Chattanooga Railroad Series: The Old Line Of The Western And Atlantic Railroad

Thursday, December 26, 2013 - by John Wilson

It was Dec. 1, 1849, when Chattanoogans caught sight of the first train pulling into the later "Choo Choo City." The Western and Atlantic had been built north from Marthasville (Atlanta). The route chosen was around the north end of Missionary Ridge, then across several trestles over the winding South Chickamauga Creek.

The W&A followed a path near the creek, then headed straight for Chattanooga and the destination across from the Crutchfield House (site of the later Read House). 

It went past the later Warner Park and the later National Cemetery.

From the Cemetery site, it veered straight west for the property the state of Georgia had acquired where the Union Depot would be built.

It went behind 11th Street before crossing King Street behind where the Ellis Hotel was eventually constructed.

The track crossed Market Street and headed for the depot. There was no South Broad Street at the time; Railroad Avenue (later Broad Street) ended at 9th Street.

The W&A Depot, featuring a two-story brick section in front topped by a cupola, was in a brick building at Ninth and Market. Then the arched Car Shed was constructed nearby before the Civil War. The handsome Union Depot was constructed in front of the Car Shed in 1882. This station and the Car Shed survived until the early 1970s after passenger service ended. The original depot at Ninth and Market was in operation for many years as the Chattanooga Steak House. 

Two of the W&A trestles across South Chickamauga Creek can be seen along the new section of the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway near Youngstown Road. It was these bridges that were burned by Union sympathizers in 1861. They had been in a remote gorge all these years and most of the city's railroad historians had not seen them.

The old Sterchi dairy barn is near the W&A crossing of Harrison Pike. A trailhead for the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway was built nearby.

The main line of the consolidated railroads today follows much of the original W&A route, going beneath viaducts at Wilcox Boulevard, Third Street and McCallie and Bailey avenues to near the National Cemetery, then veering under the Central Avenue viaduct.

The W&A track between just west of Central Avenue and the old Union Station site went out of use after the Union Depot was closed in 1971 and then torn down.

There are some old tracks in fields behind 11th Street and up from King Street, but no trace of Chattanooga's first train line remains where it went the last half mile into the Union Station. 

 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AKHTAB, MALACHI SHAHADA  102 WAYSIDE DR FORT OGLETHORPE, 30742  Age at Arrest: 24 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County FUGITIVE (CATOOSA COUNTY GA) ---- ANDREWS, TRAMESHA LASHON  3921 MARIGO DRIVE CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 24 years old Arresting Agency: Red Bank ... (click for more)

Stone Charged In Attack On Wife, Who Is Top Aide To Mayor

Robert F. "Bobby" Stone has been charged in an attack on his wife, Lacie Stone, a top aide to Mayor Andy Berke. Stone, 54, is charged with domestic assault and vandalism. In the incident on Friday, police said Ms. Stone called a friend at the police department, saying "her husband was going to kill her." She said they got into a verbal argument that turned physical in a ... (click for more)

Late-Night Harassment By The Signal Mountain Police - And Response (7)

I am writing about the misconduct of the Signal Mountain Police Department. This is a repetitive civil rights problem, systemic within their department, with no hint of remorse or regret or a notion to change, though they have been confronted numerous times.   I live on Signal Mountain. In the last few months, I have been pulled over three times while I was driving three ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Hot Rod’s Catfish Dinner

It could well be the best part of playing a prank is in the delicious moments until your “fish” takes the hook. So yesterday afternoon, as I tried repeatedly to talk to a man I haven’t spoken to in 27 years, rather than leave my name I popped off the Happy Birthday song in a snappy, loud way and then ended it with a simple, “Call me,” adding my number. John “Hot Rod” Talley spent ... (click for more)

Germany's Sebastian Kienle Wins Ironman 70.3 Race

It’s hard to not be impressed with the fitness level of folks who commit themselves to training and participating in Ironman-distance triathlons and that was surely the case in downtown Chattanooga Sunday morning. There are three words to describe these folks and that’s fit, fast and friendly.  And most of them cross the finish line with a smile on their face and a spring ... (click for more)

Spring Fling State Soccer Brackets Set

Notre Dame and McCallie are the only area teams to compete in this week's Spring Fling Soccer competitions in Murfreesboro.   In Class A/AA, Notre Dame will play Tuesday at 6:30 in the quarterfinals.  The will face off with CAK. Winners will advance to the semifinals on Wednesday.  The Class A/AA state championship game is set for Friday at 4 p.m.   Notre ... (click for more)