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This is a beginning of a history project. It is an attempt to put in one place a simple and short history about railroads in Scott County. It is in no way a complete history.
Too many people who live, or have lived, in Scott County know far too much about their own history with the railroads for this work to be complete. The problem is, while a lot of people know about this subject, not too many people are telling others about what they know.
The end result is several generations of young people who do not know of what a rich railroad heritage that they inherit by living in Scott County. This article in the FNB Chronicle attempts to do three things: The third thing is to provide a place for discussion and to gather individual histories from those who remain with us before it is too late. Brimstone 35, now in California under private ownership, was one of the famous "Brimstone Shays" that kept the railroad operating under steam power for forty years.
Jan Giardot This article starts with a simple question, "what is a railroad? This section is for your family members who never really understood what it was that you did on the railroad. Knowledge about railroads was once as prevalent as knowledge about computers or airplanes are today.
Unfortunately, this knowledge is being lost as time marches by, so a little discussion is needed to bring everyone up to date. So, just what is a railroad? Surprisingly enough, there is more to a railroad than what meets the eye. Basically a railroad is a guide path for wheeled vehicles to carry people or freight from place to place.
Usually there are two guides, or rails, which bear the weight of the vehicles and provide the route for travel. The rails have some method for maintaining a constant and consistent distance between them called a gauge. Devices, called a switch are used to change the direction of single vehicles or a set of vehicles connected together in a train.
There are at least seven types of railroads in the world, four of which exists, or existed, in Scott County: American Lumberman April 2, edition has the only known photograph of one of the Shay locomotives used on the Tennessee Railroad. The railroad that we are all familiar with is so common that it does not have a name. This railroad uses two iron or steel rails, separated by being spiked into wooden ties that maintain a gauge. The ties are kept in place on the ground with coarse gravel or stone called ballast.
The ballast also drains water from the track. The trains are pulled by locomotives which are manned by a crew. The train wheels have extensions to the inside of the wheels called flanges. The flanges fit between the rails and acts to keep the cars on the track. American trains have between two or three wheels connected together in a device called a truck. The truck holds the wheels together by their hubs in journal boxes, which may be friction seated or use roller bearings.
The journal box with friction seated bearings contains grease soaked packing material to keep the wheels rolling smoothly. The trucks maintain stability with springs and are connected to the car at one of two ends in a pivot called a bolster.
The trucks are free to turn as controlled by the rails, which causes the cars to follow along. The cars are connected by mechanical links called couplers.
The couplers can be controlled by trainmen to open, which disconnects the train can, or to close, which connects the cars together.
The modern car is equipped with hand brakes and air brakes. The hand brake is a wheel on the side which the trainmen turn to tighten, or sets, the brake, and to loosen, or resets the brakes when it is not moving.
Air brakes are controlled by the locomotive and are used to slow the entire train when needed. This mill was the reason why the Tennessee Railroad was extended beyond Paint Rock. Tom Gentry The locomotive is a self-propelled train car than is used to pull or push the train along the track. Locomotives in Scott County used steam or diesel engines for power, and used a variety of methods for changing that power into motion. There are several types of train cars in a train, too many to talk about in this article.
The ones in use mostly in Scott County were box cars, coal cars, gondolas, flat cars and passenger cars. The box car is an enclosed car with two doors on both sides.
This car is used to carry freight that need to stay dry. The coal car is a tall, open topped car with special hoppers in the bottom. The hoppers can be opened and closed by control levers. The coal cars would be loaded by dropping coal from the top and unloaded by opening the hopper doors. Gondolas are short sided open top cars without hoppers in the bottom. They are loaded and unloaded from the top.
The gondola car carried coal, rock and clay. The flat car is a flat platform on railroad wheels. It was used to carry timber, which is cut trees, and lumber, which is trees cut into boards. The passenger car was a special, long boxcar with windows and seats for people. Modern passenger cars had air conditioning and rest rooms on board.
The passenger car was specialized into coach cars, which were full of seats, like a bus, diner cars, which contained a portable restaurant, and sleeper cars. Sleeper cars are passenger cars that contained beds and even small apartments for first class passengers. The best were those built and operated by the Pullman Company. These cars were used in trains operating through and in Scott County. The tram is a small railroad that uses small steel rails. The track looks like a miniature version of the railroad track.
The cars are usually pulled or pushed by people, animals or small electric locomotives. Trams operate in very tight places, like coal mines and are usually used to carry coal from the mines to the tipples, which are structures used to load coal cars. Brimstone Shay in its shed, Trains on a regular railroad are heavy and requires heavy locomotives to pull them. When a railroad goes through mountains, like in Scott County, it presents a problem for the locomotive. They usually cannot carry trains of any length for grades greater than 3 percent, which is a piece of track that goes up three feet for every one hundred feet in run.
While automobiles can do this easily, you must remember that automobiles weight only two tons and are powered by to horsepower each. While a locomotive may be powered by 4, horsepower they carry trains of over 4, tons, so an uphill grade can be a problem. Usually a railroad can solve this problem by making the grades as level as possible, filling a small hollow, cutting through a hill or drilling a tunnel through a mountain.
Usually they wind around the mountains in long curves that keep the grade to 2 percent or less. Sometimes it is impossible to keep the grades this level. Some times the grades are much greater, like over 70 percent, 70 feet up for each feet out. In this case the incline railroad is used. An incline railroad goes straight up a mountainside. The trains are limited to one or two cars. Its "locomotive" is an engine based at the top of the mountain.
The engine is connected to a winch which uses steel rope to pull the car up, and to let it down the mountain. In short inclines a single track is used and the engine pulls the car up to the top of the mountain. The car is disconnected from the cable and usually connected to a small railroad locomotive at the top of the mountain, which takes the car to a place to be loaded, and then returns the car to the incline, where the cable is reconnected and the engine lowers the car back down.
The Brimstone Shays were known for being the best kept working locomotives in the country. At the engine shed, Two cars are balanced against each other on a single steel rope, which is wrapped around the drum of a winch. The engine pulls one car up while the other car is let down the incline.
At the middle of the incline the track splits into two separate tracks with a special switch. When the two cars reaches this point , one always takes one side up and the other takes the other side down, passing each other safely. The only difference in the weight of the cars is in the load. The car going up is empty and the car going down is loaded. The weight of the loaded car is pulling the empty car up. The engine is used to control the speed of the cars. Double tracked inclines do the same thing, but the crossing point is unnecessary.
There were many inclines in Scott and Fentress Counties. Two in Scott County were used to carry coal and were pretty well built. They were in Dean, on the Tennessee. Railroad and in New River, on the Brimstone Railroad. Two used to carry coal were lightly built and hard to find today, one was on Smoky Creek on the Brimstone and the other was down to Wolf Creek near Jamestown on the Oneida and Western Railroad.
There were many other temporary inclines built throughout the counties in the Cumberland Plateau. Pole roads were pretty common in the timber areas of Scott and Fentress County, but they are pretty much forgotten today.
A pole road used small trees, usually eight to twelve inches in diameter, cut down and trimmed into long poles, as rails.
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There were many other temporary inclines built throughout the counties in the Cumberland Plateau. Pole roads were pretty common in the timber areas of Scott and Fentress County, but they are pretty much forgotten today.
A pole road used small trees, usually eight to twelve inches in diameter, cut down and trimmed into long poles, as rails. The poles were kept into place by using their weight into the ground. Sometimes wooden pegs, like very large tent pegs, were driven on the down hill side to keep the poles in place. The poles were connected together into smooth rails by splicing them together with metal pins.
The pole roads used wagons as cars, pulled by teams of mules. A narrow gauge pole road would be wide enough for the team of mules to pull the wagon in a single file. The usual width of the pole road was wide enough to allow a normal, double file, teaming of mules to the wagon. There was usually only one wagon per mule team and it was operated by a single teamster.
The pole road usually carried timber to a lumber sawmill or to a loading point for a logging railroad to carry the load to the mill. The wagons for a pole road were fitted with special metal wheels that were shaped to fit around the pole for guidance.
They looked much like modern automobile wheels without the tires. There was usually one derailment, where the wheels "jumped the track," per day, where the teamster became instant track maintainer and repaired the pole rail and reset the wagon onto the track.
Pole roads were light weight railroads and over the years they rotted away, back into the forest floor. It is difficult, if not impossible, to find these old pole road routes today. Oneida and Western The common carrier railroad is a railroad that is designed to carry anything that a railroad may carry.
The Norfolk Southern Railway is an example of a common carrier. They carry passenger and freight from place to place and charge for the service. They do not specialize in any particular operation or commodity. The coal railroad is a railroad that specializes in carrying coal from the mine to the common carrier railroad. In the old days a coal mine, wither a drift mine or a shaft mine, the coal was taken out using a tram railroad.
The trams were routed to a structure called a tipple, named because it was the place where the tram cars were tipped over to empty the coal. Some of the simple tipples were either chutes from the hillside or small bridges over the railroad tracks. The tram cars were tipped so that the coal would fall immediately to a coal car directly below.
The coal car would be placed there by the coal railroad. These tipples sorted the coal by their size and sometimes made "dustless" coal by spraying the chunks of coal with a light mist of oil. These types of tipples straddled two or more tracks, arranged in a small rail yard. Each track was for a particular size grade of coal. Some tipples had their own small locomotives to push the cars under the tipples, in order to load the coal without waiting for the coal railroad to provide one. Other tipples had the track on the empty side built on a slight uphill grade.
The coal train would push the empty cars under the tipple and past it, up the slight hill. A car hand would then climb up the car and set the brakes. When it was time to load the cars, a car hand would climb on the car nearest the tipple, the lead car, release the brakes and ride the car until it came under the tipple chute.
There he would set the brakes and wait for the coal to come down the chute. When it was full, he released the hand brake and let the string of cars roll down until the next empty was under the chute.
The car hand would then set the brakes and the process started over again. Because the cars contained graded coal destined for specific customers, detailed records were kept.
The cars were marked by the owning railroad with the name of the railroad and a unique car number on the sides and the ends. The coal railroad would carry the cars to the interchange point in long trains.
Each car was then weighed in special scale tracks because they customer was billed by the weight of the load carried, and then placed into an interchange yard, usually owned by the common carrier. The yard in Oneida is such an interchange yard, designed to handle coal loads from the Tennessee Railroad and general merchandise loads by the Oneida and Western Railroad.
The common carrier would take the coal loads to their destinations and provide empty cars for the coal railroad to pull back to the mines. Logging railroads were special railroads in that they were uniquely intertwined with their load. Most logging railroads had a main line, usually lightly ballasted, but pretty well maintained.
They also had many branch lines. The Brimstone Railroad was reported to have a branch up every hollow for every stream feeding the Brimstone Creek. This was probably true as the logging railroad was noted for lightweight, temporary, unballasted track. This track would wind up the hills and have grades exceeding 4 percent or more. Many of them would use switchbacks, tracks where a train would go up in one direction as far as it could go, past a switch, and the, once the switch was "thrown" — made to change the direction of travel, the train would go backwards, up the hill to another switchback.
This continued until the train climbed in a zig zag method to the loading point or over the mountain itself. At the loading point there was special equipment used to load the cut trees onto the flatcars. Sometimes the trees were carried to a logging point where they were cut into flatcar-length logs and then dragged to the loading point.
If the trees were very high up on the hillside, they were "skiddered" down the hill. A "skidder" was a system by which one tree was left standing at the loading point, but it was trimmed like a pole. At the top was fastened a set of pulleys and the pole was stabilized using guy wires. Steel rope was run from a winch drum up the skidder pole and to another pulley pole high up the hillside. The heavy logs would be connected to skids on the steel rope by chain and lowered down the cable.
In some mines coal was lowered to tipples the same way, in cable buckets. The skidder was powered by a "donkey" engine, an upright boiler steam engine mounted on sledges and usually connected to a gypsy winch.
A good skidder operator could load a flat car straight from the hillside down to the car. Usually the logs were skidded to a loading point which consisted of poles laid on their side like a simple platform to allow the logs to roll easier. The end of the pole platform would be positioned so that they would be level to the deck of the flatcar when it was positioned by the locomotive.
Unlike coal railroads, logging railroads rarely left empty cars to be loaded by the logging crews. The trains were taken to the logging site and the logs were rolled onto the flatcar using the donkey engine and chain. The logs were then secured to the flatcars with chain and the car was moved for the next log. When the train was full it was taken back down to the main line. Usually the logs were taken directly to the lumber sawmill which was usually located at the beginning of the railroad, called the railhead.
In some cases, like in the Hegermeyer Mill in Glenmary, the Oneida and Western took logs out to the yard in Oneida, where the Southern delivered them to the mill, until it burned down. The Tennessee Railroad got its start first carrying coal, then carrying logs and lumber for the New River Lumber Company in Norma and then, once again carrying coal as the Tennessee Railroad.
The sawmill would cut the logs into boards and then loaded flatcars, by grade and type of lumber. The logging railroad would then carry the lumber filled flatcars to the interchange yard for the common carrier. The Brimstone would leave their flatcars for the Southern to pick up and leave empties at New River. In this case the yard at the top of the hill was relatively small, so the Brimstone would leave cars when a train to pick them up was due.
The other full cars would be left in a yard at the bottom of the hill, next to the mill for other trains to pick up later. Because of the steep grades, tight curves and light rail, special steam locomotives, called geared locomotives were used on the logging railroads. The temporary nature of the logging railroads makes them hard to locate. Their definite locations are hidden away on drawings in the logging company archives or lost forever. This brings up an interesting observation: Logging roads laid down fifty years ago are still easy to find, but hundred year old logging track is impossible to trace because of the lack of permanent road beds.
There were two types of locomotives operating in Scott County: Steam Locomotives and Diesel Locomotives. Tom Gentry Steam Locomotives. Steam locomotives used steam power to move the trains. These locomotives were usually divided into two major parts, the boiler and the engine. The steam is created in the horizontally mounted boilers. The boilers had built inside of them special fire boxes which held the coal or wood fires that heated the water.
The fire box had a grate which penetrated the boiler at the back and bottom for air, and a fire hole which penetrated the boiler at the back, or the "backhead," of the boiler. The coal or wood was fed to the fire through the fire hole. Later locomotives used oil or coal fed through augers to feed the fire.
Flues and heating pipes lead from the fire box at the back of the boiler to the smoke box at the front of the boiler. The heat of the air and smoke caused the water to boil and make steam. The steam was fed by the throttle valve to the steam engine. The steam engine was a large piston connected to a wheel. In a stationary steam engine the wheel was a flywheel, which kept the piston from stopping at the dead points.
In a locomotive the wheel was the driving wheel. The steam engine is unique in that each stroke is a power stroke, unlike automobile engine where the power stroke is the fourth stroke per cylinder. The steam was injected in the back of the piston by a timed steam valve piston located next to the main piston.
When the power stroke was completed the valve piston was moved by the valve gear to a position where the steam at the back of the piston can be exhausted and the steam could be injected at the front of the piston.
The process is continued over and over again for each rotation of the driver wheel. Because the locomotive has no flywheel it requires two main pistons to operate smoothly. The pistons are set up so that they are off cycle by 90 degrees. This is controlled by connecting the pistons to the driving wheels connected by the same axle.
The steam exhaust is routed back up to the smoke box and out the smoke stack. This causes a draft through the flues and fire box and makes the "chuff, chuff" sound that a steam locomotive is noted for. Steam locomotives had tender cars permanently attached behind them. The tender cars carried the wood, oil or coal used to burn in the fire and at least enough water in the tank to replenish the water boiling out of the locomotive.
When a train stopped at a coaling or fueling station, the tender was the car that was loaded with fuel and water. There were two types of steam locomotives used in Scott County, the rod locomotive and the geared locomotive. The rod locomotive has its steam engine located at the front with the pistons located on either side, in front of the driving wheels. These locomotives were the most common in use and were specialized in the types of trains that they carried. A passenger train, which was usually concerned about speed, used large diameter driving wheels.
The freight train which sacrificed power for speed used smaller diameter driving wheels. The power from the main pistons was transmitted to the main driver wheels by a movable crank rod called the main rod.
The power was transmitted to the other driver wheels by another rod called the drive rod. The valve gear was used the main drive wheel as a timing wheel. The timing was also controlled by the engineering on a moment by moment basis. Official Railway Guide, showing the routes and timetables of railroads in Scott County: Tom Gentry The number of wheels and their locations were also important to the design of the rod engine. There were usually at the most three sets of wheel on a locomotive.
The first set of wheels at the front, before piston or directly under them, were called the pilot wheels, the next set of wheels were the large driver wheels and the final set was the trailing wheels.
The number of sets and the number of wheels in each set depended on the job and operation of the locomotive. A yard locomotive, which operates on the tight curves found in switches, would have no pilot, between four to six driver wheels counting both sides , and no trailing wheels. These two switching locomotives would be given a "Whyte" wheel designation of and If a engine is designed to move fast through relatively broad curves then a pilot wheel is used.
If the locomotive is relatively heavy or very fast for its class, then two pilot wheels on a truck would be located in front. There would be 4,6,8 or even 10 driver wheels on these locomotives. If the firebox was large or the boiler made longer and was too heavy to stick out behind the drivers, one or two trailing wheels were placed on a truck to support the weight.
The wheel arrangements were given names. On the Southern, through Scott County, the most common were the Mikados and the Mountains The Tennessee used Mikados and Santa Fe locomotives. Sometimes extra power was needed and steam locomotives were built with two steam engines under the boiler. These were called Mallets, after the French engineer who designed the first one. They were also called "articulated" locomotives because the first steam engine and its set of drivers were made to swing to either side of the boiler in order to accommodate curves.
The pilot was attached to the articulated frame. The second engine was attached to the boiler the normal way, by a rigid frame. The geared locomotive was a special type used for logging and coal operations. There were three types of geared locomotives used in Scott County: All of the geared locomotives worked much the same way, the steam from the boiler was directed to smaller pistons which drove a crankshaft, like in a car.
The crankshaft was connected to the driving wheels by a set of rotating shafts and gears. This converted the power from the pistons to increased torque, which was needed in carrying timber and coal loads out of the mountains. The result was a set of tough, lightweight locomotives that did not need heavily laid track to carry heavy loads. The shays used in Scott County usually had three pistons attached to a three crank crankshaft set at degrees apart.
The valve piston and gear was timed by the crank shaft. The pistons were mounted on a large steel plate on the right side of the locomotive from the back of the locomotive and facing forward.
The crank shaft was connected to the drive shaft and the drive shaft was connect to the power trucks by universal joints and sliding shafts. The drive shaft had large beveled gears which were meshed to equal sized bevel gears mounted on the wheels. The wheels were all the same size, about 36 inches in diameter and were set into a bolstered truck to accommodate curves. The engine would sound like it was running 90 mile per hour while the locomotive was moving barely 10 mile per hour. All of the steam locomotives running on the Brimstone were shays and two of the early Tennessee Railway locomotives were shays.
The Climax locomotive was built by the Climax Manufacturing Company. These locomotives solved a particular problem the shays had in making steep right hand turns, they could easily bind, depending on the skills of the engineer. The Climax solved this problem by mounting two pistons in a 45 degree angle on either side of the boiler, in the center of the locomotive. The pistons drove a flywheel which drove a gearbox. The gearbox turned a drive shaft down the center of the locomotive, under the boiler.
The driveshaft connected to a geared set of trucks. The Heisler locomotive had its pistons mounted in a "V" on either side of the boiler at the center of the locomotive. The pistons drove a crankshaft which drove a centerline driveshaft under the boiler. The connection to the wheels was much the same as the Climax locomotive.
The Stearns Coal and Lumber Company used two Heislers before finding them unsuitable and changed to rod locomotives for this section of their railroad. The only railroads that used diesel locomotives in Scott County were the Southern and the Tennessee.
While vastly different, all diesels work the same way. A large marine diesel, designed for boats and ships, are mounted on the deck of the locomotive carbody. The engine is directly connected to a electric generator. The generator is connected to a control box which allows the engineer to control power by a throttle lever. The control box controls the power output of the generator to the electric motors connected to the axles below.
The control box also controls the speed setting for the diesel engine. There are usually only three or four speed settings for the diesel, which makes it possible to design the engine to operate at its most efficient power for each speed setting.
The electric motors are attached to the axles and not to the wheels as in a steam locomotive. The axles were attached to the wheels in a bolstered truck to accommodate curves.
Diesel locomotives use the electrical power from the generator to the electric motors to pull their trains up the hills. When going down hill the diesel uses a special form of braking called "dynamic braking. This reduces wear and tear on the breaks on each train car, but it also creates a lot of heat in the motors.
The diesel locomotives with dynamic brakes have large fans mounted on top of the car body which are used to cool the very large radiators that are used to cool the motors. These fans make the characteristic whine heard when these locomotives go down hill. In diesel locomotives the wheel designations were changed to count the number of axles. There were three truck configurations, "A," which was a three axle design with one axle offset behind the middle one, "B" which was a two axle truck and "C" which was a three axle truck with equal distance between the axles.
The A truck is a discontinued design and now only two and three axle locomotives run through Scott County. The Southern and Norfolk Southern run both types but have been purchasing three axle power lately. In order to manage such a long railroad it was divided into three divisions. These divisions acted as shift controls for trains and their crews.
At each division point the train crews would be replaced by a fresh crew. It would take approximately 24 hours for an average train to get from Cincinnati to Chattanooga. While very slow for today, this service was a vast improvement of the one to two weeks it took for shipments to be moved between these two cities prior to that time. There were four division points for the three divisions: Cincinnati, Danville, Rockwood and Chattanooga.
Each division was divided into maintenance sections and operational blocks. Maintenance sections had special gangs, called maintenance crews, who knew the area and the section of track very well. Operational blocks were sections of track that were approximately two to five miles long.
These sections were used to space trains apart. If the rules were followed then no train would be closer that five miles behind another train. Bad weather, missed orders, bad clocks and other events sometimes intervened and rear-end collisions occurred, but the blocking system did a good job.
The block boundaries were usually indicated by a set of signals. The signals were operated by men in the signal towers next to the signals. Signal blocks were also controlled by railroad stations. In either case, the signal operator would be told how to signal the trains by telegraph from the dispatcher. The dispatcher could make changes to the timetable to meet the day to day requirements of the railroad. These changes were in the form of signal control and train orders. The signal could order a train to stop, slow or continue past, into the next operational block.
Special Order signals, usually located at the station, were used to slow or stop a train in order for the crew to receive new instructions from the dispatcher via the train orders. The dispatcher would telegraph the train order to the station master where the change in orders will go into effect.
The stationmaster would then change the special order signal and the train would slow down to walking speed or stop at the station. The orders would be given to the train crew who had to understand it completely before proceeding. Stations were different from signal towers. The station usually had a freight house associated with it for freight cars to be unloaded and held for those customers that did not have special sidings built connecting the railroad to their business.
The stations also had a team track where raised platforms facilitated the transshipping of freight off a freight car and onto a wagon where teams of horses would carry the freight to customers. They also had waiting rooms for passengers to wait for their trains, as well as a ticket window for purchasing of tickets on those trains. Scott County had, at one time, 7 stations: Oneida, at one time, had three stations, one for the Southern, one for the Tennessee and one for the Oneida and Western.
If the three stations were built in one building with shared waiting rooms and ticket windows, then it would be a "union" station, albeit a small one. The station master was the railroad employee in charge of the railroad station, in general. He, or, in some cases, she, would be responsible primarily for operating the telegraph and writing up the train orders, and for the general upkeep of the station.
A station, like Oneida, with a large interchange yard, would also have an agent. He would also be responsible for making sure the full cars are attached to the correct trains and make it onward to their destinations. Passenger agents would sell tickets to the passengers, often routing them on other railroads as needed. Both types of agents were responsible for billing the customer. Stations were also offices for railroad detectives.
These special agents made sure that freight was not stolen while on the railroad property. He also monitored for vandals, vagrants and hobos. In small stations, like those in Scott County, the stationmaster, freight agent, and passenger agent were one and the same person. The most important parts of a railroad are the trains. Trains were operated, as said before, under the control of a timetable or train orders.
Trains are organized by destinations and by the type — freight or passengers.. Trains that collect or set off cars from customer sites or interchange yards were called local freight trains. They were usually associated with a station. The station in Oneida usually operated two to three locals at one time.
The cars would be brought into the yard and sorted by the general direction that they were going. Cars arriving from these railroads would be sorted into Northbound and Southbound destinations. Through freight trains would collect these cars according to the direction that the train was heading, and drop off cars ordered by the freight agent.
The through trains would drop off the cars from Oneida at the classification yards at either end of the railroad, where the cars would be sorted into trains of common destinations. Express freight trains would carry these cars from classification yard to classification yard. Sometimes the trains would be too long for the locomotives to carry, so the trains were broken down into sections.
These sections would be outside of timetable rules so they would carry little white flags mounted on the smoke box, at the front of the locomotive, to indicate to the signal operators that this train was operating under special rules. Passenger trains also operated in much the same way. Local passenger trains would collect passengers form branch lines to the main line. These railroads would have their passengers collect in the Southern Railway station in Oneida waiting for the through passenger trains.
Through trains, like through freights, stopped at each station providing point-to-point transportation and collecting passengers bound for other parts of the country. The through passenger trains would allow their passengers to make connections at the Union Station in Cincinnati or Chattanooga, or to change railroads or connect with an Express or Limited Stop Passenger train at the larger cities, such as Lexington, Danville, and Harriman Junction.
Limited Stop trains, or the "Limiteds" usually ran from major city to major city. They were often divided into sections because of the passenger service class provided. First class Pullman sections would always adherer to the timetable. Second class Pullman would make up a second section and coach trains would make up the third or fourth section. The First Class Pullman would have Pullman compartmented sleepers with first class dining facilities.
The Second class Pullmans would have aisle —access bunk-beds that were converted into coach seats in the daytime, as well as a dining car. The coach trains would have a dining car and a lounge, but no comfortable sleeping facilities.
Such trains would originate in cities such as Chicago, Detroit or Philadelphia and be routed through Cincinnati, where it would make a stop at Union Station. Cincinnati passengers would be allowed to depart or board the train while the locomotive and train crews would be changed from one railroad to the Southern.
Pullman cars had their own employees, so those crews would be known to their first and second class passengers for the entire trip.
The next stop would be Chattanooga, then, if heading to Miami, the next stops would be Atlanta, Jacksonville and finally Miami. The local freights, local passenger and express trains within a certain section of a division were under the control of the trainmaster. The trainmaster would troubleshoot problems in keeping the trains on time.
He could make decisions over-riding agent orders and standard policy in order to get the train to its destination on time and safely. The trainmasters all coordinate closely with the dispatcher. The dispatcher controls where and when a train should be in order to maintain the timetable. He used special wide sheet control forms that indicated the location and condition of every train on the line.
He could assign a trainmaster to ride any train to a trouble point. At any other time the trainmaster would "float" between trains, riding any one that he wanted within his district.
All trains are operated by their train crews. The train crew consisted of the Conductor, Engineer, Fireman and several Brakemen.. The conductor was the foreman of the train. He rode in his special office car, called the caboose. The term was applied to the car which was known elsewhere in the world as the "Brake Van.
Before air brakes the conductor would listen for special whistle codes from the engineer. One code was used for setting the brakes and another code for releasing them. The train consisted of the locomotive at the front, which had brakes, and the Brake Van at the back, which had brakes, and a few cars in between, which did not have brakes.
As the trains became longer this became impractical and the freight cars were installed with hand brakes. Brakemen became a part of the crew. This was done day and night. The railroad would place dangling ropes on a cross arm raised on a pole beside the track a quarter mile before a low bridge or tunnel. If a brakeman should lose track of where the train was on his route, the ropes brushing past him would tell him to fall flat on the catwalk, immediately. His alternative was to climb down the ladder between the cars and wait it out in relatively fresh air, but, if the tunnel was long or the train was slow or the cars especially "jumpy", he had to hang on the ladder for dear life in the dark.
The two men that everyone knows are in the front of the train, in the locomotive. Actually, they were in the locomotive cab. The cab was an open air enclosure for the driver, known in America as the engineer, and the fireman. Both men rode behind the steam locomotive, where the firebox was. The steam locomotive used wood or coal to heat water into steam. The steam was used to work the pistons in the part of the locomotive known as the steam engine.
The engine worked the timing between the valves and the pistons and the driving wheels so that the locomotive can move forward or backward along the tracks. Steam locomotives on the Southern commonly weighed about , pounds and pulled trains weighing to tons, so it took a lot of fire to boil a lot of water to make a lot of steam to pull the train, and it took a lot of coal to maintain that fire.
The needs of the fire changed along the route, and the fireman had to know how to control it properly. When a locomotive was on a flat stretch of track the fireman had to know that the next hill was a few minutes away and the engine needed more steam to pull it, but if the fire was too hot now, the excess steam would be lost through the safety valves, and would then be wasted, or worse, the train could run out of water before the next water tower.
He had to position the hot coals on the grate so that they were burning evenly. He watched the smoke out of the smokestack, too much was a sign of not enough air in the fire box and he opened the grates a little bit. Too little and the heat was just passing through the boiler to fast to make much steam. While he was watching the smoke, fire and water he was shoveling the coal from the tender into the firebox. He had to time this so that he had a load on his shovel and swing it around to the fire hole, which was covered, as he was swinging around he would step on the lever that opened the firebox door and throw the coal onto the firebox grate, not just anywhere, but at the place where the fresh coal was need most.
While he is doing this the fireman is looking for obstructions on the track on his side of the locomotive, watching for signals that the engineer may have missed and, when the train passes by stations, any new train orders not given on the engineer side because of the location of the station.
The one job that was shared by both the fireman and engineer was monitoring the water level in the boiler. The steam locomotive was built with the firebox inside the boiler. Only the back end of the firebox, called the backhead, was not totally surrounded by the boiler. The firebox got very hot. In practice, the firebox was hot enough to melt the iron, and later, steel that was used to make it.
The water had to cover the top of the firebox, called the crown sheet. A special sight tube was provided to indicate the level of the water in the boiler. Later locomotives were supplied with a special steam whistle inside of the cab that would warn the engineer and firemen that the crown sheet was exposed. When the crown sheet was exposed for more that a couple of minutes it would sag and collapse under the pressure of the steam which would blow down through the grates and blow open the fire hole.
The end result would be flame, high pressure steam and hot water through small, reinforced holes. The steam locomotive would literally become a rocket, with the cab crew in the middle of the fatal engine exhaust.
With this in mind, the engineer is driving the train. He is also looking out for obstructions on the track and he is listening to his locomotive. The reason why railroads are so efficient in carrying heavy freight is because they use metal wheels on metal rails, so the friction is very small. All eight wheels of a modern freight car have the contact area the size of a dime. This means that it takes relatively less power to make the car move that an equivalent weight truck.
It also means that when power as applied to the driving wheels of a locomotive, the easier it is for the wheels to slip. Slipping wheels is not only wasting time and energy, but could damage the track.
So the engineer is constantly listening and watching for the driving wheels slipping. While on the move the wheels may slip as the locomotive begins to go up a grade. The engineer can control the power of each stroke of the engine by controlling the travel rate of the piston valves. This is done by moving the Johnson Bar backward and forward.
In most locomotives there are no powered control devices, so the engineer had to control the power strokes by his muscle power alone. He must anticipate the power requirements for the grade or curve and make adjustments by instinct. The fact that these power requirements change depending on the weather, train load and track conditions must be taken into account by the engineer. The direction of the locomotive is controlled by the same device, so if the engineer overpowers the Johnson bar he can throw the locomotive into reverse, which would not damage the locomotive, but would cause a lot of noise, spinning wheels and embarrassment.
Oil or water on the tracks is taken care of by the judicious use of sand from the sand domes on top of the locomotive. The sand is kept dry by the heat of the boiler and is routed down small metal tubes to the front of the driving wheels, where they can soak up the oil and water and provide a bit of grit for some friction over the slippery spot on the rails. The engineer opens and closes the slide valves for the sand with another level in the cab. While all of this is going on the engineer is also monitoring the speed of the train.
The basic speed control was the throttle lever, which controlled the throttle valve on top of the boiler. The throttle controlled the amount of steam to the engine. These orders must be strictly observed in order to avoid a derailment, or overtaking a train and wrecking into it. At the same time the engineer has a schedule to keep and must know where his train must be along the line at any particular time to keep up.
For safety reasons he must be the one to blow the whistle at the road crossings. He also had to blow the correct whistle signals for the brakemen to set or release the breaks while he is doing the same for the locomotive. Tunnels are also not a favorite thing for a locomotive crew. When the locomotive enters a tunnel the exhaust is blown directly into the ceiling and is then blown back along the locomotive.
The heat and the fumes enter the cab where the fireman and engineer are laboring to operate the locomotive. At times the blast of the exhaust has been known to loosen rock which falls on the locomotive and brakemen. The last thing that the engineer wants to happen is to have the locomotive to lose traction and stall out while in a tunnel. He and the fireman take special care to prevent this from happening. The train crew does not rest when the train stops.
When he stops the locomotive, either at a passenger station or at a coaling station, the engineer must leave his post in the cab and check the locomotive for lubrication. He will add oil to joints and check the grease and look for leaks or sticking equipment.
Meanwhile his fireman is filling the water tank and the coal bunker in the tender while watching the water level in the boiler.
He is also controlling the blower, a jet of steam blowing up the smokestack in order to maintain a draft while the locomotive is standing still. The brakemen would be walking the train, this time on the ground, watching for "hot boxes", when the lubrication in the wheel journals of each car is dried out and the cotton packing is in danger of catching fire. They are also adding lubricating oil to the journals that need it. The conductor is also walking the train and meeting with the engineer with latest instructions or to compare the time on their two watches or discussing the latest train order handed to them by the station master.
When the train stops at a station the conductor is responsible for checking his watch with the station clock. As mentioned before the railroad operates interchange yards along the route. The Southern also had classification yards in Cincinnati and Chattanooga. Locomotive and rail car repair shops were located in Cincinnati, Somerset and Chattanooga.
The main thing was that the railroad was more than the trains and the track. Each section, station, yard, shop and train had people, and many of these people were from Scott County. A railroad family was close to their work and close to each other, and a large number came from Scott County.
Scott County is cut out of the Cumberland Plateau, which rises a thousand feet above the Tennessee River Valley floor. Although rich in vegetation and wildlife the land has always been difficult for travel. The Yuchi American Indians settled in this area thousands of years ago.
Their isolation by the plateau was so complete that their language, Yuchian, a form of Sioux Macro-Siouan changed to the point that other local Indians could not communicate with them. The Yuchi peoples eventually disappeared and the land saw only temporary settlements by the Cherokee hunting parties until the arrival of the first white settlers around Brimstone Creek. For almost two hundred years the people of the plateau lived on subsistence farms and hunted within one of the richest hardwood forests in the nation.
Beneath their feet lie vast deposits of limestone, coal, oil, gas and clays. When the land became a nation and the State of North Carolina designated the plateau as a part of Knox County there were no roads into the area. The first of the nation-building roads that passed through the region was the Jacksboro Road, as identified in maps drawn in As the country grew it swept to the north and south, around the Plateau, expanding into the Pacific Coast long before America found Scott County.
This is the story of how the railroads entered Scott County, their effects upon the land and its people and of the technology with which they had to cope. The first highways of the Americas were the great rivers. On the Ohio would be founded two cities whose competitive rivalry would change the course of history for Scott County: Louisville was founded in It was born due to the Falls of the Ohio, a set of rapids that required freight from keel boats and even flatboats to be transferred on land, carried around the falls and reloaded onto keelboats positioned on the other side.
In Congress made Louisville an official Port of Entry. Cincinnati was founded mile upstream from Louisville, at the mouth of the Little Miami on the Ohio as the wilderness Fort Washington in A year later the first steamboat made its way up the Ohio and the settlement grew into a city as commerce flowed up and down the Ohio. By Cincinnati was the hub of twenty railroads serving the newly opened Midwest. Because Cincinnati was upstream of Louisville, it became the dominant commercial city, being the first major port from the manufacturing centers to the North.
Later development of manufacturing and merchant companies intensified the hold that Cincinnati had over the Midwest. Louisville suffered from being on the South side of the Ohio at a time when building railroad bridges across such a major river was daunting and expensive. Soon a serious rivalry arose between these two cities. In spite of its handicap, Louisville also became an important manufacturing capital as well as an agricultural center. Both cities supplied the Midwest and both knew of the next growth area in the country: Manufactured goods ordered from the North would reach near their destinations via riverboat within four to six weeks; the road conditions were so bad that the final hundred miles from the landing to the store could take another one to two weeks.
Southern Railway Station in Oneida, Tom Gentry The city of Cincinnati was not caught sleeping. Its businessmen had been discussing a railroad to Nashville for years. The problem they faced was not the technical difficulties, but legal ones. The fastest was in the United States, which used the rails for rapid growth and transport.
They were also used to for stock and bond fraud. During this period of time more railroads were promised than were built, and all of them used stock and bond sales to generate capital needed to build. More often than not, the sales of stocks and the issues of bonds failed to produce the money needed to build and the "officers" of these paper railroads would disappear into the wilderness with the cash.
Since the cities were issuing bonds for these railroads, only to find them unable to produce the interest as promised, were defaulting them at a rapid rate.
The Ohio municipal bonds were at the risk of becoming valueless. The situation became so severe that the Ohio state legislature drafted an amendment to the state constitution which prohibited cities from issuing bonds for commercial ventures such as railroads. While this situation protected the smaller cities of the state, it hindered the businessmen who needed the deep coffers provided by Cincinnati to build a railroad south.
Transport of goods to the south increased in speed and volume, but only if you were along the railroad. For example, the roads between Nashville to Chattanooga were so bad, that a merchant ordering goods from Nashville and Boston, would receive his order from Boston weeks before the Nashville wagons could reach him.
In fact, it was faster for freight shipped from Nashville to Chattanooga to be first sent by rail to Louisville and then to be transshipped by river boat down the Ohio to the Mississippi and then on the Tennessee to Moccasin Bend. Travel to Knoxville was permissible only during the fall, winter and spring months when the Tennessee was navigable. Railways were built from Memphis to Chattanooga and to the town of Terminus, Georgia, later renamed "Atlanta.
It was found to be iron oxide and steel mills, and the city of Birmingham was located there, forming the third large railroad city in the South. To the north, Knoxville, the host city of the Great Southwestern Railroad Convention became a railroad city with the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia, running down the Tennessee River valley to Chattanooga, and several other railroads climbing the mountains into Virginia and North Carolina. A railroad network was forming in the South with only the Louisville and Nashville connecting it to the Midwest.
For two short years the city of Louisville prospered while the city of Cincinnati fumed, then Fort Sumter was fired upon, and the Civil War was begun. During war two people grew into prominence which would make Scott County the surprise railroad oasis that it came to be. While one young lieutenant may have been bruised by the Mr. This threat caused the United States government to relinquish the Confederate ambassadors, who finally rejoined their families in London.
This was the furthest inland that goods could be brought into the Cumberland Plateau. Bad roads and worse trails slowed transport of good up the mountains onto the plateau, southward, and the Kentucky River gorge created difficulties moving northward to Lexington.
The plan was to complete the Lexington and Danville railroad, which had stopped at the Kentucky River gorge. There John Roebling, the designer and builder of the Brooklyn Bridge, had built the support towers for a suspension bridge across the gorge. The effort was stopped by the war. After the completion of the Civil War the city of Cincinnati was eager for rail service to the South. Until then, Cincinnati merchants had to barge their goods miles downstream to the railhead at Louisville. They then had to pay highly discriminate rates in order to load the train cars from the barges.
The process was reversed when the goods were received by the Cincinnati merchants. With this final insult the city of Cincinnati became hot with railroad fever. In his efforts he determined that while the city could not issue bonds for capital in a commercial venture, there was no prevention from its bond issue of a railroad that would be owned by the city.
The issue was raised to the Ohio Supreme Court, who found no fault in the reasoning and the city of Cincinnati began its audacious venture to the South. The charter for the new Cincinnati Southern railroad was granted by the State of Ohio in June of , and by the State of Tennessee in January of A problem was to arise in the State of Kentucky.
This presented a stalemate where as long as the State of Kentucky refused to issue a charter, the CS could not be built. People in Cincinnati remembered them, though, and backed the campaigns of central Kentucky candidates in earnest prior to the Election of Those new representatives whose regions fell into the potential path of the Cincinnati Southern drew up the charter and the remaining new members passed it.
The Kentucky Governor signed the bill into law in February of The city of Cincinnati started its plans for the Cincinnati Southern Railroad in The first act was to commission surveyors to find a route from Cincinnati to Knoxville or Chattanooga. The railroad was to be of a new type, it was to be a "bridge route" from the North to the South. This meant that the railroad was to take the fastest and shortest route to connect the new rail hub of Cincinnati to the triangle of rail hubs in the South: Chattanooga, Atlanta and Birmingham.
Freight trains entering Cincinnati would be sorted and South-bound freight cars would be routed directly to Chattanooga along the fastest route available, through the "great railroad desert. This limited them to smaller, less powerful locomotives and short trains.
In order to accomplish this, the builders of the CS would depend upon engineering techniques developed in building the transcontinental railroad from Saint Louis to San Francisco: In two years the surveyors identified no less that 26 routes. During this time the CS was busy with the idea of buying the Kentucky Central railroad, which ran from the Kentucky side of Cincinnati, Ludlow, through Paris, Kentucky and then to Lexington.
The plan was to also buy the Lexington and Danville, which was still stymied by the Kentucky River gorge. The line would then go to Somerset where decisions were to be made as to how to proceed and as to which city will be the terminus, Knoxville or Chattanooga. With this plan in place the line was started at Kings Mountain, Kentucky on December 24, The tracks would be completed northward to Cincinnati with the completion of the bridge over the Ohio River.
The railroad purchased the Kentucky Central and extended it from Lexington to Knoxville, through the rough mountains of Harland County. The route to Knoxville ran through Jellico, just on the other side of the ridge that defines the Scott County — Campbell County border. The route south was rapidly reduced to a choice of one of three. In all three cases, the driving factor was the Cumberland Plateau. Because of the "bridge route" concept, the Cincinnati Southern was to be one of the few railroads in the world that did not follow the relatively gentle river routes in planning its route.
This was because the terrain from Cincinnati to Kings Mountain was relatively flat and easy to cross. Kings Mountain provided the first major obstacle and constituted the first of what was to be 27 tunnels along the route. The first route kept the CS on the Cumberland Plateau and entered Jamestown, where it would reach Crossville and then down the plateau to Chattanooga. The second route would continue through the peak areas of the Cumberland Plateau and travel down the mountain to the valley at present-day Harriman and Rockwood.
The third route would run into Scott County as the second route would, but then turn Southeast through Paint Rock, into the New River valley and then on to Chattanooga via Knoxville. While entry onto the Cumberland Plateau from the north was relatively easy, the first route, through Jamestown, presented grades of 90 feet to the mile on the south side.
The third route was rated the hardest because after cutting through the mountain country in Kentucky, the Paint Rock route would trap the railroad in the New River valley, forcing either further long tunnels through, or massive engineering cuts and fills over Brushy Mountain, Frozen Head or Windsock Mountain, only to be faced with the shear cliffs of Walden Ridge the descent to the Tennessee River Valley and to Knoxville.
Portions of this route were later taken by the Tennessee Railroad. The second route was selected for a very simple reason. Even with grades of 60 feet to the mile, it was the most direct route. At the time the most costly part of a railroad was the construction and maintenance of bridges.
The next was the track. Manpower was cheap, especially in the South where recently freed slaves were available for hire, and available as conscript, or prison, labor. With the realities of post Civil War South, it was easier and cheaper to drill tunnels through mountains, and to build fills through hollows, than it was to lay track along easy grades offered by the Jamestown route.
The Cincinnati Southern committed itself to the route which would enter Scott County near the community of Isham, cross the New River in the center of the county and then exit at the Southwest border with Morgan County.
Construction Northward from Chattanooga began in The route from Chattanooga to Harriman was relatively easy as it ran along the Western ridge of the Tennessee River Valley.
North of Harriman the grade became steeper and tunnels were to be constructed. The route was also continued from Kings Mountain Southward. The plan was for the two construction gangs to meet at the construction camp of New River, north of the planned bridge. The CS was designed to be operated under a timetable and with train orders.
A time table was the principle control over trains planned over the railroad. These trains were prime passenger trains and express freight trains. The time tables were planned so that the scheduled trains would remain several miles apart to prevent collision. It also indicated where two trains would "meet," in this case a railroad term indicating when and where one train would move off of the main line and into a siding while the other train passes by on the main line.
It was the responsibility of the train crew to keep the trains on time. Train orders were also issued to newly constructed daily trains which delivered or picked up freight cars to railroad customers along the line called local freights. The point in common between scheduled trains and ordered trains was the location that they were to be at the time they were to be.
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