Chattanooga Railroad Series: Belt Line (East Chattanooga)

Monday, March 10, 2014 - by John Wilson

 A railroad once chugged its way through East Chattanooga, starting near Warner Park and winding its way several miles past the East Tennessee, Virginia line to the busy Boyce Station, where the Western & Atlantic and Cincinnati Southern lines joined.

The only tracks still located in place on this Belt Line route are at the start of the line at EPB yards across from Warner Park and a small section near Bachman Street.

You can still see where the East Chattanooga route veered away from the Belt Line that went past the National Cemetery and Warner Park. This is between Oak and Vine streets on EPB property near Holtzclaw Avenue.

There is also track at the crossing of Greenwood Avenue.

There is more track at Highland Park Avenue, where a Railroad Crossing sign is still in place, though no trains or streetcars have crossed in decades.Though they no longer serve a utilitarian purpose, hopefully the crossing signs will be allowed to stay in place as part of our rich railroad history.

The route of the East Chattanooga line is visible up Vine Street eastward in the direction of Missionary Ridge. It skirted to the right of the tall peak at Orchard Knob and went a little to the left when Vine Street hit a rise.

The line veered just north of Vine at Hawthorne and continued in a straight line until crossing Kelley Street to the rear of the current Parkridge Hospital. It then went across what is now a Parkridge parking lot.

Then it began to veer north, going across Ivy Street and Fifth Street. Two medical office buildings have been erected where the Belt Line once crossed in the vicinity of Fifth and Fourth streets.

The line continued near Kelley Street passing Garfield, Blackford and Cleveland streets. It is in place as a narrow paved road between Third and Garfield and on between Garfield and Blackford.

After Wilcox Boulevard, it went between Dodson Avenue and Willow Street. Sections of the old route are clearly visible, and it is often used as a pathway.

It crossed Portland Street near Willow and went on past Cooley, Laura and Wilson streets.

Then it curved back east toward the corner of Dodson Avenue and Monroe Street. Here you can clearly see where the East Chattanooga line curved toward the Buster Brown factory. It crossed Camden and Ocoee, then reached Wheeler Street at the corner of Gilbert. A well-preserved section of the line can be seen in this section.

It ran just in front of the former Buster Brown plant. On the other side of the former plant (that is now in use by Memorial Hospital) the Belt Line approached a crossing with the East Tennessee line that came down from the Missionary Ridge tunnel.

Both lines were initially at grade. Later, a high crossing was built across the Belt Line. The high concrete walls are still in place, though the East Tennessee line went out of service after a bypass was built around the north end of Missionary Ridge.

The nearby Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum still uses the at-grade route of the East Tennessee line - making a crossing of the old Belt Line route near the former Bragg Street that is now called Infantry Street.

The East Chattanooga line continues straight north along the current Wheeler Street. It passes Crutchfield Street and then goes acrsoss Glass Street near Latta. You can see the old route in both directions from this Glass Street crossing.

It goes across Daisy, Appling and Fairleigh streets before beginning the curve toward Boyce Station. The route goes by Bachman Street past Taylor. It makes another curve that is still visible at Curtis Street before reaching the corner of Cushman and Roanoke streets.

The East Chattanooga line crosses Stuart Street before reaching the old site of the depot at Wilder Street. There is no trace of the old station, which was torn down when a deep cut was made for the main line. Nearby is an overpass leading over the main tracks to Amnicola Highway.

The Belt Line ran for only a few years in the late 1880s and the early 1890s. It continued in service after it was acquired by Southern Railway. A woman in 2014 remembered visiting her grandfather's house on Arlington Avenue and having the conductor on the Belt Line toss her candy.

     


    Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

    Hakeem Says He Hit The Ground Running In State House Job; A Focus Is Preventing New Gerrymandering

    Assessor Haynes Said He Hired 1st 3 Female Appraisers


    Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: BELL, CHARLES FRANKLIN 8423 SPRINGFIELD RD SODDY DAISY, 37379 Age at Arrest: 71 years old Arresting Agency: Soddy Daisy Booked for ... (click for more)

    District 28 state Rep. Yusuf Hakeem told members of the JFK Club that as a first-time representative, he expected to ease into his job, something that did not happen. He said, “I thought ... (click for more)

    Marty Haynes, the assessor of property for Hamilton County, as much as he strives to keep his spot in Hamilton County’s government, told members of the Pachyderm club the job was not the defining ... (click for more)


    Breaking News

    Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

    Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: BELL, CHARLES FRANKLIN 8423 SPRINGFIELD RD SODDY DAISY, 37379 Age at Arrest: 71 years old Arresting Agency: Soddy Daisy Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) ---- BIGELOW, PATRICIA JOY 4630 NORTHLAND LN CHATTANOOGA, 37416 Age at Arrest: 34 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga THEFT OF PROPERTY ---- ... (click for more)

    Hakeem Says He Hit The Ground Running In State House Job; A Focus Is Preventing New Gerrymandering

    District 28 state Rep. Yusuf Hakeem told members of the JFK Club that as a first-time representative, he expected to ease into his job, something that did not happen. He said, “I thought I might get on one committee. Well, they put me on three committees. It was a whirlwind. You have people coming to your office 10 to 15 minutes apart. And at the same time, you’re trying to ... (click for more)

    Opinion

    Let The Water Company Pay The Bill

    Tennessee American breaks a line and 35,000 people lose water for three days. Well they don’t exactly admit they broke it, they were working on it a few feet away and it just broke….so they say. One half of TAWC service area is out of water three days and nights, hospitals canceling surgery, schools closed and opened and then sending the children home, businesses shut down, government ... (click for more)

    Roy Exum: Total Rest May Help

    Roy Exum will be on vacation this week as he recovers from a recent surgery. His doctors and his close friends believe in him and urge him to “take some time for himself.” It is believed "total rest" will be greatly beneficial in the healing process. He greatly appreciates the emails and the telephones calls has received and appreciates your kindness. He hopes to return ... (click for more)

    Sports

    Mocs Football Set To Host 2nd Ranked James Madison Saturday

    The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team has a chance to make history this weekend when second ranked James Madison visits the Scenic City. With the release of the FCS polls today, the Dukes are officially the highest ranked non-conference opponent to take on the Mocs in Finley Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4:00 p.m. (E.D.T.) on Saturday, Sept. 21. JMU (2-1, 0-0 ... (click for more)

    UTC Women 7th At Mercedes-Benz Collegiate

    --The Chattanooga Mocs women’s golf team’s posted their best season-opening score shooting 872 (+20) over 54 holes at Cherokee Country Club. That was good for a seventh-place finish in the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate after today’s 294. Maddy McDanel and Esme Hamilton tied for the team’s low card with level-par 71s. Rheagan Hall and Dorota Zalewska each tallied 76, while Kirsty ... (click for more)