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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Southern Railway's Murphy branch questions

Date: 08/06/01 06:25
Southern Railway's Murphy branch questions
Author: railrick

I spent the weekend at the Balsam Inn in Balsam, NC (great place to stay, BTW). At the bottom of the inn's driveway is the Southern's Murphy branch. Just beyond the driveway is a stop sign next to the tracks, apparently intended for train crews, and beyond that what looks like a pretty radical dive down a steep (for railroads, at least) grade. Anyone out there have any info they can share about this grade and the branch itself?

While in the area we rode the Great Smokey Mountain Railroad excursion train from Dillsboro, NC to Bryson City, and another one from Bryson City up the Nanthala Gorge to where the white water rafters are dropped off. Great ride! Beautiful scenery! And a great view of the remains of the train wreck staged for the movie the Fugitive starring Harrison Ford.


Date: 08/06/01 08:47
RE: Southern Railway's Murphy branch questions
Author: shay1925

Gosh, the grade down Balsam Mt., is one of the steepest; I don't have track charts close to me, but I recall it to be in excess of 4 percent. It is still a mandatory stop to turn up retainers and in steam days was a helper grade eastbound between Addie and Balsam. 20 years ago when olivine mining was still going on big-time at Dillsboro, SR assigned four GP38s to drag a dozen or so cars up the grade.
A friend of mine in Asheville told me recently that traffic is fairly good and that the local is making its way out to Sylva just about every evening now.

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