A Chicago Train Connecting Railroad - 1930's - 1940's
Nashville Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway


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NC&SL
May 1937

The Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway was a famous Southern United States railroad. Although it never made it to St. Louis, it did provide a route from the Mississippi River city of Memphis, through Nashville to Chattanooga, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia. The NC&SL was an older railroad than the Louisville and Nashville which grew to covet the primary route of the NC&SL from Nashville to Atlanta, and the L&N held control over the NC&SL for many years although the NC&SL (the Dixie Line) was operated independently. In the 1930's through the 1950's the Dixie Line was a carrier of choice for the Chicago to Florida bound Dixie trains, originated in Chicago on the C&EI and connected from Evansville to Nashville on the L&N, where the Dixie's were carried by the NC&SL to Atlanta, on the way to Florida destinations.
In 1940 the C&EI introduced a lightweight streamlined Chicago to Florida passenger train, the "Dixie Flagler" that traveled from Nashville to Atlanta behind an NC&StL streamlined 4-6-2 Pacific steam locomotive.

NC&SL Feb. 6, 1944

Short History of the Nashville Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway
1845 - Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, chartered in Nashville. It was the first railway to operate in the state of Tennessee.
1845-1854 - It took nine years to complete the 150 miles (240 km) of line between the two cities of Nashville and Chattanooga, a task which was made much more difficult by the steep elevations of the Highland Rim and Cumberland Plateau lying in between. A tunnel of 2,228 feet (679 m) near Cowan, Tennessee was considered an engineering marvel of its time. Due to the difficulties of the terrain, this line between Tennessee cities actually crossed over into two neighboring states, Alabama and Georgia, for short distances. New towns sprang up along the line during construction, such as Tullahoma and Estill Springs.
1861-65 - During the Civil War, this line became highly strategic to both the Union and Confederate armies.
1862-63 - The Tennessee campaigns saw Union troops force the Confederates back from Nashville to Chattanooga almost exactly along the line of the railroad. It was repeatedly attacked, sabotaged, damaged, and repaired, and was used at various times to supply both armies.
1865-73 - The Company made acquisitions of other, smaller lines to the north.
1873 - Reincorporated as the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway ("NC&StL") (although none of the company's tracks ever actually entered St. Louis, Missouri).
1877 - The NC&StL purchased the assets and name of the bankrupt Tennessee & Pacific Railroad from the state and operated it as a spur to Lebanon, Tennessee.
1880 - The L&N, an aggressive, potential competitor of the NC&StL, gained controlling interest in it with a hostile stock takeover that created massive civic rancor between the cities of Nashville and Louisville. The two railroads continued to operate separately.
1880's - Despite the takeover, the NC&StL was allowed to continue to grow with the acquisition of various branch lines in Kentucky and Alabama and expansion from Nashville to Memphis.
1890 - NC&SL reached Atlanta, Georgia, by successfully leasing the state-owned Western and Atlantic Railroad.
1940 - The C&EI "Dixie Flagler" train from Chicago to Florida is a streamlined lightweight train operating from Nashville to Atlanta on the NC&StL using a streamlined Pacific 4-6-2 steam locomotive.
1953, the NC&StL donated its last remaining steam engine, No. 576, to the city of Nashville. This engine, a J3 class 4-8-4, originally known as a Yellow Jacket manufactured by the American Locomotive Company ("ALCO"), has been on display in Centennial Park ever since. In deference to its Southern heritage, NC&StL itself referred to 4-8-4 locomotives as Dixie's while most other railroads called them Northerns.
1957 - L&N merges NC&SL.
post 1957 - The L&N, itself controlled by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in the same fashion that the L&N controlled the NC&StL, was eventually merged into the CSX freight rail conglomerate, which continues to use the original NC&StL tracks between Nashville, Chattanooga and Atlanta.
1982-86 - Seaboard Coast line, C&O. and L&N combine as CSX.
2004 - A former NC&StL diesel locomotive, GP7 710, was restored to her original paint scheme by the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

NC&SLmap
Nashville Chattanooga and St. Louis timetable map - May 1937


Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- April 1940

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Copyright Richard Parks, April 29, 2009