Late 40's re-alignment on Elkhorn grade

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Tue Jul 8 11:25:10 EDT 2014

In preparation for discontinuing electric operations with the opening of
the new Elkhorn tunnel in 1950, several miles on the heavy grade were
re-aligned to reduce curvature and rise.  I have read at least one article
(may have been in Railway Age) giving an overview of this work that spanned
several years showing a few pictures/diagrams of a few of the places where
new cuts were made, bridges eliminated, etc.  I would like to get more
detailed information and/or photos of exactly what changes were made during
this project e.g. creek re-routings, U.S. 52 re-routings, all the places
where the line was relocated, any sidings/branches that were eliminated,
etc. etc.  There is an old bridge at Landgraff on the opposite side of 52
from the present main that I assume was left from when the main was over
there.  Also, down in Kyle bottom there are footers standing in someones
front yard that again look like evidence of the old alignment.  I am
especially interested in the changes at Switchback/Maybeury associated with
new bridge and side swap up Barlow hollow.  It is still barely possible to
see slide fence remnants (vertical rail segments) through the leaves/kudzoo
to the North side of the present main near Switchback.  I assume the old
main would have hugged the hill and been right next to this slide fence as
it climbed past the power plant on its way to the old trestle.  I assume
the Angel Branch would have left the main at some point along here, but
would sure like to know exactly where.  Also, was there a siding associated
with the power plant?
Any information on this transformation will be greatly appreciated.
Jim Cochran
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