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Eastern Railroad Discussion > CSX between Birmingham and Atlanta


Date: 01/04/11 20:20
CSX between Birmingham and Atlanta
Author: b147584

Can anyone tell me when CSX abandoned their mainline between Birmingham and Atlanta and why? I would also like to see a Track Chart/Profile of the line.



Date: 01/05/11 06:07
Re: CSX between Birmingham and Atlanta
Author: KV1guy

I think it was just redundant. They had just upgraded the line and then it was abandoned. Guys at CSX told me it was 1982.



Date: 01/05/11 09:32
Re: CSX between Birmingham and Atlanta
Author: b147584

I work for the BNSF in Springfield and we run a Q train with them that is pretty hot. It originates in Atlanta and runs to L.A. Our maps show the line that train has to use to get there and it looks like a pretty circuitous route. Some of our people said they once had a much shorter route to Atlanta but they got rid of it years ago. They also said it wasn't nearly as hilly and curvy as the NS's line.



Date: 01/05/11 09:53
Re: CSX between Birmingham and Atlanta
Author: mexrail

The current route is a combo of the AWP to La Grange, GA. thence the old ACL to Birmingham. The short line mileage route was the old SAL which was severed. The longest stretch of remaining track appears to be from Birmingham to Wellington, Al., about 60 miles. The SAL route sure was a lot shorter but maybe it required a lot of upgrade. Good question.

Mexrail



Date: 01/05/11 11:03
Re: CSX between Birmingham and Atlanta
Author: ts1457

> The current route is a combo of the AWP to La
> Grange, GA. thence the old ACL to Birmingham. The
> short line mileage route was the old SAL which was
> severed. The longest stretch of remaining track
> appears to be from Birmingham to Wellington, Al.,
> about 60 miles. The SAL route sure was a lot
> shorter but maybe it required a lot of upgrade.
> Good question.
>
> Mexrail

Most of the rest of the abandoned SAL right of way now could not be returned to rail use because it is the basis for the Silver Comet Trail:

http://www.silvercometga.com/



Date: 01/05/11 11:30
Re: CSX between Birmingham and Atlanta
Author: mderrick

This line is the source of many interesting discussions among the long-time Atlanta fans. I lived there for four years, and walked the Silver Comet trail many times. As I was told, SCL decided to route traffic as has been described as a route rationalization/cost savings measure. They were also surprised when BN wanted to buy it, but were successful in fending off that move via abandonment. The Atlanta market would have been very interesting were that move taken.

The line is still in service from Birmingham to Wellington, AL. It was operated as CSX's Alabama Mineral Subdivision, and is now leased to OmniTrax, which operates as their Alabama & Tennessee River RR. I was fortunate enough to catch their road train returning from Birmingham as Z389 at Ragland, AL just a few months ago. Photo is the train easing to a stop there to make a setoff.

At Wellington, the ATN swings north on a former L&N/NCStL line to Guntersville, AL via Gadsden, which is their main base of operations. The interlocking of these two lines is easily discernable at Wellington, but there is no longer a junction-- the line just takes a big northerly swing as a continous track.

Mike Derrick
http://www.shortlinesusa.com

b147584 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I work for the BNSF in Springfield and we run a Q
> train with them that is pretty hot. It originates
> in Atlanta and runs to L.A. Our maps show the line
> that train has to use to get there and it looks
> like a pretty circuitous route. Some of our people
> said they once had a much shorter route to Atlanta
> but they got rid of it years ago. They also said
> it wasn't nearly as hilly and curvy as the NS's
> line.




Date: 01/05/11 14:39
Re: CSX between Birmingham and Atlanta
Author: georgiaroad

I was born and raised in LaGrange, GA and saw the results of the SAL abandonment first hand. At the time, the SAL line from Montgomery to Savannah had been downgraded, partially abandoned and sold to the Georgia Southwestern a few years after ICG sold out and abandoned the GM&O line from Tuscaloosa. The SAL Birmingham-Atlanta soldiered on until CSX completed the Morgan Street Project that combined the originally separate but relatively parallel Lineville Sub (ex ACL;exx-AB&C)from Birmingham to Manchester and south to Waycross with the the AWP-WofA Subdivision (old West Point Route) from Montgomery to Atlanta. This allowed Birmingham trains to run south from Birmingham on the Lineville Sub to LaGrange and switch over to the AWP to get to Altanta. It is a little longer, but there were fewer bridges, tunnels and the new route using LaGrange had the capacity. Word on the CSX side was the SAL was cut purposely and abandoned to keep BN out of Atlanta. After abandoning parts, the rest was leased and parts sold to Omnitrax ATN as noted above.

The only train to move over from the SAL route was 678/679. This was a clean out freight running from Boyles Yard in Birmingham to Tilford Yard in Atlanta. The train was heavy in scrap steel,BNSF interchange and anything needing to get from one side of the system to the other. LaGrange became a crew change point for this train, since crews could not get over the Lineville and north end of the AWP in twelve hours (they tried at first once the two crew districts cross trained enough crews, but the train usually died enroute tying up the nearest siding.) This train still runs today (SEE VIDEO) and looks pretty much as it always did. We made a point to catch this train since it pretty much used any power Atlanta or Birmingham could scrounge up which was quite interesting particularly in the mid 1990s.


As for that hot BNSF train, I shot it on the CSX side as Q184 at LaGrange in the first month of dedicated service (See Picture). Sorry but this was a grab shot and the train was running track speed with plenty of power for the train. It is still a sight to see with all the JBHunt, Swift and Schnieder domestic containers and occasionally has all BNSF power, which really gets attention! The dust rarely settles on it also.

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