With the elimination of most of the passenger service on trains in the South and the complete removal from Chattanooga, the term and meaning of “sidetracked” is generally unknown to the public.
Early railroads had only a single track between destinations and the intricate communication systems of today did not exist.
Problems arose when a train was met by another one going in the opposite direction or was about to be overtaken by a faster passenger or freight unit.
The dilemma was solved with the creation of “sidetracks”, which were short lengths of a track built parallel to the main line where one train could pull over while the other went by.
The meaning of the term “sidetracked” meant that, for a period of time at least, it wasn’t going anywhere.
* * *
(If you have additional information about one of Mr. Summers' articles or have suggestions or ideas about a future Chattanooga area historical piece, please contact Mr. Summers at email@example.com)