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: ABERCROMBIE, TYLER ROBERT  86 LOCH DRIVE ROSSVILLE,  Age at Arrest: 22 years old Arresting Agency: East Ridge FAILURE TO APPEAR/COMPLY --- ADDINGTON, ANGLEA DENISE  516 LADD AVE RED BANK, 37415  Age at Arrest: 39 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County POSSESSION OF LEGEND ... (click for more)

    Lifetime Handgun Carry Permit Drops In Price

    Tennessee citizens with a valid handgun carry permit now have the option to upgrade to a lifetime permit for a lower cost.  In 2016, the 109 th  General Assembly lowered the renewal fee on lifetime handgun carry permits from $500 to $200.  The new fee for an original permit is now $100, and the permit is now issued for eight years. If one currently has a permit ... (click for more)

    Beyond Freedom Of Speech - And Response

    Yes, most people know about the First Amendment to our Constitution, "The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction."  I being a "deplorable" draw the line when people block traffic, try to disrupt, and even stop an activity through malice and disregard for others. Case being ... (click for more)

    Roy Exum: Where Is Central’s Auditorium?

    I am surely one of the biggest proponents of high school athletics there is, especially after half a decade of being an eye witness to the vast array of lessons that are learned every day by anyone associated with sports. That said, I have watched the Hamilton County Commission waffle on a $500,000 track at Central High School with a certain curiosity because the same high school ... (click for more)

    Tyner Outshoots Brainerd In Big 6-AA Battle

    Brainerd’s Jackson-High Gymnasium was filled to capacity long before the girls game had ended Tuesday night, but the overflow crowd had come to see the second meeting between Tyner and Brainerd and a battle for first place in District 6-AA. Both are ranked in the latest state Class AA poll with Tyner listed sixth and Brainerd ninth.  Brainerd had won all four meetings ... (click for more)

    No. 3 Cleveland Sneaks Past Walker Valley 59-51

    CLEVELAND, Tenn. – State-ranked Cleveland blew most of a 13-point second-half lead, but got clutch field goals from Deontae Davis and KK Curry down the stretch and managed to stay unbeaten in District 5-3A high school basketball action with a hard-fought 59-51 victory over rival Walker Valley on Tuesday night. Walker Valley’s girls defeated the Lady Blue Raiders 43-39 in overtime. ... (click for more)