Chattanooga Railroad Series: Lines To The Enterprise South Industrial Park

Monday, July 21, 2014 - by John Wilson

Rail lines were built during World War II to Tyner to the Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant, which produced TNT from 1942 to 1977. Today the former VAAP site is the Enterprise South Industrial Park, and the rail lines are much busier than they ever were during the war days.

About 85 percent of the Passats built at the Volkswagen plant are shipped out by rail. The rail activity is slated to double with the new mid-size SUV line. 

The huge facility produced fertilizer from 1962 to 1982.

A spur was built from the old Western and Atlantic Railroad line starting from its crossing of Lightfoot Mill Road.

This line veered to the left from the main line and followed the route of the old East Tennessee line that went on to Ooltewah, Cleveland and Knoxville. Going north, the W&A spur is on the left and the old East Tennessee line is on the right.

One section of the W&A spur near Lightfoot Mill Road veered over to serve several industries along Tag Road and Industry Drive off Bonny Oaks Drive.

The W&A spur and the old East Tennessee line went under Highway 153 and then across Noah Reid Road.

Just before the junction with Hickory Valley Road, one section of the W&A spur went north across Bonny Oaks Drive and on up near Poe Branch. A spur also went up the same route from the old East Tennessee line.

The main W&A spur went across Hickory Valley Road and then veered up by the Tyner Redoubt. It crossed Bonny Oaks Drive east of Hickory Valley Road. It then joined with the tracks at Poe Branch. 

With the emergence of the industrial park, it was announced in October 2010 that the railroads would again serve the site. The rail lines for both the old W&A spur and the old East Tennessee line were put back into shape in a $6.6 million project  The new yard, with 23 miles of track, was dedicated in April 2011. The revamped yard was able to handle 60 rail cars hauling 840 vehicles at one time. The opening was marked by officials arriving at the yard on a passenger rail car pulled by a steam locomotive dating to 1904. Dignitaries drove two ceremonial golden spikes into the rail bed.

Then, the CSX (old W&A) and the Norfolk Southern (old East Tennessee) began dual train service to the industrial park.

Switching activities for the site were handled by the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum through a  subsidiary, the Tyner Terminal Railway Company. The TVRM crews transfer rail cars to CSX and Norfolk Southern trains.


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