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

Thursday, January 16, 2014 - by John Wilson

(Chattanooga in the 1890s had 10 railway outlets with 66 passenger trains arriving and departing daily. The town was criss-crossed with train tracks, including not only the main lines but the connecting Belt Line. It's not so often today that you get a glimpse of a train in Chattanooga, but many of the old tracks remain. Many Railroad Crossing signs and switches are still in place, but these days receive little or no use).

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 old 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 up 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 - And Mug Shots

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLEN, KIMBERLY M 2744 6TH AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37407 26 Chattanooga ASSAULT ALVEREZ-CRUZ, LISANDRO 7102 SHEPHERD VIEW CIRCLE CHATTANOOGA, 37421 19 Chattanooga SPEEDING DRIVING ON SUSPENDED LICENSE ANGLAND, JOSHUA JAMES 1843 BAYHILL DRIVE HIXSON, 37343 29 Hamilton County VANDALISM/MALICIOUS ... (click for more)

Mother Gets 20 Years In Death Of 4-Year-Old Son, Severe Injury To 3-Year-Old

Patricia Brewer was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for the abuse death of her four-year-old son and severe injury of her three-year-old son. She appeared before Judge Rebecca Stern and entered guilty pleas to two counts of aggravated child endangerment. Police said the injuries came after the mother left them alone in the care of her boyfriend, who has a history ... (click for more)

Thanks For Publishing The Stokes Photo Book

I pre-ordered the Stokes Photo Book and picked it up Wednesday . The covers and content are very high quality and contain photos you will not see anywhere else.  This book of photos is worth much more than $35.  I have seen many historic photos of my hometown Chattanooga, but this collection is amazing. My favorites are National Cemetery, Confederate Cemetery near ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Saban: ‘Ratings Don’t Matter’

When the first College Football Playoff rankings were released earlier this week, Alabama football coach Nick Saban got it right on the button when he shrugged, “I don't even care, to be honest with you." "To me, none of it matters, What does it matter?” he laughed at the Tide’s No. 6 ranking. “I mean, it only matters where you end up at the end. So what matters to us is how ... (click for more)

Owls Beat McMinn, 30-12, To Complete Unbeaten Regular Season

Undefeated. Sounds nice, huh. After a sluggish first half that produced only three points on a Laszlo Toser field goa., third-ranked Ooltewah came to life in the third quarter, riddled McMinn County’s defense with three Kelvin Leon touchdown passes in the third quarter and went on to beat the Cherokees, 30-12, at James N. Monroe Stadium to secure the school’s third unbeaten ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Clobbers Grundy Co. For 7-AA Title

Notre Dame coach Charles Fant is always hoping that his Fighting Irish football team can get off to a fast start. He never thought it would be as quick as what he saw Thursday night at Jim Eberle Field. With a District 7-AA championship on the line on an evening when they honored all of the fall senior athletes, a football game turned into a track meet and eventually a victory ... (click for more)