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The Attalla Special: Chattanooga, TN to Attalla, AL 3/29/2014

by Chris Guenzler

Dave Smetko got us tickets for both of the steam trips out of Chattanooga, one to Attalla, Alabama and the other to Oneida, Tennessee. Both would be new mileage for me. Once we both decided to fly into Atlanta, I used my Alaska Airlines miles for my flights via Portland to get there and American Airlines via Fort Worth to get home. I went on line to get Super Shuttle to get me to LAX. Two days before the trip Dave sent me this in an E-mail which he had received.

Note to March 29 & 30 Ticketholders:

Steam locomotives require continual effort to operate successfully. Winter shop work has been underway on Locomotive 630 since December. Repairs have been more extensive than expected, and therefore have taken longer than planned. We're working around the clock to prepare the locomotive for this weekend's excursions, but the possibility exists that the work will not be completed in time.

This message is to let you know that if 630 won't be able to operate this weekend, Norfolk Southern is keeping one of their twenty commemorative "Heritage Units" in reserve to lead the excursions. This locomotive is a General Electric ES44AC built in 2012 and represents the Southern Railway with its classic green, imitation aluminum, and gold paint scheme.

A phone call to Dave and I worked through Thursday before packing for a unique trip to Chattanooga to begin.

To Chattanooga 3/28/2014

I got up and did my morning chores then waited for Super Shuttle to arrive which he did at 3:45 AM and off we went. We picked up a large family in Anaheim at a hotel and then a man at his apartment in Fullerton before we headed to LAX getting me there two hours before my flight. I had TSA Pre Sceening so that was easy then repacked my bags at the gate.

Alaska Airlines 557 3/28/2014

I boarded this flight to Portland Oregon and flew above the clouds getting there reading Trains Magazine most of the way. We arrived into a rainy Portland on time and after a bathroom break I headed straight onto my next plane.

Alaska Airlines 752 3/28/2014

My clouds were the call of this flight to Atlanta but I read Railpace magazine and did Sudoku puzzles to pass the time. We arrived at a rainy Atlanta and I took the Air Train to the front of that airport to meet Dave.

The Drive to Chattanooga 3/28/2014

Dave showed up to pick me up and off through Friday night Atlanta traffic we went. The Garman took us off the freeway so we got to see a little bit of Atlanta plus a brand new streetcar line they are building. Back on the freeway we poked along and made a bathroom break near Kennesaw before the freeway finally opened up. We stopped at KFC for some dinner to go and made our way to the Microtel Inn and Suites in Chattanooga were we called it a night.

3/29/2014 We got up and I wrote the story before we went to MacDonald's for breakfast before we headed over to TVRM for the first of two trips we are taking.

The Attalla Special 3/29/2014

This train had a consist of: NS Southern 8099, NS 42 Tennessee, NS 46 New Jersey, NS 47 Louisiana, NS 28 Powhatan Arrow, NS 29 Powhatan Arrow, NS 26 New York, TVRM 50 Emporuim, TVRM 001, TVRM 007, TVRM 857, 3158 Traveler Fare, BMCX 899 Silver Lake, BMCX 873, and BMCX 6604.

The front of our train to Attalla in the rain.

Norfolk Southern has Southern Heritage unit 8099 on the point of our train for today and tomorrow.

A view of Grand Junction Station as passengers board the train.

Southern GP-30 2594.

Central of Georgia 0-4-0 349. Dave and I then boarded the train taking seats in Car 3 but I soon moved to CAR 2 for a big window. That was no problem as Car 2 was empty except for us. At 8:00 AM the train backed out of the Grand Junction Station onto the Knoxville mainline at CP Jersey. Once we got a green signal we took off for Attalla.

The train went by the Grand Junction Station and the Southern GP-30 as we headed west.

The train crossed the Chickamauga Creek before we reached deButts Yard in Chattanooga.

CN power leads a CSX freight on a train going out of deButts Yard.

The deButts Yard Tower.

Dave Smetko enjoying our trip to Attalla.

The train ran by C.T. Tower.


It then went by the connection to the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel where our convention trips all started from.

Looks like an old diner to me.

Crossing the Chattanooga Creek. We went through the long tunnel then went through Wauhatchie before we entered Georgia.

A horse farm in a slice of Georgia we cut through on this trip.

An old log cabin on this piece of Georgia property.

We went through Trenton in a rain storm.

A church in the town of Rising Fawn.

A stormy scene in Georgia.

The train crossed a stream.

Another stormy view this morning.

An interesting house and trees waiting for Spring before we crossed into Alabama.

More of a stormy Alabama morning.

A nice home against the mountain behind it.

The cows were out on a dark damp morning.

The train ran across another stream.

The mountains had unique clouds hanging over them.

A hunter's blind.

View of the north ridgeline.

Cows and another barn.

Another home surrounded by trees.

Another home on the little hill.

The white trees are Bradford Pear.

Alabama trees.

More views of the Alabama countryside.

White Pear trees dot the Alabama farm here.

The Fort Payne Depot.

A pond and a horse farm.

The weather improved as we closed in on Attalla.

Another Alabama view.

There is a Southern Caboose X561 in Porterville.

More of that unique Alabama countryside as we neared Attalla. The train arrived into Attalla thirty minutes early. I detrained and went off for pictures.

Our train at rest in Attalla.

Southern Heritage Unit 8099 in Attalla.

One last view of our train this morning. I went to Jacks for lunch. After lunch I met Dr. Wesly Ross an NRHS member and decided to photograph trains with him here in Attalla.

Our train heading south across the CSX line to get into the siding to back into the wye here at Attala. We relocated for our next pictures.

The train backing to the wye in Attalla.

NS 8711 North came through Attalla as we waited for our train.

A street view in Attalla.

NS 9382 South next came through Attalla.

NS 2531 South came through Attalla as the next rain shower arrived.

The main east-west drag in Attalla.

Our train backed into Attalla for boarding.

Our train ready to take us back to Chattanooga. We ran to Crudup and went into the siding for yet another southbound NS train. Once he went by we continued on our way north.

Two views of the Fort Payne Southern Railway station.

Southern Caboose X246 in Fort Payne.

At Battella we meet two freights while we sat in the siding here. Those trains were the BNSF 9685 South and NS 8962 South. I still had a pair of pictures to take.

The Trenton Southern Railway train station. From here we went all the way to deButts Yard where we changed crews and then went to Citico Jct where we wyed the train so it would be facing the right way for our trip tomorrow. We backed the rest of the way to the junction with the TVRM and then pulled forward back into the Grand Junction station where we ended our trip.

After the trip Dave and I drove to Beas Restuarant but arrived just after they closed. We next went to Lone Star and I had a great Flat Iron steak. We returned to our hotel for the night.

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