Chattanooga Railroad Series: Alton Park Extensions

Thursday, January 30, 2014

(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).

In the hey-day of the train in Chattanooga, Alton Park was served with, not one, but three rail lines.

The TAG Railway came through from St. Elmo, and there were also extensions from the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railroad on the west and the Central of Georgia on the east.

The NC&StL branched off at the Cravens Yards just past the curve around Moccasin Bend. The main line of the NC&StL only crossed Chattanooga Creek once, but skirted it several times. But it was necessary to build a trestle across the creek for the Alton Park extension.

A concrete trestle was built across St. Elmo Avenue, but the extension crossed South Broad Street at grade. An insignia of the NC&StL can still be seen on the side of the St. Elmo Avenue trestle.

Once across South Broad, the territory was within the city limits of Alton Park. It remained its own city with a mayor and city government until 1929. Alton Park voters first rejected annexation, but a second vote was in favor by 287 to 187 after it was promised that South Market Street would be extended to the community.  

The single track continued in a straight line just north of 33rd Street, first going across the old streetcar line to Lookout Mountain (later Williams Street). It passed under a concrete overpass at Alton Park Boulevard. A short distance beyond that it went under the line that was constructed after a railroad tunnel was built through the north end of Lookout Mountain.

Past Chandler Avenue, the extension veered toward a crossing of 38th Street at Central Avenue. It went beside Central and crossed Hooker Road (now Workman Road). From there it curved east and joined the Central of Georgia's extension just short of Wilson Road. 

A spur off the NC&StL extension crossed Central Avenue toward the main Alton Park industrial area.

The Central of Georgia constructed its extension near the old Card Lumber Company and Berry Lumber and Stove Company (Brainerd Lumber Company) off of Rossville Boulevard near Walthall Avenue.

It crossed the section of the current Workman Road that then was called Hamill Road and then went across a trestle over Chattanooga Creek.

The Central of Georgia extension crossed Wilson Road and then Central Avenue as it entered the main industrial part of Alton Park.

The Central of Georgia extension to Alton Park is still intact, but most of the tracks on the NC&StL extension have been taken up.

There is still a double set of traffic lights at the NC&StL extension crossing of South Broad Street, but motorists need not worry - there are no tracks on either side.

There are fragments of track past Chandler Avenue, then they are in good shape in the vicinity of the 38th Street crossing and beyond to Workman Road. There is no longer any sign of the tracks that went east to join the Central of Georgia extension near Wilson Road. 


 





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