Memphis to Nashville Line

ucvrelics

Colonel
Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Joined
May 7, 2016
Location
Alabama

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
americancivilwarrailroadsmapofficial.jpg


Here is the map of Civil War TN rail roads. Post war the Nashville & North Western RR that was built during the war crossed the Tennessee River & linked to Memphis.

IMG_1570.jpeg


The modern swinging RR bridge at Clarksville TN is at the end of a miles long trestle.
Note the river gage on the pivot abutment.
High water on Cumberland is really high.
Fort Defiance, which loomed over the Cumberland River landing & RR crossing is a beautifully preserved city park.
In order for the CSA to hold the Tennessee/Kentucky line, they had to have Clarksville.
The "Queen City " exchanged hands several times before it fell firmly into Union hands.​
 
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atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Questions why did states allow different gauges within their state. I notice VA and NC tend to 4-8 and other southern states lean to 5 gauge do we know why.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Memphis to Nashville does appear to be around the elbow. That is a beautiful map, @Rhea Cole. Thank you for uploading it.
Lubliner.
Thanks, the geography of West Tennessee is what caused the RR to follow that pathway, or so my RR friends say. When they crossed the Tennessee at Johnsonville & connected up the Nashville & North Western RR, it shortened the route.

If you know RR’s, the N&CRR became the Nashville, Chattanooga & St Louis RR. Oddly enough, the St Louis link was never achieved.
 
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Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Questions why did states allow different gauges within their state. I notice VA and NC tend to 4-8 and other southern states lean to 5 gauge do we know why.
Excellent question. The different gages were deliberate. It meant that any freight had to be run on that line’s rolling stock. During the war, it meant that rolling stock & motive power could not be moved to where it was needed most. It also meant that all freight transfers had to be handled by their proprietary drayage. When the CSA army seized the horses & mules, it brought freight handling to a crawl. Needless to say, the change of gage involved ruinous inefficiencies & delays that were a deliberate element of the competitive RR’s.

A remarkable number of Southern RR’s were about 40 miles long. Many of the stubby branch lines on the map were separate operations running back & forth daily scheduled service on 30 or 40 miles of track. They terminated at mainlines, but did not connect directly with them. They also linked with regularly scheduled ferry & packet service.

The US Military RR was created to operate in captured territory. As a result, they relaid lines & sometimes laid a 5’ gage rail alongside the 4’ 8 1/2” or 5’ 6” gages. The different gages also meant that all freight had to be unloaded, put on wagons & reloaded on the other side of towns. One of the first acts of the occupation in Nashville was to link the L & N with the N & C RR, greatly facilitating freight movements.

Like modern train spotters, CW soldiers in Chattanooga noted the rolling stock from as far away as New York & all points in between. That kind of concentration of resources was impossible on CSA lines. Basically they told the Northern RR owners you can be put under a nationalized system or you can do it yourselves. Enlightened self interest prevailed & a remarkably cooperative wartime management system was created.

Throughout the war, Southern RR owners jealously guarded their territory, maintaining crippling inefficiency in the name of profits.
 
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DaveBrt

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
Excellent question. The different gages were deliberate. It meant that any freight had to be run on that line’s rolling stock. During the war, it meant that rolling stock & motive power could not be moved to where it was needed most. It also meant that all freight transfers had to be handled by their proprietary drayage. When the CSA army seized the horses & mules, it brought freight handling to a crawl. Needless to say, the change of gage involved ruinous inefficiencies & delays that were a deliberate element of the competitive RR’s.

A remarkable number of Southern RR’s were about 40 miles long. Many of the stubby branch lines on the map were separate operations running back & forth daily scheduled service on 30 or 40 miles of track. They terminated at mainlines, but did not connect directly with them. They also linked with regularly scheduled ferry & packet service.

The US Military RR was created to operate in captured territory. As a result, they relaid lines & sometimes laid a 5’ gage rail alongside the 4’ 8 1/2” or 5’ 6” gages. The different gages also meant that all freight had to be unloaded, put on wagons & reloaded on the other side of towns. One of the first acts of the occupation in Nashville was to link the L & N with the N & C RR, greatly facilitating freight movements.

Like modern train spotters, CW soldiers in Chattanooga noted the rolling stock from as far away as New York & all points in between. That kind of concentration of resources was impossible on CSA lines. Basically they told the Northern RR owners you can be put under a nationalized system or you can do it yourselves. Enlightened self interest prevailed & a remarkably cooperative wartime management system was created.

Throughout the war, Southern RR owners jealously guarded their territory, maintaining crippling inefficiency in the name of profits.
The Montgomery & West Point RR gauge was different intentionally. All the other gauge choices were made by the railroad itself at the time of construction; each engineer/superintendent had his own idea about which gauge was the most efficient and he usually was able to sell his desire to the board of directors. Once built, the gauge was rarely changed, though many roads adopted the more common gauge in their area when the roads were relaid with T rail in the 1850's. Drayage had nothing to do with the gauge choices.

Most of the short line DID connect with the main roads, and many of those short road were built to be leased to the main road. The short lines were to give rail service to a town/area that the main road had chosen to not include in its initial build.

Confederate railroad cars were scattered across the South. Brown, Gov. of Georgia, was particularly vocal about the use of his cars in other states with no intention of sending them home to the Western & Atlantic RR. The Richmond & Danville RR likewise complained of cars sent west with Tredegar and Norfolk artillery and never returned. Sharp, Sims and Morfit all noted that the captured Union cars (mostly B&O) had been sent west and were no longer under their control.

Southern RR owners knew that they were going to pay out dividends during the war and have to call for assessments on stockholders after the war to rebuild. The presidents and superintendents noted that they had piles of cash (when the government paid its bills), but no railroad material that they could buy with it, so they gave it to the stockholders with the warning that it would be called back after the war. Southern railroads knew they were making no profits; they maintained their systems because the government never threatened them, like the Union did to its RRs.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The Montgomery & West Point RR gauge was different intentionally. All the other gauge choices were made by the railroad itself at the time of construction; each engineer/superintendent had his own idea about which gauge was the most efficient and he usually was able to sell his desire to the board of directors. Once built, the gauge was rarely changed, though many roads adopted the more common gauge in their area when the roads were relaid with T rail in the 1850's. Drayage had nothing to do with the gauge choices.

Most of the short line DID connect with the main roads, and many of those short road were built to be leased to the main road. The short lines were to give rail service to a town/area that the main road had chosen to not include in its initial build.

Confederate railroad cars were scattered across the South. Brown, Gov. of Georgia, was particularly vocal about the use of his cars in other states with no intention of sending them home to the Western & Atlantic RR. The Richmond & Danville RR likewise complained of cars sent west with Tredegar and Norfolk artillery and never returned. Sharp, Sims and Morfit all noted that the captured Union cars (mostly B&O) had been sent west and were no longer under their control.

Southern RR owners knew that they were going to pay out dividends during the war and have to call for assessments on stockholders after the war to rebuild. The presidents and superintendents noted that they had piles of cash (when the government paid its bills), but no railroad material that they could buy with it, so they gave it to the stockholders with the warning that it would be called back after the war. Southern railroads knew they were making no profits; they maintained their systems because the government never threatened them, like the Union did to its RRs.
I don’t think you understand the drayage. Without wagons & draft animals, there was no means to transfer freight from one side of town to the other to be reloaded on another freight car. That was an important source of revenue. It was also a bottleneck when draft animals became scarce. The drayage was as much a part of the RR line as any other section of track.
 

DaveBrt

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
I don’t think you understand the drayage. Without wagons & draft animals, there was no means to transfer freight from one side of town to the other to be reloaded on another freight car. That was an important source of revenue. It was also a bottleneck when draft animals became scarce. The drayage was as much a part of the RR line as any other section of track.
Of course I understand drayage. I covered the closing of the city rail gaps in another post recently, all of them and in detail, but I guess you did not read it.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Of course I understand drayage. I covered the closing of the city rail gaps in another post recently, all of them and in detail, but I guess you did not read it.
I was responding to your statement that drayage had nothing to do with gage decisions. In my reading, the income from drayage was, in fact, one of the reasons for choosing incompatible gages. That's all.
 

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 16, 2016

TerryB

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Location
Nashville TN
Excellent question. The different gages were deliberate. It meant that any freight had to be run on that line’s rolling stock. During the war, it meant that rolling stock & motive power could not be moved to where it was needed most. It also meant that all freight transfers had to be handled by their proprietary drayage. When the CSA army seized the horses & mules, it brought freight handling to a crawl. Needless to say, the change of gage involved ruinous inefficiencies & delays that were a deliberate element of the competitive RR’s.

A remarkable number of Southern RR’s were about 40 miles long. Many of the stubby branch lines on the map were separate operations running back & forth daily scheduled service on 30 or 40 miles of track. They terminated at mainlines, but did not connect directly with them. They also linked with regularly scheduled ferry & packet service.

The US Military RR was created to operate in captured territory. As a result, they relaid lines & sometimes laid a 5’ gage rail alongside the 4’ 8 1/2” or 5’ 6” gages. The different gages also meant that all freight had to be unloaded, put on wagons & reloaded on the other side of towns. One of the first acts of the occupation in Nashville was to link the L & N with the N & C RR, greatly facilitating freight movements.

Like modern train spotters, CW soldiers in Chattanooga noted the rolling stock from as far away as New York & all points in between. That kind of concentration of resources was impossible on CSA lines. Basically they told the Northern RR owners you can be put under a nationalized system or you can do it yourselves. Enlightened self interest prevailed & a remarkably cooperative wartime management system was created.

Throughout the war, Southern RR owners jealously guarded their territory, maintaining crippling inefficiency in the name of profits.
Do you know if the Dixie Flyer ran direct from Nashville to Memphis in the WWI Era?
 
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