Chattanooga Railroad Series: Chattanooga Traction Company (Section Along Manufacturers Road)

Monday, January 13, 2014 - by John Wilson

Some of the tracks put in place in 1913 by the energetic railroad man Charles E. James leading from his Signal Mountain Hotel down to Chattanooga are still in place and some of those are still in regular use.

James founded the Chattanooga Traction Company to provide rail service to Signal Mountain, but he also had plans for a branch line up through Red Bank and points north.

The line was initially on the Walnut Street Bridge. When the more sturdy Market Street Bridge was opened in 1917, the tracks were shifted there.

The line led from the bridge straight west crossing Manufacturers Road near the American Lava plant (current Business Development Center) and on behind the Signal Knitting Mill (current antique mall and Foodworks restaurant). 

It went near Peerless Street and Houser Street, where a large car barn (or engine house) was constructed. The track went by several manufacturing facilities, including the Tennessee Paper Mills (now Rock-Tenn).

Some spur lines were built to service several industries across Manufacturers Road.

The Chattanooga Traction line went along the slope of Stringer's Ridge as it crossed near where Riverside Road joins Whitehall Road. Then it veered north toward Signal as it approached Pineville Road.

There was a Riverside Station along the curve where Riverside Road meets Manufacturers Road. Most of the Chattanooga Traction stations were torn down long ago, though the Divine station still stands beside the track at Power Corporation Drive just after it goes under the U.S. 27 freeway. It was named for early streetcar and railroad man Sam Divine.

The brick engine house was visible for many years from the freeway near the Manufacturers Road exit, but it was finally torn down.

The track follows Pineville Road before it splits at West Elmwood Drive - with one line continuing toward Signal Mountain and the other heading for Red Bank. The Valley Junction station once stood at the split. 

Passenger service was long ago discontinued on the Chattanooga Traction line, but some trains can still be seen in the vicinity of Manufacturers Road hauling freight - as well as in the section leading to Signal Mountain Cement and up through Red Bank.


Christapher Baumgartner, 24, Arrested In Bradley County On Burglary And Evading Arrest Charges

Christapher Baumgartner, 24, was arrested on Tuesday in Bradley County on multiple charges.   Cleveland Police Department officers responded at noon on Tuesday to the Old American Knitting Factory on 6th street SE in reference to a burglary in progress. As officers were speaking to the victim, they heard a noise and noticed a large white male, wearing dark clothing, exit ... (click for more)

City Council Approves Tax Break For Volkswagen Supplier Gestamp

The City Council on Tuesday approved new tax breaks for a major Volkswagen supplier in Chattanooga. Gestamp already has a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) at the VW supplier park at the Enterprise South Industrial Park. It recently acquired 29 acres at the former Brachs candy plant on Jersey Pike. Gestamp had asked that the PILOT be extended to the new property. Council ... (click for more)

A New Commercial Look For Signal Mountain

A speaker at the Signal Mountain Town Council meeting last night presented some very interesting information about the council’s new bigger and brighter vision of our commercial area. Councilman Spalding presented a list of sign changes to the Design Review Commission that the council wants and several of those items were approved last night.  Still to come on the list are ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: So Why Pick A Fight?

On Tuesday I spied a picture that proclaimed “The Mayors Say…It is time for a Smoke-Free Community.” Apparently the newest clown on our horizon has led a group of very knowledgeable and learned people into an ambush because even country music’s Travis Tritt can tell you this means T-R-O-U-B-L-E. You are about to mess with the wrong group of people. The mayor of Lookout Mountain, ... (click for more)

Hixson Sweeps Central For First Region 3-AA Volleyball Title

It was a rematch of last week's District 6-AA volleyball final on Tuesday night at Hixson for first place in Region 3-AA. The results were the same as last week, but the second time around wasn't nearly as close as the Hixson Lady Wildcats played one of their best matches of the season in sweeping the Lady Pounders by scores of 25-14, 25-14 and 25-22. Hixson earned its spot ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Defeats Walker Valley, 3-1, For Region 3-3A Title

Ooltewah wasn’t about to let Tuesday’s volleyball match against Walker Valley go to a harrowing five games like the previous two played out. So, the Lady Owls (44-11) stopped the action after four games to claim a 3-1 victory and nail down their third Region 3-3A championship in four years at Edward M. Foster Gymnasium. Game scores were 25-17, 25-20, 18-25, 25-15. “We ... (click for more)