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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Ah To Live A Dogs Life Here..Decatur Ala Part I


Date: 11/28/19 03:59
Ah To Live A Dogs Life Here..Decatur Ala Part I
Author: NSSpike

Danny Harmon had it right.. “Decatur Alabama is a must see Railfan Hot Spot” and it needs to be on your list ofplaces to visit. Do a YouTube search.... Danny Harmon Decatur Alabama for a short video at the “River City” 

It has been the better part of 18 plus years since I have visited the busy Tennessee River Bridge and Decatur Depot area where NS & CSX trains operate. CSX trains run on the S&NA Sub and NS runs on the Memphis East District. NS controls the rail traffic on the bridge over the river that sees close to 30 scheduled trains daily with a good mix of unit coal and grain trains along with upwards of 5 locals between the two Class 1 railroads. 

In early November I met up with TO member bnsf2001 and we spent some time in the “River City” area and it was well worth the trip. A very busy NS & CSX junction for sure with CSX having the most traffic. NS has up graded their East/West mainline making the former Decatur siding a signaled siding by adding CP 12th Ave on the east end and at the west end CP McEntire. The CP at the Depot, formerly Decatur is now CP Vine Street. We also learned that to the north Stevenson Siding is now called Crow Creek Siding. The later two name changes were due to PTC performance issues with duplicate first names. Decatur... Decatur Junction & Stevenson.... Stevenson Siding.

Here we go....From The Pedestrian Bridge At River Junction 
#1. This dog has the best back yard any dog could have... thus the Post Title. 
#2. See what I am talking about!!! Has to be a railfans living quarters.... you think??? 
#3. Southbound CSX Q237 (LOUISVILLE,KY – BALDWIN, FLA) autorack train at River Junction. 
…. more to follow...

Phil Maton
Villa Rica, GA








Date: 11/28/19 04:01
Re: Ah To Live A Dogs Life Here..Decatur Ala Part I
Author: NSSpike

#4. Off the through truss lift bridge NS Local A04 Decatur Switcher returns southbound at River Jct. 
#5. Between Vine Street north to River Junction the main line runs through a cut that is over grown with brush.Seen here from the pedestrian bridge is BNSF #8252 leading NS 264 (MEMPHIS, TN (BNSF QLACAUG) - ATLANTA, GA toward the river bridge. 
#6. Entering the limits of the bridge this HOT SHOT JBHUNT stack train will head east to Chattanooga and then south to Atlanta GA after a stop at NS Whitaker Yard in Austell Ga.

...more to follow...

Phil Maton
Villa Rica, GA








Date: 11/28/19 04:04
Re: Ah To Live A Dogs Life Here..Decatur Ala Part I
Author: NSSpike

#7. NS #8120 leads 4 UP motors on NS 365 (CHATTANOOGA, TN – SHEFFIELD, ALA) manifest southbound at River Junction. 
#8. Without question the longest train of the day CSX Q521 (NASHVILLE,TN – NEW ORLEANS, LA) in a 1x1 mid configuration would be well over 2 miles long at 200+ cars works it's way south into town. Time to line up the Holmes Gap pusher for sure on this monster manifest train. 

See “A Dogs Life” Decatur Alabama Part II

Phil Maton
Villa Rica, GA






Date: 11/28/19 05:04
Re: Ah To Live A Dogs Life Here..Decatur Ala Part I
Author: bobk

Nice shots!  Was not aware of this location before your post - thanks!



Date: 11/28/19 05:37
Re: Ah To Live A Dogs Life Here..Decatur Ala Part I
Author: KimHeusel

Great shots and location. Would love to live in that house!!

Kim Heusel



Date: 11/28/19 07:21
Re: Ah To Live A Dogs Life Here..Decatur Ala Part I
Author: srman

Great post and shots Phil. Spent a couple of days there myself back in 2017. Very enjoyable. Happy Thanksgiving



Date: 11/28/19 07:34
Re: Ah To Live A Dogs Life Here..Decatur Ala Part I
Author: bluesboyst

That house could be another RailFan B&B...



Date: 11/28/19 14:57
Re: Ah To Live A Dogs Life Here..Decatur Ala Part I
Author: highgreengraphics

That house on the corner was for sale 4-5 years ago the last time I was there. This young northerner from Michigan by way of Nebraska lived in Decatur when I was in 6th and 7th grade in 1969-1970, and my Dad managed a big flour milling complex. I remember F's used for switching at Oakworth and a couple solid A-B-B-A F-unit sets on the Southern. My best friend and I would ride our bikes down to the tracks and hang around the depot area, which was still open, and I recall all manner of earlier GE's and Alcos going past on the L&N. The passenger trains came through at night, so I only got to see one from a distance in the dark, I was too young to be out at night and had no idea yet how to read a schedule. I barely had a 120 box camera and had no money for film. The Tennessee River Bridge was still a center-pivot swing bridge. The neighborhood across the tracks was pretty questionable then, but an old lady living there would give us all the lemonade we could drink on her front porch, and she even called us "Honey Chiles"  - Classic southern! There was a hobby shop on Bank St. and in the Christmas season the Woolworths store in the shopping center would be stacked to the gills with AHM model trains, too! === === = === JLH



Date: 11/28/19 15:32
Re: Ah To Live A Dogs Life Here..Decatur Ala Part I
Author: NSSpike

highgreengraphics Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That house on the corner was for sale 4-5 years
> ago the last time I was there. This young
> northerner from Michigan by way of Nebraska lived
> in Decatur when I was in 6th and 7th grade in
> 1969-1970, and my Dad managed a big flour milling
> complex. I remember F's used for switching at
> Oakworth and a couple solid A-B-B-A F-unit sets on
> the Southern...........

Great story...Thanks for the reply..

Phil Maton
Villa Rica, GA



Date: 11/29/19 01:30
Re: Ah To Live A Dogs Life Here..Decatur Ala Part I
Author: espeefan

Does the tower control the bridge movements?

Posted from Android



Date: 11/29/19 04:26
Re: Ah To Live A Dogs Life Here..Decatur Ala Part I
Author: jmbreitigan

Thank you for the intersting post. An area I was not aware of.
John



Date: 11/29/19 18:59
Re: Ah To Live A Dogs Life Here..Decatur Ala Part I
Author: Whitco64

Back in 1985, I was westbound over this bridge as fireman on Southern 4501 and saw a car ferry floating river south (left in all the attached pics) with a SBD unit on board with boxes and tanks. I asked the regular engineer what was up with that and he indicated that it was how the SBD/CSX served a chemical plant complex downstream a couple miles. Anyone know about this long gone operation or have any pics of it? If you search Google Earth you can find the ferry slip at the destination chemical plant. It's a little hard to find the upstream end just a few hundred feet to the right of the bridge in CSX territory. 

GW Walker

George Walker
Chattanooga, TN



Date: 11/29/19 21:47
Re: Ah To Live A Dogs Life Here..Decatur Ala Part I
Author: highgreengraphics

I think the barge operation was so L&N could serve the Champion Paper plant in Courtland, as Southern already served it from the south side from a branch diverging from their main line. The outbound barge slip was on the south side of Bunge Grain on the River Line, south of the main highway bridge and railroad lift bridge, it is still very evident on Google Earth and modern looking, but with no tracks any more. We left Decatur in 1970, the paper mill opened in 1971 so I never saw a rail barge operation. The paper plant became International Paper and closed circa 2006 due to less paper demand because of electronic communication. The barge slip there, several miles north and north of Brown's Ferry power plant on the opposite side of the Tennessee River at a point where the river turns left, is of similar modern construction, but with no tracks leading to it and a labyrinth of abandoned tracks in the weeds on the north side of the plant. The paper plant is currently being demolished and all former jobs there are lost. The entire area north of Decatur along the Tennessee River is still a fascinating labrynth of industrial trackage to many diverse industries. === === = === JLH



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