Trainscapes Stuff

Trainscapes: The Amazing Looping Railroad Of Tennessee

Welcome to the Trainscapes segment!  Each week here on Geek Alabama, Trainscapes will feature train content including videos of trains and behind the scenes action of trains and locomotives.  Some people have an interest in seeing trains, and we here at Geek Alabama aim to please the train lovers!

Situated along the Hiwassee River near the North Carolina border in Polk County, Tennessee stands a marvel of railway engineering: L&N’s Hiwassee Loop. Constructed in 1898 by the Atlanta, Knoxville & Northern, the Loop replaced a series of switchbacks around Bald Mountain. This cut train schedules by two hours, allowing for faster service between Marietta, Georgia, and Knoxville, Tennessee. In 1902, the Louisville & Nashville absorbed the AK&N to operate it as a mainline. But the rugged terrain and high elevation of the route through the Blue Ridge would lead the L&N to construct a “New Line” from Etowah, Tennessee to Cartersville, Georgia. From 1906 on, the former mainline became known as the “Old Line.”

Thanks to the Tennessee Overhill Association the “Old Line” was saved from abandonment by CSX in 2001 after the Tennessee Chemical Company shuttered its Sulfuric Acid plant in Copperhill. Today, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum hosts scenic excursion trains along the old line and occasionally operates freight trains between Wetmore and Copper Hill, Tennessee. To learn more about the Hiwassee Loop and to book tickets for the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure, visit

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