Chattanooga Railroad Series: The Belt Line (South Chattanooga)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - by John Wilson

Residents were startled recently to see an engine pulling several rail cars crossing South Broad Street.

It once was a common sight, but it doesn't happen very often now.

That train was traveling on a section of the Belt Line that was built well over a century ago. Much of its track is still intact and some of it is in use.

In South Chattanooga, the Belt Line went past the Wheland Foundry site near the river and then veered away from the river to a crossing of the main line coming in from Nashville.

It then entered a marshy section near Chattanooga Creek known on old maps as "No Man's Land." 

The Belt Line then went across Chattanooga Creek on a wooden trestle.

It crossed St. Elmo Avenue and South Broad Street at grade. This was at a time when there was little traffic on these streets and an occasional train was not felt to be too much of an intrusion.

Then it intersected with the streetcar line that went to St. Elmo at what is now Williams Street.

There was then a long isolated stretch before it crossed Alton Park Boulevard - also at grade. When it was built, there was no Alton Park Boulevard.

The Belt Line went straight a short distance in the direction of Missionary Ridge, then it veered north toward the National Cemetery. It went by the Lookout Place home of Capt. J.F. Shipp and then trestled Chattanooga Creek once again.

When a tunnel was built at the north end of Lookout Mountain in the early 1900s, this new Southern Railway route followed part of the old Belt Line section starting just above Alton Park Boulevard. The TAG line also followed this old route into town, veering off the Belt Line route just east of Alton Park Boulevard. This would become the main line through town.

There is a line still intact that veered off the main Belt Line track at St. Elmo Avenue toward the J.H. Allison packing plant. The rails split in the middle of the road. This spur went along Chattanooga Creek. The rails still remain, but the line is grown up in briers. 

     

     

     

     


    Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

    Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ABBOTT, JEREMIAH JASON  HOMELESS ,  Age at Arrest: 35 years old Arresting Agency: Collegedale Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- ANDERSON, JACOB QUINTON  1101 NORMAN CHAPEL ROAD NW CLEVELAND, 37312  Age at Arrest: 21 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DRIVING ... (click for more)

    Firefighters Respond To 2 Fires On Mountain Creek Road

    Saturday morning was busy for many Chattanooga firefighters. Shortly after 9 a.m., the Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm for a house fire in the 3500 block of Mountain Creek Road. When the first firefighters arrived on the scene, Battalion Chief Chris Willmore said the attached garage to the house was engulfed in flames and was spreading rapidly to the house. As ... (click for more)

    Slaxxon Regret - And Response

    Back in the seventies my three oldest brothers had a buddy named Steve Slack. “Slack” was a star soccer player at Baylor and he grew up on Lookout Mountain, which is where I grew up. He and Jimmy, Henry and Bill went to the University of Virginia where they were roommates in an old, beat up house that was painted pink. Naturally, the place became known as the “Pink Palace” but lest ... (click for more)

    Roy Exum: ‘Ballooniac’ Fined $25K

    The Calgary Stampede is one of the biggest events in Canada and every year it draws well over 1.5 million people to one of the most beautiful places in the world. It started in 1912 as a big rodeo event and today it lasts 10 straight days. A highlight is the chuck-wagon races, where $4 million of advertisements are sold on the wagon’s canvas covers and there are pancake breakfasts ... (click for more)

    Mocs Finish Third At Furman Intercollegiate

    The Chattanooga Mocs men’s golf team finished tied for third at the Furman Intercollegiate. They did so behind senior Wes Gosselin’s runner-up performance.   Gosselin shot a career-best 10-under 206. It’s the eighth time a Moc has finished 10-under or better, the first since Stephan Jaeger’s school-record 203 (-13) winning the 2012 NCAA Bowling Green Regional   ... (click for more)

    Columbia Academy Stymies Soddy-Daisy 4-2

    Soddy-Daisy won two games in the Ooltewah Invitational on Friday and hoped to carry that momentum over to Saturday’s contest against Columbia Academy at Tom Higgins Field. But the Trojans ran into junior left-hander Baylee Dees. Dees, who transferred to Columbia Academy from Page prior to the current school year, limited the Trojans to two hits and a run over six innings. ... (click for more)