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CSX'S Mountain Railroad: The Clinchfield

Spartanburg, SC to Erwin, TN

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This guide covers the southern half of the railroad, from Spartanburg to the ex-Clinchfield station in Erwin, Tennessee. The tour is complete from Erwin all the way to Shelbiana, Kentucky, and is accessible here. Much, indeed probably most, of the countryside through which the railroad flows is relentlessly hilly, and north of the Blue Ridge, it's mountainous. If you have not previously followed a Frograil tour, you are strongly advised to read thoroughly the Frograil Tour Guide. It will save you time, energy, and grief -- errors like forgetting to bring a compass, GPS, or not studying things ahead of time, for example, can be avoided. If you fail to plan ahead, I can guarantee you that you'll wish you had by the time your tour is finished.

Contents And Navigation:

Chris Denbow CRR loco gif About This Tour

Chris Denbow CRR loco gif Other Tours

Chris Denbow CRR loco gif Contributors

Chris Denbow CRR loco gif Contributors

Chris Denbow CRR loco gif Site Listing

Chris Denbow CRR loco gif The Tour

Chris Denbow CRR loco gif Supplemental And Back-Up Data

Contributors To This Tour

Clayton Notgrass. Full text and data from Bostic, North Carolina, to Shelbiana, Kentucky. Clayton has spent many days doing on-the-ground research for the tour, and almost as much time putting that research on paper. He has written this guide for you "Combat Railfans" -- those of you who grab a machete and a bucket of ice and cold water, and get out and see the real railroads in North America. This is not meant to be a video -- this is live action participation -- a full-contact sport.

Chris Starnes and Curtis Wininger helped Clayton Notgrass in the northern sections of this tour.

Greg Hale provided background information on the St. Paul and Dante areas.

Joe Hinson shared a day with Tony Hill, researching the line from Spartanburg to Bostic. Joe also faithfully acted as the official "recorder" for the tour. Tony transcribed Joe's notes to the text you see below.

Peter Furnee, CSX logo used on all of Frograil's CSX pages.

Train Gifs. All train gifs used within this tour are from Ed Bindler's train gifs site, which is here.

Tony Hill, retired Frograil Webmaster. Any use of the first person singular pronoun in this tour refers to Tony, unless otherwise indicated. Tony visited Marion - Camp II in October of 2008, and fleshed out a few new specific locations.


If you'd like to contribute to this, or any other tour, please contact me at, and let me know what you'd like to do. We'll work together: You supply the data/info, and I'll do the HTML stuff and upload it. You'll get a chance to review the fruits of your efforts before the general public sees the finished product, so you can let me have your corrections, additions and changes.

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Supplemental And Back-Up Data

General Background. The Clinchfield Railroad was a late comer to the railroad building scene. In fact, it was one of the last major railroads constructed in North America. The reason for the railroad was simple: To connect the midwest and southeast with the vast coal deposits in and around the Clinch River country of far western Virginia and eastern Kentucky, and secondarily, to act as a bridge route between the midwest and southeast. Building the railroad, however, was most definitely not simple.

Geography. The countryside, from the southern end at Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the yard in Bostic, North Carolina, is western piedmont -- rolling hills. As you go farther north, the countryside becomes more hilly, until you get north of Marion, and the railroad assaults the Blue Ridge via its famous "Loops". Interestingly, as you go up and down, down and up, and around and around, every time you see the railroad , it appears nice and flat, and curves are at a minimum. This is not an illusion -- the engineering of the railroad is superior to that of the highways in the area.

Between Spartanburg and Bostic, there are two main rivers, the Pacolet and Broad. Both are bridged by impressive structures, but unless you can get a helicopter or boat ride, the bridge at Pacolet cannot be seen. The span over the Broad is inaccessible also, but you can see it from the U.S. 221 highway bridge. As you glimpse to the west, you'll see the gigantic structure towering well over the tree tops. It is this brief glimpse of that monster that really brings home the engineering marvel that is the Clinchfield. North of Marion, you do get a chance to see the bridge carrying the railroad over the Catawba River.

Railfanning. This is a difficult piece of railroad to fan, for two main reasons. As is the case with most eastern railroading, there are trees along the right of way in the vast majority of the rural areas. You are therefore limited to mostly town shots and crossings. The second reason is that the builders of the railroad shunned the towns, and concentrated on building the best plant suited for the delivery of coal to the south. Their potential customers were not villages with a population of 200 souls. In the 31-miles between Spartanburg and Bostic, for example, there is only one town (Chesnee) that the railroad actually goes "through." In Alexander Mills and Forest City, the rails just kind of sneak by, ending up in Bostic, which is a small town out in the middle of nowhere, and the Clinchfield really even sneaks by Bostic itself to the west. Another factor contributing to the difficulty of fanning the line is that the line poles for the entire route are on the east side, although in late 2008 it appears that at least some of those poles have been removed.

Life Support. Most basics are available on U.S. 221, which is fairly close all the way from Spartanburg to just southeast of Spruce Pine. North of Spruce Pine itself, however, you're in some pretty lonesome country, and having adequate supplies of the basics (gas, food, warm clothes/blankets, etc.) is not an intellectual exercise. It is a necessity.

This guide was designed for those people with some time on their hands to seriously fan the old Clinchfield. That said, U.S. 221 roughly parallels the section of trackage covered below up to close to Spruce Pine, but it's primarily used only as a connector during the tour, as the railroad stubbornly refuses to follow any roads. The majority of the rest of the tour is done by back roads. However, most of the major areas noted in the guide are only 5-15 minutes away from U.S. 221 or another relatively important road.

Scanning. Joe Hinson and Tony are providing directions to almost every crossing and sighting location between Spartanburg and Bostic. Clayton Notgrass is giving us similar information from Bostic all the way to Shelbiana. However, you simply cannot see trains as you go from point to point, and you will therefore deprive yourself of the best part of railfanning -- the trains. A scanner with an excellent antenna is highly recommended.

Navigation. Clayton, Joe and Tony have tried to give you the rights, lefts and straight-aheads on this tour, but it just isn't as simple as it may sound. We can guarantee you that you'll make mistakes on this tour. It's so easy to make mistakes that it's almost impossible NOT to make at least one! Therefore, the need for an excellent overall map (DeLorme's Atlas and Gazetteer series is recommended), local maps (Marion, Erwin, Forest City, etc., are not Chicago, but they have NO STRAIGHT ROADS, and can be most difficult within which to drive and navigate), and the willingness to go up to a local and admit "Hey, Buddy, I'm lost! How do I get back to NC-xxx from here?" is paramount. This is not the A-Line bouncing along at 79 mph on the coastal plain of North Carolina -- this is the Clinchfield, and you are in the wilderness. Be wise and be alert. A compass, GPS, and cell phone with unlimited roaming might be real good ideas up here.

Photographic Considerations. Many crossings' photo ratings between Spartanburg and Bostic will be described in a standardized method as in the following example: NE3, SE1, SW4, NW4. This means that going clockwise from the northeast quadrant of the crossing, each quadrant is rated, with 1 being excellent, and 4 being non-existent. Note that this refers to the relative field of view, not the photogenic quality of the location (which is a personal decision). A quadrant with a rating of 1 is "wide open" for photos. Note that a 4 may mean that the quadrant is solid trees right up to the ROW, there's a severe drop-off trackside, there's a farmer's field snug against the tracks, etc. In the example given, you'll note that this is definitely a morning site, as both western quadrants are bad.

Between Marion and Camp II, a few other locations contributed by Tony have photo ratings, but Clayton uses a more subjective approach, as he is a much more serious photographer than Tony.

Also remember that you are in the upper piedmont and mountains, so a 2 here might only barely be a 3 on the coastal plane.

Mapwork: As mentioned in the previous paragraph, much of the tour is not easy if you have no detailed map for back country roads. I definitely recommend you get a DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer, study it before your trip, and copy pertinent pages for your field work. You can get information about DeLorme atlases in the Frograil Railfan Store.

WEBMASTER'S NOTE: I do not recommend or condone walking along the tracks, as this means trespassing and exposing yourself to danger. You will have to be creative, in some instances, to avoid trespassing while getting to the detailed locations included herein, but you will either have to be creative or not visit those sites. At no point in this tour guide, or in any other part of Frograil, is it recommended that you trespass or expose yourself to danger. If you are a fool and have a leg cut off (or worse), don't come crying to me: You have been warned. Trains are big, powerful, and often surprisingly quiet. Don't end up being a statistic.
Spartanburg, SC, to Erwin Station, KY -- Railfan sites:
Alphabetical Sequence Sequential Order:
South to North
------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------
North Carolina Spartanburg -- Krispy Kreme
Alexander Mills Spartanburg -- Memorial Drive
Altapass Spartanburg -- Clinchfield Yard MP Z276.6
Ashford Spartanburg -- Boundary Drive
Boonford Enola
Bostic -- North Enola -- KoSa Panorama
Bostic -- Bostic Road Chesnee -- South End
Bostic -- Bostic Yard Chesnee -- Agent's Station MP Z261.7
Brice Chesnee -- QC Terminal, SC
Camp II Brice, NC
Clinchfield Loops Overview Harris
Forbes Crossing Alexander Mills
Forest City -- US-74Business Forest City -- US-74Business
Glenwood Bostic -- Bostic Road
Green Mountain Bostic -- Bostic Yard MP Z245.1
Hankins -- Cannon Road Bostic -- North
Harris Logan -- Station
Huntdale Thermal
Kona Glenwood MP Z233.7
Logan -- Station Marion -- Jacktown Road
Marion Marion -- Moodytown RoadMP Z220.0
Marion -- Catawba Viaduct Marion -- Seagle Street
Marion -- Jacktown Road Marion
Marion -- Moodytown Road Marion -- Catawba Viaduct
Marion -- Seagle Street Hankins -- Cannon Road
Penland Sevier -- Ce Goode Road
Pitts Pitts
Poplar North Cove
North Cove Clinchfield Loops Overview
Sevier -- Ce Goode Road Ashford MP Z202.0
Spruce Pine Camp II
Thermal Altapass
Toecane Spruce Pine
Penland MP Z179.6
South Carolina Boonford
Chesnee -- Agent's Station Kona
Chesnee -- QC Terminal Toecane
Chesnee -- South End Forbes Crossing
Enola Green Mountain MP ~Z160.0
Enola -- KoSa Panorama Huntdale
Spartanburg -- Boundary Drive Poplar , North Carolina
Spartanburg -- Clinchfield Yard Unaka Springs/Chestoa, TN MP Z140.0
Spartanburg -- Krispy Kreme Erwin -- South End
Spartanburg -- Memorial Drive Erwin -- Southeast Yard Office
Erwin -- Station MP ~Z135.5
Boone Station
Boones Creek -- Viaduct Area
Erwin -- Diesel Shop Area
Unaka Springs/Chestoa

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The Tour

This text from Joe Hinson and Tony Hill.

Spartanburg -- ex-Krispy Kreme. There is a reason for starting this tour in a now-defunct donut shop. Besides having had yummy donuts, the little shop has some railroad importance. There are several ways to get to this location, but Tony will take you from the intersection of I-85 and SC-9 north of the city. Go south on SC-9, which will become Church Street in the city. In the heart of the city, just before crossing the NS Piedmont Division main line (The Crescent Route), you'll see the small donut shop on your left (east.). The sign is bigger than the building, Tony thinks, and is still on the building even tho the donut shop has closed. If you cross the tracks and see the Southern station on your right (now a tourist-type agency), you've gone too far.

The good news is that the Krispy Kreme is now open in a nice, larger brick building across Church Street from the original location. Thanks to Joe Hinson for this update, as of late 2005.

Just northeast of this place is where the Clinchfield yard is, and we'll go there shortly. However, Spartanburg has solved it's railroad congestion problems with a pretty unique approach. The Clinchfield ended at it's yard, but needed connections with the Southern (one main and one secondary main), Piedmont and Northern (an interurban line to Greenville), and the Charleston and Western Carolina (later the ACL). These were all important connections, and they all ended up in one place -- about 300-400 yards southeast of where you're sitting. It was a mess. Here are the steps taken: The Southern secondary main from Columbia was routed further west, and now joins the Norfolk Southern main at Beaumont interlocking (see the Crescent Route tour for more details). A tunnel was constructed just south of the Clinchfield yard, from a point named "Magnolia", under the Southern, and then back to daylight at a wye connecting the CRR, P&N and CWC. As you sit and munch your artery-clogging goodies, the tunnel is right under you -- or at least it was, until they moved the shop across the street. [Joe and Tony would like to thank Bob Loehne for providing a heads up about the Krispy Kreme location].

The logical place to start the tour is at the wye itself, but it is inaccessible legally, and the area looks pretty unpleasant. As far as the south end of the tunnel is concerned, you can glean a little more info by clicking here, and going to the Spartanburg -- Southern Station entry.

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Spartanburg -- Memorial Drive. The Krispy Kreme is at the corner of Church and Memorial Drive. After finishing off 15-20 donuts, go northwest on Memorial. You will very shortly notice an open area on your right, with several sets of tracks east of that area. There is a curb cut into the area. Probably, this used to be posted, but is not now, for some reason. Tony thinks if you stayed well back from the tracks, you'd be OK, but you probably don't want to spend any extended time here. Further, the sun will be in your face for much of the day, because you're facing southeast.

The track in front of you is the CSX main line curving down and southwest to the tunnel. The tracks beyond that are used both by the yard and for interchange with the Norfolk Southern Piedmont Division, which is just beyond the trees beyond those tracks. Continue northwest on Memorial.

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Spartanburg -- Clinchfield Yard. Less than a block from the previous location, you can take a right to go under the tracks. This is the southern yard lead for the yard itself. If you go under the tracks, and take an immediate left, it'll take you up to the tracks, where you will often see engines. You will also see lots of NO TRESPASSING signs, so this is, unfortunately, not a railfan location. However, all is not lost. Instead of turning onto East Cleveland Street to go under the tracks, go straight thru on Memorial, until it curves 90° to the west (left). Memorial becomes Evins Street at this point. Park and walk down Evins towards the tracks. Unless you are blocked by parked rail cars, you'll have a good view to the north northwest., and you'll probably be able to get goodies coming into the yard. Because you're looking in a pretty northerly direction, even though you're on the west side of the tracks, you will probably not do too badly getting pix.

You will note that Evins used to go across the yard and continue on. You can go under the tracks on Cleveland, and turn left at the second street onto Horseshoe Street [NOTE WELL: Horseshoe and Evins are mis-labeled on mapQuest at 100 meter resolution. Further, Clayton Notgrass had difficulty finding his way around this area, so study it, and take your time -- our instructions in the next sentences may not be 100% correct. I'd be glad to have your input.] The next block after turning on to Horseshoe is Evins, It ends, however, at the northern end of the yard office, and is very effectively posted. We think, however, that if you have a target of opportunity (little artillery talk there, folks), you can park, walk towards the posted area, and get a pretty good shot from off-property. You do not want to linger in this neighborhood, because it looks pretty rough. [NOTE: Always, whenever possible, railfan with at least one male friend.]

The biggest problem throughout the area, however is that this is a typical mountain-type railroad yard. It's long and skinny, so you will very often have your view obscured by intervening parked rail cars. Frankly, it's a wonder that CSX can get by with a yard this small (4-5 tracks, total, including the main track).

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Spartanburg -- Boundary Drive. Some of the streets in this area are a little confusing, and are not necessarily as marked on mapQuest. Therefore, go under the NS tracks via the N. Dean Street underpass. This is a narrow, sharp structure, so be careful. Take a left on East Daniel Morgan Avenue and then take the first real left onto North Pine Street. Go under the NS again, and the second street to the right is Isom Street.

[Here is Clayton's recommendation to get from south of the yard on Evins to Isom: If you're on Evins Street and the railroad is behind you, head towards Horseshoe Street and turn right. Follow Horseshoe to a left onto East Cleveland, which dead ends at Pine Street. Take a left and go to the next traffic light, which is the first traffic light from Cleveland.]

If you go under the CSX, you've gone too far. Take your right onto Isom, and continue parallel to the southeast side of the yard until you get to Boundary Drive. Take a left at Boundary, go over the bridge over the tracks, and take an immediate right onto Archer Road. There is a small gravel parking area immediately to your right, across from Ike's Corner Grill.

Walk back to Boundary and onto the bridge itself. There is a wide concrete sidewalk on each side of Boundary, so you are reasonably safe, but the street is very busy, and you need to be alert at all times. This is not a place for a group of fans or for young children. There are chain link fences on both sides, so photos won't be worth a hoot, but you are looking down at the guts of a busy yard. With only 4-5 tracks, and some 20 trains a day (not including yard work and any possible transfer or local work, something is usually happening. Engines will normally be south of you, but again, photography is poor here, so that's not an issue. This is a fun place to watch a railroad at work. A portable scanner would add to the enjoyment.

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Enola. Surprisingly, this pretty much does it for Spartanburg itself. We're going to be heading out into the countryside now, and some comments are in order. The countryside is rolling hills and curves all the way to Bostic, and if you look at a map, you would assume that few folks would live along the route. You would be mistaken. While there are areas of some remoteness, a fairly steady stream of homes line most of the roads along here. We're not talking about congestion by any means, but you cannot relax your alertness while driving. The roads may be narrow and curvy and hilly, but they are hardly empty. Don't attempt to drive, read a map, adjust your scanner and take notes all at the same time. You cannot do it safely.

We will detail many crossings between here and Bostic, but most will not be particularly noteworthy. We're detailing them because one who wants to really check out the Clinchfield will want to visit all or most of them. Also, if your scanner alerts you to a nearby train, these locations will enable you to get a shot or two, even if O. Winston Link might not be proud of the result. Remember that this railroad was built to superior engineering standards. There are few hogback hills, as the builders made extensive use of cuts and fills. Therefore, at-grade crossings are relatively rare, compared to overpasses with the rails far below in a deep cut. The constant rows of trees on either side of these cuts make shadows a nightmare for the photographer. Further, these cutting and filling methods eliminated a lot of the inherent curvature in the area, making most crossings, either at-grade or not, to be over straight stretches of track with little curvature. To Tony, that's just fine, but Joe likes the curves. Tony takes pictures; he wants to be a photographer. So, off we go.

Continue along Archer Road for some 2 miles until you get to the Floyd Road stop sign. Take a right onto Floyd, and continue on to the obvious overpass of the tracks. There is parking there. The view is a decent straight on shot. Continue southeast on Floyd, and go straight where Floyd Road Extension veers off to the right. At the Skylyn Drive stop light, turn left and go for about 2 miles to a left onto Police Club Road. This is a very curvaceous, narrow lane. Slow down. The kudzu will bury you in about 20 minutes of growth if you run off the road here -- you'll never be seen again! The overpass is over a very narrow, deep cut, and worth the drive only if you're chasing a train.

[WARNING: This is the first encounter you'll have with an ugly feature of this tour. The bridge (overpass) itself is a wooden deck bridge rated at a total of 3 tons. Betsy II, my full-sized conversion van, weighs almost 7,000 pounds, so 3 tons is not a lot. If you're driving a heavy vehicle, pay attention to the notices about very low weight rating bridges in this tour guide.]

Backtrack down to Skylyn Drive, take a left and go on Skylyn for about one mile, and then veer left onto Gossett Road. You'll reach another overpass, which is also rather nondescript, and will continue on until your next right, which is the Frontage Road for I-85. Take the Frontage Road, but then an immediate right onto Enola Station Road. After about a mile, this narrow, twisting road will deposit you at a real, honest-to-goodness at-grade crossing.

With this location, we begin a method of describing photo opportunity quality at crossings. These are rated from 1-4, with 1 being excellent, and 4 being nonexistent. Note that the ratings are based on the quality of the photographic field, e.g. wide open, tight, nonexistent, etc., and not the photogenic quality of the location. A photographer would find that a personal decision. All crossings begin with the northeast quadrant, and go around the compass clockwise. The Enola crossing is rated as NE3, SE2,SW3, NW2, so it would probably be about average. Not bad for this part of the countryside.

It is hard to imagine that this tiny area once supported a station. With I-85 just a few miles away, you have to pause to realize that this place was where Aunt Lizzie's new wood cook stove from Sears was delivered. Aunt Lizzie and Uncle Hiram came down to the "team track" with their horse or mule and wagon and carted the stove off to the house. This little place was the door to the world for this part of the county. One has to wonder what Aunt Lizzie would think of the "talking" defect detector at MP Z271.0 (less than 100' from the crossing) which you're listening to on your scanner.

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Enola -- KoSa Panorama. Drive back to the Frontage Road, which may locally be referred to as Conway Black Road. Take a right, drive past the quaint little country church, and parallel I-85 to the tracks. Park before the tracks, as this is another 3-ton-limit wood deck bridge. Tony will try to describe the scene, based on his faulty memory and Joe's better notes. The tracks run under the wooden deck bridge and then leap out over the broad I-85. On the other side of the interstate is a very large industrial facility owned by KoSa (more on KoSa below). There are perhaps 2 dozen LO's and tank cars on spurs on either side of the main, and what appears to be an industrial siding, also. There is a slight curve in the rear of this scene. Joe thinks it's a great photo location, and Tony must say it is a most pleasant one. There are two cautions, however. You can get engrossed in the scene, and forget that Conway Black is an active road, so stay alert to road traffic, especially on a Sunday morning. Also, because of your interest in the scene, and the noise from I-85, you can have a northbound sneak up on you so fast you won't believe it. Do not, under any circumstances, walk down below on the tracks.

In the beginning, there was a large American synthetic fiber company named "Celanese", which was bought out by Hëchst of Germany. Hëchst was subsequently bought out by a combination of Koch of Germany and another firm in Europe (from France or Switzerland, Tony thinks), whose first name began with "Sa"; hence the KoSa moniker. To Tony, the really interesting thing is that the international headquarters for this huge (10,000 employees) company is Houston, Texas. For a nasty, old, ugly chemical company, the environmentalists must have a great deal of respect for KoSa. He has seen three of their plants, and they are immaculate. No junk, no stink, everything is so neat it looks like a model. The landscaping is up to botanical garden standards. They also consume one heck of a lot of raw materials, which are shipped largely by rail.

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We now begin what is probably the most difficult and frustrating part of this tour: The pursuit of the Pacolet River Bridge. [Webmaster's Note: Read this part of the tour carefully before you drive merrily onward, or you might be upset at the outcome.] Double back to Gossett Road, take a right, and cross I-85. There is life support here. If you get a detailed map (deLorme, USGS, mapQuest, or maybe an old county map), you'll notice that there are two potential access roads to the bridge. To save you some time and trouble, however, let us just tell you that you cannot get there via road. If you go right off Gossett to Green River Road, and then right on Old Griffin Road, and on towards the railroad, you are stopped well short of your goal by a solid gate and NO TRESPASSING notice. There is no other road remotely close to the bridge on the west side. Therefore, we suggest you take Green River Road, and just continue on to a junction with U.S. 221, shortly before the latter goes up and over the reservoir.

Take a right and go over the reservoir, and here beware of following mapQuest. If you have mapQuest on the screen or printed out, you know that you can take a right at Mayo Road (forget Hughey and Hughes roads -- they do not exist), and then take a right on Ben Bonner Road, which goes all the way to a crossing of the CSX just about 1/2 mile north of the bridge. Well, you can take a right on Mayo, and take another on Ben Bonner, but you will suddenly come to a very well-manicured, very well posted entrance to a private area which announces, in so many pleasant words, that if you drive one foot further, you will be shot, and your carcass will be left for the resident dingoes, or words to that effect. Alas, from east or west, the Pacolet Bridge is accessible only by helicopter (really, really expensive), on foot (trespassing, dangerous and dumb), or by kayak (remember, you're below the dam here. Joe and Tony were bummed out, but continued on!

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Because you cannot get to the Pacolet River Bridge, we'll pick up the tour back at the Conway Black Road KoSa site. Backtrack to Gossett Road, and go north over I-85. Continue on for some 2 miles, and there will be a sort of wye. Probably the easiest way to continue the tour is to bear left, and you come to U.S. 221 in about a mile. [Webmaster's note: If you want to closely research the Clinchfield, continue the tour, but if time is an issue, just continue north on U.S. 221 to Chesnee.] Take a right and go over the reservoir. After the overpass of the railroad (not a railfan site), take an almost immediate left onto Davis Trading Post Road. In a mile you'll come to an above average at-grade crossing. NE2, SE2, SW2, NW2.

Go back to U.S. 221, take a left, and go north until you get to Mayo Road. Then, go south until you get to Country Haven Drive, take a right, and then a fairly quick left onto Emory Road. Emory goes across the tracks on an overpass, with very little parking available, and the views are not inspiring. Get back to Mayo Road, and take a left to go back north to U.S. 221. Cross U.S. 221 onto Hub Greer Road and an at-grade crossing after a short drive. NE3, SE2, SW2, NW2.

Continue west on Hub Greer Road to a right on Davis Trading Post Road. Note that mapQuest shows Huskey Road going north from Hub Greer, but that is not the case. You must go on to Davis Trading Post Road. It will take you to a T-intersection, and you should turn right onto Buck Creek Road. Interestingly, you'll see Huskey come in from the south after about a half mile or so. Your next turn will be right onto Ezell, which will take you north to a typical deep, narrow overpass. Less than a mile after the tracks, take a left on Revels Road and go to an at-grade crossing. Ofall the crossings along this section of the Clinchfield, this is one of the most open, at NE1, SE1, SW3, NW1. While one might argue the photogenic value of the location, you should be able to get some very nice pix from this location.

To continue, backtrack on Revels Road and then turn left to head northeast on Ezell Road. At U.S. 221, turn left to head north, but you'll only go a short period until you need to turn left onto Overhead Bridge Road. This will take you, after about a half mile, to another, typical overpass. Turn left onto Mossburg Road, or it you miss that one (easy to do), take a left onto Cartee Drive. Both will take you to U.S. 221. Take another left and go due north on U.S. 221 for about a mile, and take a left on Loft Burnett Road. This will wind down to an at-grade crossing. The views are quite good from the north, but lousy from the south, so the sun will mostly be in your face.

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Chesnee -- South End. Back-track to U.S. 221, and head north into Chesnee. You'll pass a McDonalds on the left, and then a shopping area with a big Bi-Lo supermarket. Turn into the parking lot of the Bi-Lo, and go to the extreme southwest corner and park at the end of the lot at the edge of the trees and shrubs. You'll be able to see, even in the summer, thru a gap in the trees, a heavy signal mast. Walk thru the gap in the trees towards the tracks. This is the south end of the Chesnee siding, and the switch itself is about 100 feet north. Along the eastern edge of the tracks is a 4-wheeler ORV trail, which appears to be off railroad property, and should give you OK photo access. (This is a good place to use the weed eater or weed whacker you wisely brought along with you on this tour.) Also, there is a grassy area between the end of the parking lot and the trees, with the same trail going further north. It should give some access to the rails in the area of the switch.

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Chesnee -- Agent's Station. On U.S. 221, from the south end of the siding north to the agent's office, there are two roads which will get you trackside. The first is Pickens, and may be unmarked. You'll know it because it has a major chain link fence on its north side. The crossing itself is one of those awful straight up/straight down jobbers, and we don't recommend the site, and we certainly don't recommend driving over the crossing. The next crossing is Manning Street, and is OK, but the street is very busy, and you're almost at a much better location. From Manning Street, go north on the east side of the tracks via Florida Street to East Cherokee Street, and take a left. The Clinchfield's agent's office is in the northeast quadrant of the crossing.

This, and both Joe and Tony agree on it, is the best railfanning location between Spartanburg and Bostic. Here's why: There is plenty of good photo access, for the most part, and parking is plentiful. There is plenty of life-support close by. As a real bonus, there is a very nice little town park adjoining the east side of the agent's parking area. There are picnic tables, benches, nice green grass, and lots of room for the kids to run around. Of course, if you want to read a book or the paper or fire up your lap top between trains, this is a place. Because of blowing for crossings, you'll have no trouble with trains sneaking up on you. Old-fashioned railfans without scanners will be comfy here.

On the southeast quadrant are 2 spur tracks. When we were there, both were stuffed with LO's. We suspect this is storage-in-transit for (probably) KoSa. From the agent's station, go back east on U.S. 221, and take a left on North Carolina Avenue to go north. Take your first left after about 1/2 mile, and go over the ho-hum crossing. Take your first right after the crossing and go north on Ohio Street to a T with West Oconee Street. You are very close to the tracks on Ohio, but you are blocked by trees. Take a right on Oconee, and go over the overpass. The overpass is another 3-ton limit bridge and it's also narrow. However, it does afford a decent view of northbounds. Continue east on Oconee, until you reach Old Stage Road, where you'll take a left to go north, and leave Chesnee.

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Chesnee -- QC Terminal. We do have one more site to detail in the Chesnee area, however.Old Stage Road will T with Studebaker Road, and you need to turn left to go to the crossing. The crossing is so-so (NE3, SE2, SW3, NW1), but the northwest quadrant is the home of a Quality Carriers bulk distribution terminal. When the over-the-road local is switching this location, moving LO's of pellets in and tanks of goodness knows what out, etc, this would be an interesting place to watch the action. Stay out of the terminal, as the road is truly execrable, and the truck traffic is daunting.

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Brice. Double back to U.S. 221, and take a left to continue north. After less than half a mile, mapQuest shows Pye Road going off to the left, towards the tracks. This road has been removed/eliminated. Continue on U.S. 221 to Island Ford Road, which is immediately past a poker parlor (Question: How do you know you're near the North Carolina border? Answer: All the boarded up, brand new-looking poker parlors.) Island Ford will take you past the bulldozed end of Pye Road and on to the tracks. This is a pretty decent crossing, at NE2, SE2, SW3, NW2. Beyond here, once again, mapQuest is incorrect. Continue west on Island Ford Road for just a very short while and take a right on a (probably) unmarked road. This dirt road is not on mapQuest, and will become a paved road as soon as you're in North Carolina. Continuing north, the road will be joined by Hicks Grove (Church?) Road, and will take that name. Both mapQuest and deLorme note this locale as Brice.

You will pass Craig Road on your right, and you'll want to be on the lookout for a railroad overpass. Park past the overpass, and walk back to it (parking is tight, so take your time and get a good, safe spot). On the south side of the overpass, you can see the junction which takes the Duke spur east to a power plant on the Cleveland/Rutherfordton County line. This is a scanner location, because the overpass bridge has no safe area, and you cannot see the signal aspects in either direction. If you know there's a northbound approaching, or something coming out of the spur, you can stand on the southeast quadrant of the overpass/rails. Just east of the bridge is a steep, grassy area which will give you a nice photo op. Be careful here, however, because the bridge abutment is covered in brush and grass, and you might not notice that it's virtually 90° straight down. It is dangerous. Don't get excited about taking a picture, and lose track of the precariousness of your perch.

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Continue east beyond the overpass, and take a left at U.S. 221. You will shortly cross the Broad River. If traffic permits (be careful, the road is quite busy), slow waaaaaay down as you go over the river and look to the left (west). Even in summer, you'll see the massive Broad River bridge the Clinchfield uses to span the entire river valley. Other than trespassing (by walking over a mile up from Brice Junction), Tony knows of no way to get to the bridge.

Continue up U.S. 221 for several miles, and take a left on Hogan Road. Note that this road is called Buck Collins Road on the east side of the highway. After 2-3 miles, you'll come to an overpass, and you'll want to drive over the overpass and park. The bridge itself is interesting, in that it is quite broadly curved. Further, there is wide area next to the railings, so it is pretty safe, as far as any bridge is concerned. Finally, there is no fencing on top of the rails. Like most such overpasses, the railroad is in a fairly deep, narrow cut, but there's a nice curve up from the south. If you're careful, you can probably avoid the power line on the east side, and get some nice shots here. A scanner would help, because trains can be very quiet. This is MP Z257.

Harris. As you continue past the overpass on Hogan, the road turns northerly, and heads for the crossroads of Harris. Including the past overpass, there are three photo locations in the area, so it's an interesting chase location. However, if the trains are going at track speed, you will have difficulty keeping up with them, so drive sensibly. The second site isfurther up the road, and is an at-grade crossing. NE2, SE3, SW1, NW2.While this is a little better than an average location, the area is a tight, and there is no parking off the road. Instead, a better location is just further on at Harris itself. Harris has an at-grade crossing which is quire open with plenty of parking, also. NE1, SE1, SW1, NW3. The railroad has a curve from the north, which adds to the photogenic appeal.

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Continue straight on Hogan Road, which will shortly become Jack McKinney Road, which will take you all the way to a stop sign at U.S. 221. Take a left and go northwest on U.S. 221, which is beginning a much more westerly bent which will take it to the city of Rutherfordton, while the railroad continues its more northerly bent. After about a mile, take a right on Henson Road. In about 2 miles, you'll come to junction with Doggett Grove Road. By taking a right, you can get over to the tracks quickly, but the crossing is unremarkable.Continue the tour by taking a left on Doggett Grove Road and go north. You'll come to a crossing in a couple of miles. This crossing is also rather nondescript, but the view is decent from the north.

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Alexander Mills. After another mile, take a left on Doggett Road (not Doggett Grove Road), and you'll be at yet another crossing. This one is quite poor for photos, so backtrack on Doggett to a T at U.S. 221Alternate. Take a left and head north into Alexander Mills. At the south side of the small town, just past Fish Camp Road, you'll see the remains of a railroad on the east side of the highway. This was the Southern's Marion - Blacksburg (SC) (and beyond) line, and is now a hiking trail, at least in this area. As you go north, you'll see an obvious overpass ahead, and a foot bridge over the Clinchfield, via what used to be the Southern line. Park at the billboard, and there is a path up to the hiking trail. You can walk out over the Clinchfield overpass, but the views to the south are worthless, because of the highway. The views to the north aren't bad, however, even though this is another deep, narrow cut.

[NOTE: Immediately north of this location, the ex-Southern tracks become active at an industrial facility, and this is now apparently part of the Thermal Belt Railway.]

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Backtrack south on U.S. 221 Alternate to Mt. Pleasant Church Road (don't trust maps here, use your eyeballs), and take a left. This will take you to a point where you can turn left onto Pine Street Extension. If you're pressed for time, you can go straight on Mt. Pleasant Church Road all the way to Old Caroleen Road. However, if a train is imminent, you've got to get over to this location. This is a crossing, and you'll perhaps note a unique way to unload a covered hopper (LO) here. At this point, it's probably simpler to continue west on Pine Street all the way to U.S. 221 Alternate (life support here, folks), and get on the interstate-like US-74 eastbound. You'll go over the Clinchfield (not a railfan location, obviously), and will want to take the first exit at Old Caroleen Road.

Go northwest on Old Caroleen Road towards downtown Forest City, and you'll reach an overpass, which is deep and narrow. Also, the road is busy, so this is really not a railfan location. Therefore, backtrack southeast from the overpass to Riverside Drive and take a left to go north. You'll closely parallel the tracks through here, but you'll not see any trains because of the deep cut and trees. All is not lost, however, as you'll soon see a better place to see some trains.

Forest City -- US-74 Business. Riverside Drive will end at US-74 Business, and you'll take a left which will shortly take you under the Clinchfield overpass. Immediately past the underpass, take a right and go up to the tracks, but stay out of the industrial facility straight ahead. There are excellent views from the west here, so this is an afternoon location. Note that as you leave the trackside location west of the tracks, there are Bradford pears, dogwoods, etc., between the highway and the railroad bridge. Tony thinks that an early spring afternoon shot here would be super. Full summer has too much vegetation, and winter would be somewhat stark, but spring might just be perfect. Backtrack down to US-74 Business, and go east across the Second Broad River, and continue east to a left on Bostic/Sunshine Highway. We are now on our way to Bostic.

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Bostic -- Bostic Road. As you come into the teeming metropolis of Bostic, you'll reach an intersection with East Church Street coming in from the right. Take a left here, and go west on what will become Bostic Road heading towards the middle of Forest City. You'll notice the remnants of tracks coming in from your right -- this the is ex-SAL heading on towards Spindale and Rutherfordton. Park off to the right before the Clinchfield overpass, and you'll be treated to a typical tight, deep overpass. However, if you'll wander southeast from the overpass, there is a rudimentary pathway down towards the tracks. In late fall, winter and early spring, you can get a nice picture here, although when Joe and Tony were there, there was a downed pine tree that pretty much obscured the view. Stay away from the overpass itself, as it is narrow, and there is a lot of fast traffic over it.

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Bostic -- Bostic Yard. Bostic is in the middle of nowhere, according to some folks, and the rail lines leading in and out of it are likewise invisible. Baloney.Here, the ex-Clinchfield comes down from Tennessee. Bostic has always been, and continues to be, a crew change point for the ex-Clinchfield trains going on further south to Spartanburg. Also, a very important connection is made here with the CSX (ex-SAL) from Hamlet, via Monroe and Charlotte. From Bostic, virtually any CSX point in southern North Carolina, and all of South Carolina, can be reached, including Hamlet, Columbia, Charleston and Greenwood.

Retrace your drive to the village of Bostic, and turn left onto the Bostic/Sunshine Highway. Note the SAL station and Family Lines Caboose at the southeast quadrant of the corner. Just over the tracks take your first left and go northwest on Pearidge Road. As you begin to leave Bostic, there is a sign inviting one and all to the Bostic CSX yard (well, not really inviting, but why else do they put a sign out in the middle of nowhere?). Take the left, and drive towards the yard on Bostic Yard Road. As you get towards the yard, you'll see another sign for the yard on your left. Take this left and enter the yard.

Stop at the yard office to get permission to drive to the south end of the yard and park well back from the tracks and service road. If you'll stay way, way back from the tracks, you'll probably be OK. This is definitely AM photo country, and you'll have to find a different spot for PM shots. In my humble opinion, Bostic may be the home of the friendliest railroaders on the entire CSX system.

This location's description was updated by Charles Bogard.

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This text from Bostic Yard northward is thanks to the hard work of Clayton Notgrass. Other contributors will be identified at specific locations.

Clayton's Introduction Although the Clinchfield/CSX Blue Ridge Subdivision is a north/south railroad, for the majority of this tour we will be traveling northwest, generally speaking. When we get past Bostic Yard, we will be making several course changes to follow the railroad. Be advised -- in many places on the south end of the CRR, you will be "in the middle of nowhere." Come prepared.Also, Charles Bogard in late 2008 reported that his GPS system seriously let him down in the mountains. Do your map work before you get to Bostic -- relying on a GPS may work fine in Charlotte, but the mountains are a different story.

Also, once we get past Bostic, the roads are mountainous (some might even say treacherous). Go too fast, get too cocky or lazy, watch the railroad rather than the road, and you might end up off the side of the mountain. The writers of this tour are not responsible for your irresponsibility. Be wise and this tour will get you there and back again safely. It has for me (Clayton) many times. Also, if you have a partner or two with you make sure they either don't get carsick or have taken appropriate medications beforehand. They might need them! If they aren't prepared, it could be a miserable trip for all! Now that we've taken care of "housekeeping," let's get underway.

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Bostic -- North. After checking out Bostic Yard, head back out to Pea Ridge Road and turn left. Travel about a mile and you'll see Collins Road on your left. Take it, travel about another mile and turn left onto Whitesides Road. Travel another mile, or so, and you'll come to a CSX grade crossing. (GPS, 35.402396,-81.87104) Google Map) Head over the crossing to the stop sign and turn right on Hudlow Road. For a while, many highlights of this tour will be various crossings/bridges where you can shoot trains that you may be chasing or following on the scanner. What that means is that you'll have to turn off the main road, head to the bridge/crossing, turn around and come back to the main road (much like Spartanburg to Bostic). From here to Box Creek Road (Thermal) it will be like that, just so you know. If pressed for time, stay on Hudlow Road until you get to Box Creek. If not, continue reading, and follow the tour.

Travel on Hudlow Road until you come to the intersection with US-64. Turn right on US-64 and travel for about a mile and you will go across an overpass over CSX immediately after passing by a lumber company on the right.

Logan -- Station. This place doesn't afford much of a shot, so you can turn around and head back to the intersection with Hudlow Road and turn right to continue on Hudlow Road. However, here is a short side trip that might prove interesting. The point at which US-64 goes over the tracks is Logan, and there used to be a station here (believe it or not). If you continue north on US-64, take a right after about 2 miles onto Pea Ridge Road. Note that DeLorme calls this road Pine Mountain, which doesn't start until several miles to the southeast of US-64. After less than a mile, look on the left for farm, and you'll see the station, which has obviously been moved here in years gone by.

Frograil would like to thank Chuck Watson for the addition of this location to the tour. It's doubtful that very many fans, even those very familiar with the railroad, have ever seen this station.

Bostic -- North (Continued) [NOTE: There's a gas station at the intersection of Hudlow and US-64. There won't be one for another 10-20 miles.] Travel around 3 miles and you'll spot Hollow Inn Road on your left. Don't turn here, but take the next right onto Boy Scout Road (marked by the Piedmont Scout sign). Travel down Boy Scout Road about a mile and you'll come to a grade crossing at Dairy Farm Signal [MP Z238.0].

Turn around and head back up to Hudlow and turn right. You can take an immediate right to travel down Long Leaf Lane, but it probably won't be worth the drive because it will put you not far from where you just were on Boy Scout Road. Therefore, continue down Hudlow Road and soon you will see signs warning of a speed decrease. Right after the 35 mph sign, turn right onto Centennial Drive to head to a pretty neat grade crossing not far from where the tracks cross over the river on a small bridge. Head back up to Hudlow Road and turn right. You're now headed towards Thermal.

coal car coal car

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Thermal. Not too far past Centennial Drive, you'll spot Box Creek Road on your right. Go ahead and turn right on this pretty well maintained gravel road. You'll travel about a mile, winding around and eventually heading down to the tracks. The road goes over a crossing, but you want to keep going around the left-hand curve to parallel Thermal siding because going over the rails takes you onto private property. Thermal is one of two totally tangent sidings on the old CRR -- you can see both north- and southbound signals from either end. This seems to be a nice place for parking and photography.

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Glenwood. Continue on Box Creek Road and you'll soon come out on U.S. 221. Turn right to go north on U.S. 221 and travel for about a mile. Turn right on Polly Spouts Road, and soon you'll turn right again onto Rhomtown Road (NC-1782 -- there was no sign here marking the road) to get to a grade crossing. Head back out to Polly Spouts Road and turn right to continue. Soon you'll pass under an old Southern line, but keep going until you get back to U.S. 221. Turn right to continue north. Not far from here you'll see Mud Cut Loop. Turn right on Mud Cut Loop and go straight through the stop sign at the intersection with Old Highway 221. Now you are near Fero, and you'll cross the CSX at two grade crossings on Mud Cut Loop. Continue to the stop sign and turn right onto Old Highway 221 to head down into the small town of Glenwood.

Glenwood is one of those places where if you blink, you'll miss it. There's a school, a church, and a gas station -- all the necessities, but not much else (Note: This station didn't take credit cards or checks, so if you need gas, continue down Old Highway 221 for a half-mile and you'll come to U.S. 221. Turn right onto U.S. 221 to go north, and a couple of gas stations will appear. Come back to Old Highway 221 to continue the tour).

After passing by the school, take a right (left if coming from the other gas stations) onto Glenwood Road (which wasn't marked). You'll soon see Hunstville Road, and you can turn right on Hunstville Road to get to a crossing. Head back to Glenwood Road, turn left at the stop sign, and take an immediate right onto Old Glenwood Road. Travel down Old Glenwood and in about a mile you'll see Taylor Lake Lane (or Taylor Lane(?)) where you can take a left to get to a grade crossing. Come back to Old Glenwood Road and turn left. Continue to the stop sign at turn left onto NC-226 to head north towards Marion.

Soon after turning left onto NC-226, you can take another left onto Universal Drive to head towards a grade crossing and what appears to be a relatively new industrial spur for a small trackside transfer business. Head back out to NC-226 and turn left.

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Marion -- Jacktown Road.Pass under I-40, and you'll shortly go under the tracks. This is not a railfan location. Continue north to a right onto Jacktown Road. The crossing is about a football field length ahead, and is so-so at NE3, SE2, SW2, NW4; the MP 221 marker is just to the north.If you are using MapQuest or other out-of-date mapping on the Net, you'll get confused, as two railroads are shown here, and they begin to go thru town together. The CRR tracks are to the north on such maps, and are today's CSX -- the route we're touring. The other tracks are ex-Southern, and no longer exist. Disregard them, and follow CSX as it goes northwest and then veers sharply to the northeast.

Marion -- Moodytown Road. Go back to NC-226 and take a right to continue north. At the traffic light, take a right onto U.S. 221Business.At Marion Street, take a right, and go two blocks to an odd fork and take a right onto Moodytown Road. This will take a 90º turn to the left, and cross the tracks. The MP 220 post is just north of the crossing.

Photo ratings are pretty good, at NE4, SE1, SW2, NW1. The crossing is an X rather than a +, so you should be able to get pix pretty much all day. Poles foul up the north east quad. In summer and fall, a weed whacker would be most beneficial for photo field clearance. This is a nice, quiet place, with relatively little street traffic.

Marion -- Seagle Street. Backtrack via Moodytown Road to the odd fork, and continue to the right on what becomes Marion Street. This will morph into East 1st Street in the East Marion neighborhood. Take a right onto Baldwin Avenue, and then another right onto Perry Street. After one long block, take a left onto East Yancey Street, and go up to an X shaped intersection with Seagle Street. Take the right onto Seagle, and drive to the crossing.Seagle continues east, and ends after a half-mile or so, so there is little traffic here.

Photo ratings indicate an afternoon site: NE4, SE4, SW1, NW1. Note that the railroad is north - south here, so northbounds will be a problem pretty much all day.

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Marion. Go back down Seagle all the way to Yancey, and take a right. You'll pass over the Norfolk Southern Railroad at a grade crossing. This is the Norfolk Southern's Salisbury - Asheville S-Line. If you are heading west from Marion, you can tour the line all the way to Knoxville. That tour is here. You'll come to a traffic light at East Court Road/US-70, and should turn right to head towards the CSX/NS interchange at Marion.

Travel for 1/2 mile on East Court Road (NS tracks will still be on your right) and turn left onto a gravel road just before going under a railroad bridge with CRR markings from the glory days. At the top of the hill, you'll see the CSX tracks at Marion (the south end of the Catawba Viaduct will be out of sight around the corner to your left as you top the hill) and you should bear to your right to see the modern CSX outpost. Remember, you might possibly be trespassing at this point, but you are getting from point A to point B, and not sitting around railfanning. Travel on the gravel so that the railroad and outpost are on your left and you'll head down to Carolina Avenue.

Turn left onto Carolina Avenue (East Court Road will be on your right at the bottom of the hill), go across the NS grade crossing, and around a right-handed curve (the NS/CSX interchange tracks will be in front of you as you start around the curve). You'll run into Yancey Street, and should take a left on it. Yancey Street Baptist church will appear on your right, but turn left off of Yancey and head down hill just before you get to the church. This will take you to the south end of Marion (MP Z219.3), which was the functional end of the CRR until the 1960s. Now you'll see the gaping mouth of the north end of Marion tunnel.
May 31, 2012 Update: You cannot see the tunnel even in winter. The trees have grown too much and too thick in that area.
Edward Maglott, Frograil user

Head back out the way you came and Carolina Avenue will take you back down to East Court Road. Turn left onto East Court Road.

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Marion -- Catawba Viaduct. You're now headed to the Catawba Viaduct over Lake James. So far on this tour, it's been virtually impossible to get to the major bridges on the CRR. You probably think that Joe, Clayton and Tony are perpetrating a hoax on you, as we wax eloquent about these engineering masterpieces. Well, here's your chanceto see one up close and personal. It will take a little driving to get to, but it should be worth it. Travel on East Court Road until you get to North Madison Street on your right. Turn right onto North Madison and follow it until its junction with Fleming Avenue. Turn right onto Fleming. Yancey Road will appear quickly on your right, so be sure to turn right and take it. Follow Yancey Road for about 2 miles and it will lead you under the great Catawba Viaduct. As you marvel at the bridge and maneuver for pictures, remember that this railroad structure has remained virtually unchanged since it was built in the early 1900s.

Hankins -- Cannon Road. After passing over the viaduct, the Clinchfield disappears from sight until Sevier passing track -- with one exception that Tony will detail later. Head back out the way you came in on Yancey Road, but instead of heading all the way back into town, turn right onto Lentz Road about 1/2 mile from the viaduct. This will soon lead you to a stop sign. You can turn right onto Hankins Road to head to an obvious grade crossing, but the crossing has no decent public access, and is not a railfan location.

Turn left on Hankins Road to continue the tour. Almost immediately, there will be a turn to the right -- Cannon Road. This is the way to get to the only trackside access between here and Sevier, which is well to the north. You combat railfans will want to scope it out, but there is an out-and-back of a few miles involved. For those wishing to pass this location up, we will rejoin you later at the Hankins Road intersection to continue the tour.

For combat railfans: Take a right on Cannon (which may or may not be signed Cannon) and follow it to the point where the tracks come in abruptly on your right. Park northwest of the tracks. The crossing itself is NE3, SE2, SW2, NW3. Standing west of the tracks, you are on the outside of a significant southeast - northeast curve, indeed, you are at the apex of the curve. There is a neat little rock cut to the south. If you are a photographer and not just a wedge shot specialist, I think you can make something out of this location. This is a seldom-photographed spot.

Mapquest shows a road leading from the intersection to the north and northwest, connecting to U.S. 221, but it doesn't exist on the ground -- it's a utility ROW. Therefore, head back to Hankins Road and turn right.

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Now, all tourists should be heading west on Hankins Road. Continue traveling until you get to a traffic light. Turn right onto U.S. 221Business, and then (at the next light) turn right to head north on U.S. 221, leaving the Marion area. Travel about 5 miles on U.S. 221, and you'll see a sign on your right for a textiles company. Turn right onto American Thread Road. Not long after turning onto it, take a right onto Good Road, and you will soon spot the remains of an old CRR bridge. This track used to come off the CRR just south of Sevier siding to service the American Thread Company. When that track went out of service, they brought a pack of engineers here to show students how to remove a railroad bridge. According to the story, they detonated explosives to demolish the bridge, but apparently did damage to the surrounding neighborhood, while the bridge remained as you see it today.

Sevier -- Ce Goode Road. Head back out to American Thread Road and turn right. We'll be following Old Linville Road to access Sevier and points north, but Tony thinks you should know a little bit of history here. While we are most definitely still deep within North Carolina, we encounter a place named after John Sevier, first governor of Tennessee. Indeed, he was governor of the State of Franklin, which preceded Tennessee. Many, many things are named after him, including the big NS yard in Knoxville, but what is really important is that he was a truly decent man, who didn't govern from a position of "I want to be in power forever, so I'll say what you want to hear." Rather, he did what he felt was right, and has earned a major, positive place in history as a result.

Not long after turning off of American Thread Road, you'll see a bridge over water and the rails on your right. Turn right onto Old Linville Road to head over the bridge. In front of you is Sevier Passing track (the other totally tangent one on the old CRR). This is point 1 on the map below. Turn right onto the gravel road (Ce Goode Road) before going over the tracks to head all the way down to the south end of the siding.

Just after the end of the siding, the road crosses the tracks and leads to a couple of houses. There is no public access to the tracks from the east, and the crossing is posted as a private crossing. Getting shots from the west is tough, as you are shooting up an embankment, and there is some clutter. I think this is a nice, quiet place to watch trains enter and depart the siding, but it's not at all a photographic opportunity. The street is squeezed between the North Fork of the Catawba River and the railroad. Control point "S.E. SEVIER" is on the east side of the interlocking. The crossing is at MP 210.28.

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Pitts. Turn around and come back, but turn right to cross over the siding and continue down Old Linville Road. The railroad will be on your left and you'll spot a bunch of trailers sitting across the tracks on your left. At the first intersection, Pitts Station Road, take a left and go to the tracks. The railroad calls this location Pitts, but MapQuest calls it North Cove Crossing. DeLorme calls it Pitts, and that's the tie breaker. It seems that MapQuest has called the same place, North Cove, two names and assigned each to a different place.

Photos are OK, at NE2, SE2, SW3, NW4, and the railroad is steeply northeast - southwest. It is important to avoid trespassing here, and there are many truck movements over the crossing. Stay alert, and don't plan on hanging around for any amount of time. You might see a through freight or the local out of Bostic stopping here for drops or switching.

(Note that if you're short on time you can turn left here and miss about 15-20 minutes of driving. Head over the crossing and to the traffic light. Skip down to the section on Camp II.)

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North Cove. Continue north on Old Linville Road another 1/2 mile and you'll see a second crossing on your left at North Cove School Road. Between Pitts and this road, you have driven by a large industrial facility. If you turn left onto NCSR and cross the tracks, you'll notice a road to the left immediately past the tracks. This road is not posted in any way, but if you go down it 150 yards or so, you'll be informed by a huffy female security guard that it's one way, private, etc, etc. She will then probably give you a bunch of baloney when you politely suggest that you can do a U turn and get gone.

So, park somewhere other than this road, which leads to the parking lot to the plant (all of which is out of sight where you cross the tracks). The tracks are almost dead east-west, and the view from the private road to the south is excellent; the rest of the views are so-so: NE4, SE2, SW3, NW1. Avoid the whole area early in the morning, from about 11:45 - 1:30, and from 4:00 - 6:00PM, as many cars are leaving the parking lot. If you'll be in the area for more than a few minutes, do not do so on the private road.

Continue north on Old Linville for several miles and you'll come to Avery Road on your right. Don't take it, but know that this is the location of the Avery EDD [MP Z205.1] that you might have been hearing. You'll cross the CSX two more times in the next couple of miles, and then come out on U.S. 221. Turn left (there will be a real estate company on your left) and continue down U.S. 221. Yes, you are going south here, away from Erwin, but you gotta try to follow the railroad, folks.

Fred Burton helped with the information concerning this location.

Clinchfield Loops Overview. [Webmaster's comments: Clayton has done a methodical, patient job of bringing us north of Bostic. His text will continue shortly. However, Tony finds that many folks not familiar with this part of the country don't understand what the Blue Ridge really is. Most think it to be a nice place to put a 2-lane, winding road for driving during the spring Red Bud/rhododendron, or fall foliage seasons. The Blue Ridge really is a ridge, and a mighty prodigious one at that. Imagine that you're flying in an airplane from the ocean to mid-America. You first fly over level areas (the Coastal Plain), and then gradually more convolutions (The Piedmont). However, there comes a point where it looks like God has pushed the fabric of the countryside together like a kid would push a sheet in his crib, to create a steep ridge. This is the Blue Ridge, and it is not a casual feature. For railroaders and highway builders during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this was the "wall". For the Southern Railway west of Old Fort, and the Clinchfield north of Marion, this was an almost impossible barrier, and only a clever use of loops, tunnels, and gradual climbs allowed trains to surmount the ridge. Nothing has changed today -- The Law of Gravity still holds all the cards along the Blue Ridge; we humans and our machines just do the best we can.]

You've had a tough time maneuvering through these foothills -- imagine what the railroad has to go through to do the same! The section of railroad you are about to enter is known for doing just that. It will require the railroad travel some 22 miles to go 4 miles compass north while climbing just over 1,500 feet. This is the land of dynamic brakes and throttle 8 --of steep grades, tunnels, sharp curves, and full course reversals where you can see both ends of a train at the same time. Welcome to The Loops. It is amazing to think that this whole railroad, from top to bottom, remains virtually unchanged and has needed no major engineering upgrades since it's birth in the early 20th century. When they built the Clinchfield, they did it right the first time.

The railroad comes up from the south hugging the North Fork of the Catawba River (as does Old Linville Road, which you've followed northeastward from Sevier), and continues to do so until it reaches Ashford. Details follow below, but we want you to have an overview of entire Loops area. This will give you an idea of the magnitude of the engineering and construction work which took place to make the Clinchfield a possibility. The following map goes from Sevier to Spruce Pine, and each place is linked to the text describing the location.

The Loops 1. Sevier

2. Ashford MP Z202.2

3. Honeycutt MP Z199.8

4. Camp II MP Z194.4

5. Blue Ridge Parkway

6. Altapass

7. Spruce Pine

Ashford. Soon after turning left onto U.S. 221, you'll pass under the railroad in the middle of the first "loop" (full course reversal) at Ashford. This is point 2 on the above map. The next road to look out for is either called Swofford Road or Ashford Road depending on whom you ask. As of October 2008, it was signed as Swofford. Turning right here will take you to Ashford signal (MP Z202). This is not a busy road, and it's fairly quiet. Photo ratings are NE1, SE2, SW4, NW3.

Between this point, and its tunnel under the Blue Ridge Parkway, the railroad will go thru 12 tunnels! Travel a little further south on U.S. 221 and you'll see Honeycutt Road on your right. (Note: If you feel adventurous, there's no crossing on Honeycutt, but it ends in a residential area near the railroad at Honeycutt Signal and tunnel. Point 3 on the map is the approximate location of where the road ends, but I've got it on the north side of the tracks, and the road is on the south. You can scout it out if you want, but return to U.S. 221 and turn right to continue the tour.)

We had some help with this location from Fred Burton.

Camp II. Travel about 3 miles (passing back by North Cove on your left) and you'll come back near the crossing at Pitts and Sevier. There will be a traffic light (or at least was when Clayton was there, but this could have been due to construction in the area. Be alert for changes!) and you will turn right onto Pepper's Creek Road (turning left will take you to Pitts/ Sevier). Pepper's Creek Road will be pavement for 3 miles, but will turn to gravel and head uphill to Camp II. It's a half-mile to the crossing/signals at Camp II, so hang on.

The road is rough, but manageable (Clayton has been up it with front and rear 2 wheel drives, but prefers front or 4WD to reduce bouncing. Tony went up it with a front 2-wheel drive Buick LeSabre, and had no trouble. He's been on far worse roads -- just take it real easy.) There is plenty of room to park at the crossing to wait on trains (point 4 on the map above). This is a great place for shooting trains! You're in the middle of two passing sidings, so if you've heard southbounds calling Toe River or northbounds calling anything beyond Sevier, you'd better stay put for a while to catch the action. Not only is it a great place for photography, the acoustics are awesome! If you're lucky enough to catch a northbound train, hang around awhile after it passes and listen to it working up the mountain above you. Fantastic! Remember, the big dogs are working full out here to generate speeds of about 20 miles per hour.

Once you've had your fill, continue up Pepper's Creek Road. The road will go uphill another 1 1/2 miles and then it will fork. You come upon the fork unexpectedly, and your gut says to continue to the left. There are no signs, of course. Take the right hand fork (which is still Pepper's Creek Road and is more like taking a right-handed u-turn) under the Blue Ridge Parkway (point 5 on the map above) and to the stop sign. Turn right onto Altapass Highway. (Note: The left fork is Orchard's Road and taking it will bring you to The Orchard on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Orchard is just that -- an apple orchard -- and it is a pretty neat place to stop by if you have time. They're not open on Sundays, though. If you go up to The Orchard, you can either take the Blue Ridge Parkway back to Altapass Highway and turn left on Altapass Highway, or take Orchard Road back to Pepper's Creek Road, and turn left on Pepper's Creek Road, then right on Altapass Highway after passing under the Blue Ridge Parkway.) Note that the highest point on the railroad is here at Ridge tunnel before the Loops at the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains and underneath the Blue Ridge parkway.

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Altapass. Not long after turning onto Altapass Highway, you'll spot Holman Hill Road. Turn left here to get to Altapass, once home of a CRR wye track that is now long gone. This is point 6 on the map above. Head back to Altapass Highway and turn left. Travel a little further to Halltown Road and take a left to get to a crossing at Toe River siding. Head back up to Altapass Highway and turn left. In another 1/2 mile you will see Walnut Straight Road, and turning left on this road will take you to the north end of Toe River Siding [MP Z 185.2]. Head back down to Altapass Highway and turn left. Drive for two miles with the railroad on your left and you'll pass a feldspar plant and Flotation, then go downhill to a traffic light at the intersection of US-19E. Turning right here will take you to gas and food, but the tour goes straight through the light into Spruce Pine.

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Spruce Pine -- The mineral capital of the world! Now we're headed toward another little gem (no pun intended!), and favorite spot of mine -- Spruce Pine! After crossing over US-19E, follow Altapass Highway past a lumberyard with a couple of spur and siding tracks, and then up a hill to a traffic light. Turn left onto Oak Street and take the first downhill fork to the left to head to downtown Spruce Pine and Spruce Pine "yard." This is point 7 on the map above. There is a lot of trackside parking to shoot the Spruce Pine local (if it's lingering around) and any through trains that might come along. Continue through downtown with the railroad on your left, head back up to Oak St, and turn left on Oak Street. You can turn left at the traffic light to shoot trains from the overpass, but the tour continues on Oak Street. Follow Oak with the railroad on your left and you will pass by the Spruce Pine Holdout signal (approach to Toe River for southbound trains) and Minpro. You will travel uphill and soon come to a stop sign. Turn right onto SC-226 and you will travel about 1 1/2 miles to Penland Drive. Turn left onto Penland Drive (you'll see a sign for the Penland School of Crafts).

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Penland. Home of the infamous Penland School of Crafts, Penland is also a pretty nifty place to shoot trains.[Webmaster's note: Based on Clayton's wording in the previous sentence, Tony looked up the Penland School of Crafts. It's kind of a interesting place, and frankly, it looks like a great place to dump your wife for a day or so, while you watch trains. Cool. The school's website is: ]. After about a mile, the rails will soon appear on your left. There is an old post office there that you can pull into to shoot trains at the grade crossing. This is also the residence of the Penland EDD [MP Z179.6], which you might have heard on your scanner. Now you know where it is and can use it to locate northbound trains that may be following you. Leave the post office parking lot by turning left on Penland Road and go over the grade crossing. A gravel road will appear on your right (actually right in front of you as Penland Road takes a left-handed curve), and take it (Clinchfield Drive!) to travel a short distance to a grade crossing that provides excellent scenic shots. Shoot your fill, head back to Penland Road, and turn right to go over the Toe River. You'll travel another two miles on Penland Road to a stop sign.

This is our second crossing of Highway US-19E. There's a gas station in front of you and Tony suggests stopping for last-minute supplies because we're about to head into the wilderness. Remember that warning about carsickness? It is about to become a real possibility! Clayton stopped to chat with a rail crew one day and asked for contact points between the railroad and road. A crewmember replied, "Around here you either hike in or ride the rails." Frograil, obviously, recommends neither. We do recommend, however, that you write down odometer readings at the beginning of any leg of the tour which starts with something like: "Drive 2 1/2 miles...." Up here, 2 miles can seem like 20, so try to be precise. It really is easy to get confused.

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Boonford. We are about to enter into one of those areas lasting from Penland to Toecane, with lots of mountain driving in between a few railroad locales. Turn right off of Penland Drive (left out of Texaco's parking lot) to begin down US-19E. You'll travel about a mile or so, and then you'll turn right onto Arbuckle Road. Stay on Arbuckle Road for 2 1/2 miles, and then turn right onto NC-80. Be careful crossing the one-lane bridge and immediately turn right onto a gravel road. This will take you to Boonford, where CSX picks up loaded log racks. There is a signal, also called Boonford {MP Z175.6], just timetable south of here. Note that most map references refer to the hamlet as "Boonford", but you will see some references to "Booneford". Head back to NC-80 and turn right. You'll soon pass over the CSX and will be able to see Boonford below and to your right.

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Kona. After turning right on NC-80, you'll travel 3 miles to our next turn off, but it will feel more like 70 miles. Hang in there. After the 3 miles you'll come to Lunday Road on your left, so turn off here. It's another mile, or so, down to the railroad crossing at the middle of Kona siding. (Be advised: This is a private railroad crossing, but the owner of the house right in front of you as you cross the siding (the house built on the big rock) has historically been a railfan, but that doesn't mean the same is true now. As always, be cautious and courteous.) If you can park here at Kona, walk down to the South end for a look at the old interchange between the Yancey Railroad and CRR. There is a neat bridge that is not in use today. Head back up the hill and turn left to continue on NC-80.

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Toecane. From Kona, it is another 4 miles (check the odometer!) to Roses Branch. If you've heard northbound trains calling Kona or southbounds calling Toecane, this is a good place to stop and
shoot them (and rest from driving!). Take this road to your left and it's another 3/4 mile down to the railroad at Roses Branch. Head back up to NC-80 and turn left to continue. Not long after turning back on NC-80, you'll come to an intersection with Mine Creek Road. Turn left onto Mine Creek to continue on NC-80. Travel for two miles until you come to a stop sign. Turn left onto Hwy 226N (which we left behind way back at Spruce Pine). You'll soon see the sign for Loafer's Glory.

After passing Loafer's Glory, and before the red mill, take a left on Toecane Road and travel 3/4 mile down through town (mindful of the sharp curves) to the grade crossing. This is Toecane, a once booming railroad town (as can be seen by the brick buildings). Today, it's now a small jewel deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. Here you'll find an MOW spur track and some nice places to shoot the CSX heavies. Turn around and head back up to NC-226. Turn left and travel about 2 1/2 miles to the intersection with NC-197.

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Forbes Crossing. Turn left at the gas station onto NC-197 southbound (yes, south) and you'll travel about 1 mile to Forbes Crossing. Head over the crossing, mindful of the one-lane bridge over the Toe River. Travel about 11/2 miles (with the Toe and railroad on your right) and you'll soon spot a pedestrian bridge spanning the Toe River. Park either at the apartments on your left, or the small pull-off area on your right next to the bridge. This is a suspended pedestrian bridge that will take you across the Toe River to Whitson's Branch Signal/Road. Although the bridge has been here for a while, it is (reportedly) well maintained and is strong enough to hold 4 people at a time, or so the sign says. Cross the bridge for northbound and southbound trains entering and exiting Green Mountain siding. Northbounds will sometimes stop here at Whitson's to wait on southbounds clearing into Green Mountain. After checking out the bridge, continue on NC-197. After about 2 miles turn right off of NC-197 onto an unmarked road (perhaps Jacks CR Rd) [Webmaster's Note. DeLorme shows this as Green Mountain Road, but you'll probably see no road signs.] The Toe River will still be on your right.

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Green Mountain. After making the right hand turn off of NC-197, you will soon see a bridge and signs for Unimin Plant # 2. Turn right, go over the bridge, and you will arrive at a Unimin facility next to Green Mountain passing track. The Spruce Pine local frequents this area to drop off and pick up from Unimin. If you want, there is a gravel road (Whitson's Branch) that runs between Green Mountain siding and the Toe River for about 2 miles up to Whitson's Branch Signal (where you could have taken the suspended bridge earlier). However, you will have to turn around and come back to this spot. Head back over the bridge away from Green Mountain passing track and turn right to pass through the neat little town of Green Mountain. Travel for about 3 miles and you'll come to a second one-lane bridge. There is a sign for it, but it's still in a pretty nasty blind spot. Be careful! After navigating the bridge, turn right onto another mysterious road (perhaps this is Jack CR Road. Tony never could figure it out).

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Huntdale. The Toe River and railroad will be on your right and soon you will go around a right-handed curve and over the Toe River to a grade crossing at Relief EDD [MP Z155.9]. Take the left-handed curve onto Relief Road and the EDD will be on your right. There will be a place to park on your left as you head downhill towards a stop sign. Turn left at the stop sign onto NC-197 (this is where you would have come out had you not turned onto NC-197 southbound at Forbes) and head under the Clinchfield Railroad bridge. The railroad will be on your right, and the Toe River on your left. The railroad will soon go over a side road, but stay on NC-197 for great pacing shots and audio!

Toe River Freewill Baptist Church/Huntdale. After a mile, or so, you'll spot a grade crossing and a sign telling you to turn right to continue on NC-197. Don't do that yet. Just on the right after going past the crossing there is a great spot to park and shoot trains from either direction. Continue on (the road is now called Huntdale Road) for about 1 mile, with the railroad on your right and the Toe River on your left, to Huntdale (supposedly named after a wife chasing her womanizing husband -- "I'm going to hunt Dale!" [Webmaster's Comment: Tony suspects the wife had some colorful things in store for Dale, but Clayton has cleaned it up for us]), the location of a MoW spur and a perfect place to catch trains going by the Freewill Baptist Church. Pull into the gravel parking lot on the right for shots.

After shooting, you have a decision to make. Huntdale Road continues as a gravel road sandwiched between the Toe River and the railroad. If you are facing the church, it is the gravel road on your left (another road crosses over the Toe via a one-lane bridge, but it's not an option at this point). If you'll notice, there is a sign that says, "Road Subject to Flooding." If it's been raining a lot recently, or is raining during your tour, there may be a flood risk and you'll want to head back about a mile to the place you saw where NC-197 goes over the rails. [NOTE WELL: If there is any, repeat any, water over the road, do not attempt to drive thru. The cumulative force behind flowing water is immense. Turn around and pick up the tour further north.] You may want to do that anyway because of the road conditions and depending on how well you did at Pepper's Creek Road. This road isn't as bad as Pepper's Creek, but it does go uphill and downhill for a couple of miles later on after crossing the railroad. If there's no flood risk, and Pepper's Creek was no big deal, this shouldn't be either. Tony will post two sets of directions. If you choose the gravel of Huntdale Rd, read on. If you want to head back to NC-197, skip this next section.

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Poplar For those who took it, Huntdale Road follows the mainline for about two miles. You'll go past lots of "No Trespassing" and "Private Property" signs, but these are for the grassy areas, not the road. There will be a couple of places where the road goes over the railroad, but these are all private drives. Keep going until you see Peterson's signal [MP Z151.6]. Soon after this, you will see a railroad crossing sign and will have no choice but to cross over at the grade crossing. It's a little steep, but flattens out at the top. Now you are on Sam's Branch Road. It goes mostly uphill and a little downhill for 11/2 miles. There are a couple of gravel driveways along the way, but stay on the "main" road (marked by signs of more traffic). This, too, is steep, curvy, and a little bit of a challenge because of the gravel, so be careful. This will take you back out to NC-197. Turn left onto NC-197 after coming back onto pavement at the stop sign (a white church will be on your right) and skip the next section.

For those who did not take Huntdale Road, take NC-197: After getting your shots at the Toe River Freewill Baptist Church, head back down Huntdale Road the way you came, with the railroad on your left. In about a mile you'll see the sign for NC-197 and the grade crossing. Turn left over the crossing onto NC-197. Travel for about 2 miles and you'll spot a white church on the left. This is Sam's Branch Road, where you would have come out had you decided to continue down Huntdale Road.

About 2 miles from the church, the railroad will appear on your left. This is Poplar passing track, the last siding until we get to Erwin. As a result, you're likely to find a train sitting here. Go a little farther and you'll see a road on the left (it's actually right in front of you) just as NC-197 takes a right-handed curve uphill. Turn left into the daytime campground and continue over the railroad to a nice little picnic/boat launch area. This is the north end of Poplar [MP Z148.2]. You can walk along a path beside the Toe River up to the Toe River bridge for some great shots of southbound trains coming across the bridge. Whenever you've seen enough, head back out to NC-197 and turn left.

As soon as you turn back onto NC-197, you'll be heading uphill and away from the railroad. The latter slithers along the Nolichucky River thru it's namesake Nolichucky Gorge. It's uphill pretty much all the way to the North Carolina/Tennessee border, and then steep and curvy back down into the Cherokee National Forest. BE CAREFUL around those curves. Speed signs along this whole tour can be deceiving. There's generally not much traffic (unless it's rhododendron season!), so go at your own pace. It's about 10 miles to the Tennessee border. (Note: Soon after passing into Tennessee, you'll see a parking area on your right. Pull in here if you want, and take the gravel road uphill for about 8 miles to Beauty Spot, an AWESOME overlook area. If it's winter, please note that you WILL need 4WD as it's a lot colder and snowier up there than the parking area. In fact 4WD is preferred, but you can do it with 2WD. My brother-in-law took a Nissan Pulsar up there, but only God knows how he did it! Make sure you take the right-hand fork near the top.) After entering Tennessee, NC-197 becomes TN-395. It's about 6 miles to the bottom. When you get to the traffic light, turn right onto TN-107. You'll pass through "uptown" Erwin and the railroad (specifically Rock Creek) will be on your left.

There are a couple of gas stations and a Wendy's here if you need a pit stop (and Heaven knows you probably will, after all you've been thru for the past several hours). At the traffic light (Exxon will be on your left) turn left off of TN-107 and you will go over the railroad via an overpass. Continue over the bridge and you'll soon see signs for I-181/Hwy19W/23. Turn left onto I-181/US-19W/23 and head south. Erwin yard will be on your left as you travel, but don't worry. We'll get to it right after a few more stops on the Blue Ridge Subdivision!

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Unaka Springs. Take I-181/Hwy23/19W to exit 15 (Jackson Love Hwy). You'll see a Holiday Inn Express motel to the east, so head towards it, and take a right at the Riverview Baptist Church. The Holiday Inn will then be on your left as you pass it. Go about 1/2 mile, and turn left onto River Road, which runs beside the Nolichucky River.

Go through the stop sign, and the rails will appear after about 1/2 mile on your left. Soon after, the road goes sharply uphill and leaves the tracks. This point is MP Z140.5 (actually, it's on the Blue Ridge Sub), and is (at least for now) the southern most point of this guide. Turn around and head back up River Road (timetable north) to the stop sign. Turn right onto Chestoa Pike. Go over the bridge and turn right onto Jones Branch Road. After traveling about 1/2 mile through the Cherokee National Forrest area, the road will go uphill. Pull over to left and park in the gravel "lot" before going downhill.

This is Unaka Springs, or "The Gorge." Southbounds can be shot from where you parked. Northbounds can be shot coming across the Nolichucky Gorge by walking towards the bridge and climbing up the rocks on the left (there is a pretty good path there). MP Z140 will be on your right. To travel further along the guide, turn around and head back the way you came, towards Chestoa Pike, but turn right. You'll soon pass over the Chestoa railroad crossing, where you'll find the Chestoa signal/approach to Erwin.

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Erwin -- South End. Erwin yard is fairly unique because you can drive almost all the way around it! The "almost" is the problem, so pay close attention as you navigate your way around lots of small roads.

After passing through the Chestoa crossing, travel about 1 mile, and look for Bailey Circle on the right. When you get here, however, take Love Station Road on the left (NOT Bailey Circle!!). Follow this road to its end (passing through a school zone and around some sharp curves), and at the stop sign, go straight onto Carolina Avenue. Take the first left onto Berkshire Drive, which is just after a firehouse. This road loops around, but head down to the four-stall automobile garage at the bottom of the hill. This is the south end of the Erwin siding/yard. The couple who owns the garage is really nice, and always lets Tony park there and wander around in their yard to take shots. If Tony sees them, he ALWAYS says hello and asks permission, though. They don't have to be nice, so Tony thanks them for it. This is a good place to take pics of both north- and southbounds waiting for yard or track clearance, respectively.

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Erwin -- Southeast Yard Office. Head back up the other leg of the Berkshire Drive loop, and turn right at the stop sign. You're now back on Jackson-Love where you started this tour! Head under the railroad bridge and take the second road on your right into the Riverview Industrial Park. There is a HUGE, brand new outfitter store on your left as you enter the industrial park. Follow the road, and as you near its end, you'll see the southeast yard office on your right. Tony usually parks along the two-lane road and walks up to the office for pics.

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Erwin -- Station. Continuing on, go back along the industrial park road to the stop sign and turn left on Jackson-Love. After passing under the RR bridge, turn left onto Carolina Avenue. You're going to by-pass the southeast part of the area at this time and head up to the north end of the yard.

Continue up Carolina Ave for about 1 mile until you see a Free Will Baptist Church on your left. Turn left at the church onto Academy Road. Travel through 2 stops signs, but at the 3rd one turn left onto South Main Street. Follow this straight to the Army National Guard Armory for hard to find northbounds hiding in the middle of Erwin yard. I've never had any trouble parking my car, walking out to the tracks, or taking pics here. Just be careful and courteous -- get your pictures and leave.

To continue the tour, head back down Main the way you came in until you get to Opekiska Street. Turn left onto this and follow it to its end. Turn right onto Nolichucky Avenue. This will take you by the yard office and old depot (now a library). You can park in any lots on the L for pics. Just stay off the tracks here and you'll be fine!

[Webmaster's comments about the depot: Here, the Clinchfield Railroad station sits in all its splendor. The station now serves as the public library, and the library and station are both in A-#1 shape. This is a great place to watch trains when the snow is flying, it's raining, or you're just plain worn out! You can sit with a good book in civilized comfort, while watching the big dogs start their attack on the mountains outside. Just a little to the south of the library is an employee parking lot, from which you can get pix. North of the building is another parking lot, this one enclosed in a nasty chain link fence. However, the latter has a break in it, in order to allow CSX employees access to this portion of the yard. You can get good pix here, without venturing out into railroad property.]

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This is the end of the web page detailing the Clinchfield from Spartanburg to Erwin. The tour is complete all the way to Shelbiana, Kentucky, however, so click here to continue northward.