Chattanooga Railroad Series: Chattanooga Traction Company (Signal Mountain Line)

Thursday, January 16, 2014 - by John Wilson

It was once possible to ride on a train from downtown Chattanooga to the top of Signal Mountain at the beautiful Signal Mountain Hotel.

Much of the route is still there - at least to the foot of the mountain.

The Chattanooga Traction Company began hauling passengers in 1913 to the vast property that owner Charles E. James had acquired on Signal. It hauled as many as 575,000 passengers a year, but the advent of the auto sent those numbers spiraling downward. The passenger service was discontinued in 1934, though freight service continued.

The Chattanooga Traction Company operation from North Chattanooga split off at Valley Junction with one line heading left for Signal Mountain and the other going right through Red Bank.

The Valley Junction Depot was at Pineville Road and West Elmwood Drive.

From there the passenger on to Signal Mountain was in for a treat - a train ride through some of the most splendid scenery in the beautiful Chattanooga area.

The track followed along Pineville Road before crossing it and going closer to the Tennessee River. One spur went down to a valley by the river across from Williams Island. There are mountains in all directions - including Lookout to the south, Raccoon to the west and Waldens Ridge to the north.

The track went through the old Samuel Williams farm before reaching the foot of the mountain and beginning the steep ascent. Today there is a roadway in place up the mountain instead of a train track. The track veers west before ending at the Signal Mountain Cement Plant.

Along the way it goes past the Baylor School campus, where it is directly adjacent to the football stadium and in front of the guard shack.

It passes in front of Walmart. Across Signal Mountain Road is Komatsu.

The track goes past the Signal Hills residential section before reaching the turn for the cement plant.

The owner of Shuford's Barbeque nearby said these days he hears the train rumble by sometimes, but not nearly so often as when he took over the business in the mid-1980s.

 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BOLES, BLAKE LAMAR  418 SOUTH SEMINOLE DRIVE CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 21 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga SIMPLE POSS OF MARIJUANA --- CARTER, NATASHA LESHAY  723 N HOLLY STREET CHATTANOOGA,  Age at Arrest: 19 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga THEFT OF PROPERTY ... (click for more)

Crime Stoppers: 1981 Murder Of Johnnie Mack Salyer

Crime Stoppers, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and The Cold Case Unit are seeking information on the murder of Johnnie Mack Salyer. On June 3, 1981, a steel drum was recovered from the Chickamauga Lake near 9000 Rocky Point Road in north Hamilton County Tennessee. Mr. Salyer’s body was found inside the steel drum. The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office ruled his death a ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Strong

The hearts, minds and prayers of Tennesseans, and of the entire nation, have been turned toward Chattanooga this month.  We are sickened and saddened by the senseless tragedy, and we grieve for the families of the five service members who were killed, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” K. Wells, Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Dr. Palmer, You’re Toast

America is absolutely furious! By 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon there were 36,000 people who had petitioned the White House to extradite Walter Palmer, who is today the most despised man in all of North America. On the Yelp.com website, that promotes his dentistry business in Eden Prairie, Minn, over 6,000 had posted violent, vulgar and vicious notes and, for the record, 60 of them ... (click for more)

Ooltewah, Rhea Co. Picked To Win Region 4-5A Football

The Ooltewah Owls and the Rhea County Golden Eagles both advanced to the Class 5-A football playoffs last fall with Ooltewah getting eliminated by the Golden Eagles in the second round. Both teams entered that contest unbeaten, but Rhea County routed the Owls by a 47-14 final to advance. Rhea County went on to with 13 straight games before getting beat in the semis by ... (click for more)

Owls, Eagles Look Back Differently At 2014 Showdown

For the first time since they played in the second round of the 2014 Class AAA state football playoffs, a few Ooltewah and Rhea County players were together Wednesday at the Region 4-5A media day at The Bridge in Ooltewah. The Owls and Eagles, obviously, have polar-opposite thoughts on last year’s second round game in Evensville on a brutally cold Friday night. That’s because ... (click for more)