locked Bagged cement for Fontana

Jim King

Bagged cement:  the Canton conductor I rode with during my 1977-81 college years told me he was working in Canton while Fontana Dam was being built (he was also assigned to Camp LeJuene RR for a short spell during the War).  He commented that 50-car trains of bagged cement in boxcars plus other cars used to fill out the train regularly came thru Canton as extras.  What made these special is that he saw light 2-8-2s (4500-class) on the head end quite often, a rarity on the branch, though allowed by timetable as far as Addie where they were turned on the wye and headed “home”.


He said cars bound for Fontana were stored everywhere between Canton and Bryson and really jammed up Canton yard.  Trains were forwarded to Bryson for staging and fed to the dam site as needed.  On top of all the dam traffic, imagine how else the line must have looked in view of the letter Ike just posted re: cars coming from the L&N?  Add in a passenger train each day and, likely, extra traffic due to the wartime effort.  Would really have been a busy era but, following the War and dam construction, it died off quickly.  The pax trains were gone by late 1948.  All of the extra moments related to those 4-ish years were also gone.  Only Graham County RR remained as a connection (L&N is not being counted as an on-line connection, just an interchange at the end).


Re: L&N’s interchanging in Murphy, Jim Wrinn and I made a couple trips to chase the L&N from Mineral Bluff to Murphy and back around 1979-80.  The trains had just empty wood racks headed to Culberson and Murphy wood yards and hauled 10-ish loads of wood back from Murphy.  Train, by then, ran on Monday only.  On 1 trip, the L&N dropped off a single 70-ton hopper in the Southern yard.  Without going back to that slide, I don’t remember if loaded or MT (I’ll check the springs).  If loaded, would it have been a commodity from Copper Hill bound for Canton?


Jim King