The Southern Railway Loops in North Carolina is going to see a lot less train traffic. From YouTuber Delay In Block Productions, comes a profile of these unique railroad tracks. On May 7th and 8th, 2020 Delay In Block returned to western North Carolina to document the last through trains over Norfolk Southern’s Old Fort Loops.
Announced on May 1st, Norfolk Southern would idle the hump yard at Linwood, North Carolina nearly a week later, causing the S-Line’s last remaining through trains to terminate elsewhere. As a result, trains 123 and 135 would no longer stop to work Asheville Yard, which rendered the Asheville to Bridgewater local, train P87, as the only regularly scheduled train over The Loops.
Ascending the Blue Ridge Mountains 1,100 feet from Old Fort to Ridgecrest, North Carolina, the former Southern Railway mainline requires twelve rail miles to travel a distance of only three miles by air. Eight tunnels, huge earthen fills, along with numerous bridges over Mill Creek, and 2,776 degrees of curvature allow the railroad enough distance to maintain the tolerable – yet challenging – gradients that range between 1.3 and 2.94% over the ridge.
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