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.

 


New Hiener Book Of Historic Chattanooga Photos Available At Zarzours

The new Paul Hiener Historic Chattanooga Photos book published by Chattanoogan.com is available at Zarzours Restaurant. Zarzours is located on the Southside on Rossville Avenue behind the Main Street Fire Hall #1. Mr. Hiener, a longtime Chattanooga printer and lifelong resident, collected over 3,000 historic pictures of his beloved hometown. He made some of the photos ... (click for more)

Former Nashville Councilman Announces Bid For Chair Of The Tennessee Democratic Party

Jamie D. Isabel, Sr. former Nashville City Councilman and a former member of the Tennessee Democratic executive committee, announces his intent to run for chairman of the Tennessee Democratic party.   Over the last two weeks he has contacted the 66 members of the Executive Committee for their support.   "Mr. Isabel is enthusiastically presenting his plans to rebuild ... (click for more)

Vehicle Emissions Testing Causes More Pollution Than It Prevents - And Response

While a noble cause to make sure vehicles are operating efficiently with the minimum amount of pollutants, a simple analysis makes it somewhat evident the VET program in Chattanooga causes more pollution that it prevents.  Though I don't know how many vehicles are tested on an annual basis, if you assume an average round trip of 10 miles to the nearest testing station (five ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: You Can’t Sue You

The Hamilton County School Board will convene an hour earlier tomorrow to discuss “facilities” and the question of the hour is “Which ones?” Several communities are actively studying pulling away from the county’s Department of Education and the stew is thickening by the day. Now comes the revelation that school board attorney Scott Bennett has sent an email to the town of Signal ... (click for more)

Top-Ranked Bradley Uses Fast Start To Beat Baylor

There’s no question that the Bradley Bears are ranked first in the initial state wrestling poll and they proved they deserve to be in that top spot following a 43-30 victory over the Baylor Red Raiders. Baylor is ranked fourth in that first poll and will surely be a force to be reckoned with in Division II as the season progresses, but the Bears are head and shoulders ahead after ... (click for more)

Run-And-Gun Tyner Shoots Down Red Bank 71-33

Tyner opponents better batten down the hatches if the Rams ever iron out their half-court offensive struggles. Even without that weapon showing up Tuesday night, the Rams showed they have a run-and-gun assault that can bury an opponent under an avalanche of points. And their defense is as tenacious as ever. Tyner outscored Red Bank 15-0 to start the second quarter ... (click for more)