Overview Chattanooga Railroads
In 1836 the Georgia legislature passed an act initiating the Western and
Atlantic Railway to connect the Augusta to Athens GA railway and the Savannah
to Macon GA railway to central Georgia and then to the Tennessee river
at Chattanooga to allow river access to the Mississippi and the west.
The W&A RR reached Chattanooga in 1851. The W & A RR is shown on the 1874
map above in light green.
Col. Whiteside, of Chattanooga, and Vernon K. Stevenson, of Nashville,
conceived a plan to build the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad to connect
the central portion of Tennessee to the southeast via the W&A. Col. Whiteside,
who was a member of the legislature, worked to get the state to charter
the N&C RR railroad in 1845. Through the combined efforts of both men,
the railroad was funded, constructed and completed to Bridgeport, AL in
February 1851. The freight was transported on the Tennessee River via
boat until the final track was completed through the mountains to Chattanooga
on February 11, 1854. No scrip is known on the N & C RR. The N & C is
shown in black on the map above.
The Memphis and Charleston Railroad under construction eastward from
Memphis reached Stevenson, AL, in early 1855. From Stevenson the trains
ran along the N&C RR to Chattanooga connecting east and west Tennessee. The
Memphis & Charleston is shown in blue on the map above.
The Hiwassee Railroad was chartered in 1850 to connect Knoxville to
Cleveland, TN. It was extended from Cleveland to Dalton, GA and extended
from Knoxville to Bristol and was then re-chartered the East Tennessee
and Georgia Railroad. Traffic from Chattanooga was routed through Dalton
on the A&W RR to Cleveland, Knoxville and Bristol, TN. A direct route
from Chattanooga to Cleveland was completed in September of 1859 once
the tunnel through Missionary Ridge was finished. The E TN & GA is shown
in orange on the map above. The E TN & GA was extended into VA and renamed
the E TN VA & GA RR which linked Richmond with Chattanooga.
The Wills Valley Railroad Company was chartered in Alabama in February
1852 to connect Gadsden, AL to the N&C RR to Nashville north and Chattanooga
east. By 1860 the Wills Valley RR completed 12 miles of track from Trenton,
GA to the N&C RR at Wauhatchie and then on the N&C to Chattanooga or Nashville.
The track was completed from Trenton to Gadsden and extended to Birmingham
and Meridian MS after the Civil War and re-chartered the Alabama and Chattanooga
Railroad. The Wills Valley RR and its extension the AL & Chattanooga is shown in
red on the map above. The AL & Chattanooga is not named on the map because it was
in bankruptcy in 1874 when the map was printed although it reopened thereafter.