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On the Rathole Division - Page 1

On the Rathole Division

Action on Norfolk Southern's Busy Main Line

Page 1 of 4

1999 Steve Barry

This section is divided into four pages to provide quick loading

This section was set up on September 16, 1999.

Out of Cincinnati, Ohio, Norfolk Southern's busy north-south main line is the former Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific -- better known as the "Rathole" because of the many tunnels the line used to traverse. In recent decades, the Rathole has lost many of its tunnels due to track relocation, but now many spectacularly deep cuts are the signature of the line. This is a sampling of two days (plus a bit of a third) of action on the Rathole Division.

We first encounter the Rathole at King's Mountain, Kentucky, between Danville and Somerset on August 4, 1999. Norfolk Southern Dash 9-40CW 9185 leads a southbound train through one of the Rathole's massive cuts.


Quickly changing lenses, we get a wide-angle view of the same cut. The indentation in the rocks just to the left of the second auto rock indicates a place where one of the Rathole's tunnels used to be. It was replaced by this cut.


Moving a quarter-mile north at King's Mountain, we're now standing on the brink of the cut as NS SD60 6670 and GATX 7361 lead a southbound.


Once again, a wide-angle lens changes the entire perspective of this cut, dug during the line's relocation in the 1960s. The Southern Railway leased the CNO&TP from the city of Cincinnati, and the Rathole became a part of Norfolk Southern in the Southern/Norfolk & Western merger.


Just south of the highway oevrpass at King's Mountain the railroad goes from single track to double track. Norfolk Southern GP38AC 4131 holds at the end of double track with a northbound while NS Dash 9-40CW 9292, still in primer, leads a southbound.


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