Why That Crazy Route Over Peak Creek Mountain ?
NW Mailing List
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Sep 25 06:24:43 EDT 2017
I can't answer your questions, but I can add one piece of information. The V&T did not originally intend to go to Wytheville. The town lobbied pretty hard to avoid getting bypassed. This might have affected the alignment further east. In the end, the railroad skirted the south side of Wytheville, and seemed to act as a barrier to any further development in that area.
From: NW Mailing List [nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org]
Sent: Saturday, September 23, 2017 9:54 PM
To: N&W Mailing List
Subject: Why That Crazy Route Over Peak Creek Mountain ?
Has anyone figured out why the Virginia & Tennessee made the crazy decision to go over top of Peak Creek Mountain on the Bristol Line, instead of staying in the floor of the valley, two miles to the southeast?
They could have laid their railroad right along what is now Interstate 81, from Newbern to Wytheville, and avoided a mountain crossing with bad profile, bad alignment, and a tunnel, to boot, with probably the addition of about one route mile.
It is almost as if someone made the worst-possible choice on purpose. That bad decision would have been a good thing for the railroad to have straightened out 1890-1920, when they were straightening out other engineering problems in their as-built lines.
You can't say they went over Peak Creek so they could "tap the trade" at Pulaski... because Pulaski didn't exist at the time the railroad was built (1856-1857) !
-- abram burnett
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Successor to the MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH LINE of 1844
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