. That led to turntables being replaced by wyes so the road crew could turn the locos.

To avoid even that process, and both wyes and turntables, the Southern asked EMD and Alco to rearrange the control stands, seats, deadman’s pedals, etc on GP-7 and RS-2 orders to permit bi-directional operation. A GP and RS were equipped and tested per the Southern design. All subsequent GP and RS orders were built per SR specs (cost was approx. $650).

The strategy was a complete success, so much so. As the bi-directional engines were introduced on different operating divisions turntables and wyes were removed as quickly as possible. Richmond was the first such division. Only bi-directional units were allowed and were to be kept on that division. Knowing this, we see a pattern, dieselization, removal of coal and water facilities, assignment of bi-directional diesels, then removal of turntables and wyes.

One more thing….
There is a letter in the archives from the B&O that starts something like “we understand the Southern has modified GPs and RS units to permit bi-directional operation”. The Southern responded with a full set of drawings. By that time the B&O had many units in service, and there is no response in the archives so we do not know if any of that road’s engines were modified.

Ike


On Jun 10, 2019, at 4:29 PM, Jim King <jimking3@...> wrote:

Thanks, Ike.  Now this really opens up a can of worms.  Turntables at Addie, Bryson and Epps Springs (about 5 miles west of Bryson)?  I suspect the first 2 were replaced with wyes about in the same location.  According to "legend" and confirmed by the 1948 t/t, light 2-8-2s (4500-class, most likely) were allowed to Addie, which might explain why the Addie turntable (too short) was replaced with a wye.  However, the 1945 retirement date of Bryson's table seems strange.  Only 2-8-0s and 4-6-2s (maybe 4-6-0s) were allowed there so if a turntable that was in-service in 1920 it would have handled everything still operating in 1945.  Maybe it just worn out?  Epps Springs would have been underwater by 1948 as a result of the Fontana Dam track relocation.  Balsam's coaling station retirement in 1949 seems to indicate that steam was gone from the branch by then.  Anyway to confirm that?

Another eye-opener is the multitude of "Retired 1951" dates related to water tanks and, especially, 1946 for Canton's water tank.  August 1952 was that last active steam in Asheville but, it appears, the Branch has already dieselized.  The 1946 Canton date is confusing because there was only 1 tank that I know of (west side of Pigeon River) and steam was still running in 1946.  Could "retired" mean "replacement"?  There was a water pipe of some sort for the yard engine across from the station.

The Bryson coaling station was HUGE compared to the Balsam installation.  Now where was it?  This description rules out the current coal trestle as doing double-duty ... it was likely only for the retail coal dealer.  According to the ICC sheets, the water tank was at MP 64.1 and is shown on the valuation map.  MP 64.0 is between the main road crossing at that station and the coal trestle.  MP 64.3, where the coaling station is noted on the ICC blueprint, would be about where  the 2 tracks become 1 west of town.  There is a stub siding shown on the val map with a "tool house" notation.  Interesting.

Good stuff, thanks again, Ike.
--
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com


Jim King
 

Ike,

Interesting tidbit re: tt's and wyes.  The wye at Canton was still used when I was there 1977-81 and we had to turn an engine once after it broke an air pipe following a hard coupling and swapped engines with the returning Goose.  The west leg of the wye was removed in the early 80s while the east leg continued usage for car storage.  It came up in the mid 80s soon after the NS merger.

The Addie and Murphy wyes were still in place but unused well into the 80s.  Addie's was removed by the lumber mill (I think) or buried in logs.  The Murphy wye has been cannibalized for switch parts by GSMR according to reports.

I'm still confused as to the several-year difference between documented steam activity on the Murphy and the ICC reports with handwritten (by Southern, no doubt) retirement dates several years before the end of steam.  I don't know when the Nantahala coal conveyor was installed but certainly later than the ICC valuation sheets so it wouldn't show up as being retired.  Several of Dale Roberts' pix were printed in TIES or SRHS pub of that facility with a 2-8-0 and combine, also very unusual consist.  Retiring the Bryson and Balsam coal ramps in 1945 while steam was still running makes no sense to me because Nantahala would have been the only coal source remaining for the entire branch.  The 1948 timetable clearly shows steam in service and the Bryson-Addie turn plus the long-distance Goose.  Also, as far as I know, the short passenger train that ran the entire line (east and west trains usually met around Willits) were always steam powered and that train ran until at least 1947, maybe 1948.  It needed coal, too.
--
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com


George Eichelberger
 

Jim:

I agree with your logic but the Southern was strict about reporting accounts to the ICC. SRHA does have the Southern’s (and CofG) carbon copies of all/most of the ICC Forms 588-R “Report to Interstate Commerce Commission Bureau of Valuations” in the archives. Those were submitted every year on 6-30 and 12-31 and were the valuation basis for everything on the Southern. Many pieces of correspondence specify how accurate, and timely they had to be. The notes on the Summary Sheets could (!) vary from the 588s but I cannot think of a reason the Southern would have done that?

Even after excluding the grading, ties, ballast, rail, fences, signs and other accounts, there are still many (!) pages of rolling stock and Valuation Section (fixed plant) accounts. Nothing has been scanned on the Murphy Branch (assuming we have it) so I have attached a page from CofG Val section 34 as an example. Note the level of detail it includes. (Can upload a copy of the ICC instructions again if folks are interested.)

Before anyone asks…..no, it is not possible for archives volunteers to scan-on-demand, there is simply not time and we have to do the work that benefits the most people for the foreseeable future. Individuals, preferably as SRHA members, are welcome to go to Chattanooga and help. If we had sufficient donations or grant money from some source, we could pay Univ of Tenn students to come in and help.

Ike



On Jun 11, 2019, at 10:51 AM, Jim King <jimking3@...> wrote:

Ike,

Interesting tidbit re: tt's and wyes.  The wye at Canton was still used when I was there 1977-81 and we had to turn an engine once after it broke an air pipe following a hard coupling and swapped engines with the returning Goose.  The west leg of the wye was removed in the early 80s while the east leg continued usage for car storage.  It came up in the mid 80s soon after the NS merger.

The Addie and Murphy wyes were still in place but unused well into the 80s.  Addie's was removed by the lumber mill (I think) or buried in logs.  The Murphy wye has been cannibalized for switch parts by GSMR according to reports.

I'm still confused as to the several-year difference between documented steam activity on the Murphy and the ICC reports with handwritten (by Southern, no doubt) retirement dates several years before the end of steam.  I don't know when the Nantahala coal conveyor was installed but certainly later than the ICC valuation sheets so it wouldn't show up as being retired.  Several of Dale Roberts' pix were printed in TIES or SRHS pub of that facility with a 2-8-0 and combine, also very unusual consist.  Retiring the Bryson and Balsam coal ramps in 1945 while steam was still running makes no sense to me because Nantahala would have been the only coal source remaining for the entire branch.  The 1948 timetable clearly shows steam in service and the Bryson-Addie turn plus the long-distance Goose.  Also, as far as I know, the short passenger train that ran the entire line (east and west trains usually met around Willits) were always steam powered and that train ran until at least 1947, maybe 1948.  It needed coal, too.
--
Jim King
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com