Chattanooga Railroad Series: Across Amnicola Highway (First Line)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's unusual to see a train crossing Amnicola Highway, but it happens on occasions.

Southern Railway, when it was spending $14 million in the 1950s on its DeButts Yard on one side of Amnicola Highway, was spending $1.5 million to purchase industrial land on the other. A series of tracks sprouted up on the industrial land by the Tennessee River.

A 1920 map that shows all the streetcars and train lines in Chattanooga does not have any along this section by the river. This was the old Amnicola Farm of Tom Crutchfield that was invaded by Federal troops on the way to fight the Battle of Missionary Ridge.

It later was the Montague family farm. The property afterward went to Paul B. Carter. Mrs. Carter in 1956 sold 371 acres of the old Amnicola Farm to Southern, which now had amassed a total 720 acres. Southern paid Mrs. Carter $836,662 cash.

Hamilton County later acquired the railroad property and set up the Centre South Industrial Park. Rail lines go by a number of the industries that have located at the site, and some still use rail service.

There are three tracks that cross Amnicola Highway from the "Main Line" at the nearby DeButts Yard.

The closest one to town crosses where Amnicola Highway splits off from Riverside Drive. It crosses Old Curtain Pole Road and then goes a short distance along Curtain Pole Road. The track dead ends where Curtain Pole Road veers back to Amnicola Highway to the north. One section runs to Pathway Polymers that still uses rail service.



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