Chattanooga Railroad Series: Belt Line (Alton Park To Past Warner Park)

Thursday, February 27, 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).

One piece of the Belt Line Railroad that is still just about all there ran from the Oak Hills station in Alton Park up by the National Cemetery and on past Warner Park.

Oak Hills was where the Belt Line coming up from Tannery Flats and  Broad Street converged with the TAG Railroad and later with the line coming in from the Lookout Mountain Tunnel.

This section of the Belt Line crossed Chattanooga Creek and then went across E. 23rd Street and Rossville Avenue, which was then the main way to get to Rossville, Ga. Later, with several lines going along this route, Rossville Avenue was closed due to all the railroad traffic. The new way to get to Rossville was along Central Avenue to Rossville Boulevard. This was after the Central Avenue Viaduct was built.

Just after Rossville Avenue, this section of the Belt Line veered up to a crossing of Central Avenue near the present Hubbuch Glass. Two branches of the Belt Line converge just above Central Avenue across from Hubbuch Glass.

Then it was a straight shot to the east, going by Montague Park. It went by several manufacturing plants, and one of those today is in use as The Mill. The Belt Line traveled just behind it.

After passing The Mill, the Belt Line curved over toward the National Cemetery. It crossed Main Street at Holtzclaw Avenue. It then went along the west side of Holtzclaw, going by the old stove plant that today is mainly in ruins.

There was then a crossing of Holtzclaw so the Belt Line could serve several industries on the other side of the road. One of these was the Chattanooga Manufacturing Company. A spur from the Belt Line that eventually went to East Lake went off at Bennett Avenue.

Nearby is the Lucey Boiler Company. The brick Lucey office is still there along with several old brick manufacturing buildings.There is still a rail car at a spur leading to the Lucey plant. Lucey Boiler still manufactures some railroad items that are delivered by rail by the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

The Belt Line then crossed Bailey Avenue just east of Holtzclaw. Then it went by an interesting limestone rock outcropping to a crossing of McCallie Avenue. There are large crossing arms in place on both of these main thoroughfares.

Then the Belt Line crossed back to the east side of Holtzclaw at Warner Park. Those going in the new entrance for the zoo are crossing the Belt Line.

After crossing Third Street, the Belt Line goes by the Chattanooga Housing Authority offices. There are several rail cars on a side track just past the CHA.

A spur was built up to the Milne Chair Company just past Citico Avenue.

The main section of the Belt Line then curved back toward town for a junction with the East Tennessee and Virginia line. 

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum sometimes uses this section of the Belt Line to get from its Chamberlain Avenue location to areas south of town for its excursions.

   

 



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