Historic Tennessee Railroad set to be abandoned for good

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
Progress Rail
The Tennessee Railroad will be officially abandoned in the coming weeks.
Progress Rail

For years the Tennessee Railroad track that ran from Oneida in Scott County, Tenn., to Devonia in Anderson County, Tenn., was used to carry coal from mines. Today, the line itself could be picked at for profit. RJ Corman is expected to notify the Surface Transportation Board that it will abandon the 41-mile route.

Rail, timber and gravel could be sold for scrap once RJ Corman leaves for good. The hope was that the Tennessee Railroad line would be used again to ship coal from the Cumberlands, but the plan never materialized. A major slide along the tracks between Huntsville and Winona, which would be extremely costly to repair, also lessened the appeal for the line.

The track was originally constructed to serve the booming coal industry in the region in the late 19th century, but when New River Lumber Co. opened a mill in Norma, Tenn., timber was the product often shipped on the rail. Norfolk Southern purchased the route in the 1970s, and again the Tennessee Railroad was known as a coal carrier. In 1980 trains were pulling 125 cars a day. National Coal Company bought the line from Norfolk Southern in 2006 and began several mining operations, but rarely used the tracks. The Recession a few years ago was the final dagger in the line.

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