The Louisville & Nashville
The Louisville & Nashville Railroad Historical Society was organized in 1982 for
the purpose of collecting, organizing, preserving, and sharing information and
material relating to the L&N, its predecessors and its successors. At its
zenith, the L&N was a 6,000-mile railroad system that served 13 states. The
railroad was economically strong throughout its lifetime, operating both freight
and passenger trains in a manner that earned it the nickname, The Old Reliable.
The society is a non-profit educational organization, incorporated in the
Commonwealth of Kentucky, and functions strictly with volunteer members serving
On a summer day in 1967, Cumberland Valley Division Corbin, KY to Norton, VA through freight 865 is in the process of doubling its train to the top of the Hagans, VA Switchback--the only mainline switchback in the nation. The first cut of the train has been shoved down the "Old CV"--the original main line via Cumberland Gap that was first opened for through traffic to Norton in 1891. It was reduced to secondary status after the 1930 completion of the switchback connection via Loyall and Harlan. Beginning seven cars behind Alco C628 1405 and one of the ex-Oro Dam Constructors U25Cs (still in green and gold paint) is a long cut of N&W empty hoppers. At the time, metallurgical coal loaded on the N&W and bound for a steel mill in the Birmingham area was routed this way. The two units will go to the bottom of the switchback at Smiley, and then return with the rear of the train. After setting the front portion over to the rear to make the train whole again, number 865 would be off to Norton. The time-consuming process of doubling a train at Hagans took over an hour.
(Ron Flanary Photo)