B'ham line improvements

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The main to B'ham was redone sometime in the first half of the 20th Century, with fills and cuts reducing grades and curvature. A longtime Opelika resident with family land along the ROW west of town says redo was in 1928, but can't confirm this date. Does anyone know if 1928 is close to the mark? Was the line redone as one big project, or in pieces? By the way, much of the old ROW, including bridge abutments, can easily be found along the new line between Opelika and Gold Ridge, though there are some very territorial landowners who materialize, always armed, out of the woods.

-- David Harris (harrida@auburn.edu), April 12, 2001


The round concrete CofGa-style telephone box at Walco was still there when I used to ride down on my bike to watch J.T. Hernandez, Sammy and the rest of the crew on The Pusher.

This telephone box was on the north side of the mainline, near were the Sylacauga passing siding comes back in to the mainline, not near the Walco siding itself.

At some point it was rolled down the hill and laid in the weeds for years. Eventually it disappeared and I have not been able to find it.

I have not walked around in area between Walco and Shirtee Creek since the new water treatment plant was built, I think in the late 1980's. I wondered if construction for the plant disturbed and railroad related artifacts.

Before the new plant was build wastewater from Avondale Mills dying operations flowed into what was essentially a multi-acre settling pond. It flowed out under a trestle on the mainline and into Shirtee. It turned the whole creek a dark color, like Indigo had been dumped in. Guess those blue denim dyes were pretty strong!

Good luck walking the line after the weeds and mosquitoes have died back. You probably know that during WWII there was a settlement near the Walco sawmill plant called "Skeeter Flats," supposedly for good reason!

Ron. Wright

-- Ron. Wright (ron@cofg.org), August 21, 2002.

Today I and Greg Owings of Sylacauga found and walked a large portion of the original road bed across Shirtee Creek from the current CofG Alabama Division NS main. This is located just West of Sylacauga, Alabama between Walco and Odena. We were looking for what we're told is an original concrete call box located in the woods somewhere in the area. We did not find it, but we will go back again in the Fall/Winter when the heat, humidity, and bugs are not so persistant! This is just one of many relocations in this area (East Central Alabama) that I know there have been relocations. There are also relocations in Goodwater, East of Alexander City, Camp Hill, Opelika, etc.

-- Dale E. Burns (burns186@bellsouth.net), August 21, 2002.

Here is another URL to a terraserver page showing the original Savannah & Memphis RR's line to the Tallapoosa River before the river was back up by Martin Dam.

http://terraserver.homeadvisor.msn.com/image.asp? S=12&T=2&X=759&Y=4551&Z=16&W=2

-- Dale E. Burns (burns186@bellsouth.net), December 05, 2001.

In response to my last message, you may have noticed the URL to the Terraserver pages in Camp Hill wrapped around and were not usuable. Go back to the forum page and copy and paste the URL into your browser.

-- Dale E. Burns (burns186@bellsouth.net), December 05, 2001.

Here is a URL from Terraserver.com showing a topo map of the Camp Hill area. http://terraserver.homeadvisor.msn.com/image.asp? S=12&T=2&X=782&Y=4538&Z=16&W=2

Copy and past it into your web browser window. It show the old CofG rr bed Tim Carr is speaking of in the last message.Also here is the URL showing a actual picture overhead of the Camp Hill area.

http://terraserver.homeadvisor.msn.com/image.asp? S=12&T=1&X=782&Y=4537&Z=16&W=2

You can plainly see the old bed turning off of the existing main and heading Northwest behind Lyman Ward Military Academy.

-- Dale E. Burns (burns186@bellsouth.net), December 05, 2001.

When I was in school back in the early 1980's at Camp Hill, AL. Behind the school the reminants of the old railroad could be seen. The schools outdoor rifle range was built across the old right of way. Walk past the two lakes toward Sandy Creek the route was evident. At Sandy Creek the old trestle stumps still could be seen.

Tim Carr

-- Tim Carr (Tcarr22239@aol.com), December 05, 2001.

David, is the Dadeville, Al loop part of the Columbus to Birmingham line improvements? I was wondering why did the CofG have a duplicate route through this area. Thanks in advance for your help. Justin Dzan

-- Justin Dzan; Louisville, KY (jbdzan@aol.com), July 02, 2001.

David, My information is that the line was rebuilt in 1924-25, apparently as one project. Somewhere I have a copy of a long article from Railway Age about the project, but without that before me, can't cite you a specific date. Also, in the CofGa collection at the Ga. Historical Society in Savannah, there is an album of small photos covering the line's reconstruction. Larry Goolsby

-- Larry Goolsby (LGoolsby@aphsa.org), April 16, 2001.

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