Archive for Nemo

Bridging Ruin – Nemo Camelback Truss Bridge

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2011 by atomicimages

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about bridge design or theory. While I generally photograph abandoned mines, structures, and tunnels I thought I would broaden my scope a little but and give some love to this beautiful old bridge in Nemo, TN. Nemo is just outside of the tiny town of Wartburg (named after Wartburg Castle in Germany oddly enough), and is in the same general area as the abandoned Tunnel 24 discussed previously in this blog. In fact, the road that used to cross here (and its newer counterpart) runs over both the old and new railroad tunnels.

Sadly, this bridge has obviously passed its useful lifespan and has been replaced by an ugly, bland modern (though undoubtedly safer) version. For info on this bridge I turned to the hands down best old bridge site on the web which I have referenced often in the past.  The page dedicated to this bridge can be found here as well as an interesting historic photo.

If you don’t feel like clicking over there I will post the facts on the bridge here but all credit for the reasearch goes to Calvin Sneed who authored the page on Bridgehunter, NOT me. The images in this post, however,  are mine indicated by my watermark and cannot be used without permission. Anyways here the facts:

Camelback through truss bridge over Emory River on Catoosa Road
Nemo (unincorporated), Morgan County, Tennessee
Open to pedestrians
Future prospects
Preserved as part of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Cumberland Trail System
Built 1929 after this and nearby bridges at Oakdale and Deermont were destroyed by floods in 1906
Atlantic Bridge Co.
One 180-foot Camelback, two 149 foot Camelback spans. Each span is a pin-connected Camelback through truss.. pin connections were very unusual on a span of this type in 1929, normally they were on earlier truss spans. The two 149-foot truss spans, the second incline contains only one panel, while the 180-span has the more typical two-panel incline. West abutment is masonry, east abutment is masonry with a concrete camp, denoting they were built for the 1906 spans. Top chords, end posts and veticals are channels with lacing. Bottom chords and diagonals are paired rectilinear eyebars, and the counters are single cylindrical tie rods.
Length of largest span: 180 ft.
Total length: 481 ft.
Deck width: 18.7 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+36.06859, -84.66237   (decimal degrees)
36°04’07” N, 84°39’45” W   (degrees°minutes’seconds”)
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/710520/3994085 (zone/easting/northing)

Though it is showing its age in the form of rust ad a crumbling deck, it is in remarkably good shape to be 81 years old and will hopefully remain as a pedestrian bridge and landmark for a long time to come. They also built the parking at the Nemo recreation area under the east end of the bridge so your car will stay cool wile you are up checking out this fine specimen, of which very few remain. Catch them while you can.

Into the Dark – CNO&TP Tunnel No. 24

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2011 by atomicimages

I have a strange thing for large holes in the Earth. Mines, caves, tunnels; there is just something fascinating about being deep in the underground with tons and tons of rock above you. Tunnels are important to our modern transportation networks and we take them for granted with modern day tunnel boring machines and other precision equipment, but it wasn’t always that easy and sometimes it’s nice to reflect on the fact that men used to dig tunnels with sticks of dynamite and brute force. In fact the banner at the top of this page, if it displays correctly on your computer, is a testament to hand hewn tunnels. It is an image I took inside the next tunnel up the line, No. 23., and its rough cut nature. It is solid rock and was entirely blasted with dynamite, the subject of this post however was laid through softer ground and is brick lined.

The CNO&TP Backstory

This history sets the stage for this and other disused tunnels up and down the modern day CNO&TP that I have visited. Let’s begin by saying that there were once 27 tunnels but now the line only has three, a vast improvement for the railroads engineering department as tunnels are a pain in the butt to maintain. The tunnels that exist today are new (by new I mean built in the 60’s) except one which was simply enlarged. Over the years the line has undergone countless reroutes to bypass tunnels or generally improve the flow of the railroad. Today it is a hardcore line seeing 50+ trains in a 24 hour period and works as it was intended when it was started in 1869. Officially it is the Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway and is owned by the city of Cincinnati through a long term lease agreement with Norfolk Southern Corp. (formerly Southern Railway). It is the only long-haul freight railroad line in the U.S. that operates in this manner; the current lease expires in 2026. In this way it is considered a subsidiary of Norfolk Southern. Despite the name it does not run to Texas, New Orleans, or the Pacific but does originate in Cincinnati. It could be more correctly named the Cincinnati and Chattanooga as that is where it officially ends. It was once built to a gauge (width) of 5ft which is actually wider than today’s track but the tunnels were abandoned because they were too small for today’s trains, strangely ironic huh. The whole line was re-gauged to the current standard of 4ft 8½in. in 13 hours 1886 along with the rest of the country’s railroads. A number of the tunnels were bypassed during a wholesale elimination period between 1961 and 1963 including No.24.

Examining the Tunnel

I have always loved trains and I have known about this location for a number of years as this area is a serene and scenic train watching spot. There were originally three tunnels here but now there are three abandoned and two active. Trains here sneak up on you and it’s as if they just come screaming out of the tunnels in a wave of diesel smoke.  I have visited plenty of times but this past October I came simply to visit the old tunnels as this one especially is decaying and won’t be around forever. They were built to last but nature always takes her toll and all of man’s creations eventually fall into ruin. No. 24 was completed around 1880 and is lined with stone and arched in brick, thousands of bricks. In fact, the bricks are several layers thick so lots and lots of brick laying was done upside down on the ceiling in a dark tunnel before electric lights.

Decaying north portal.

Some time later cement was spread over the bricks presumably to keep them from falling off the ceiling but it too has fallen away in places revealing the brick and making for a neat look. In the future I will post a few pics of No.23 separately along with other tunnels I have visited. This tunnel is located at Nemo, TN and is part of the Obed Wild and Scenic River. Nemo is a nice remote area between Wartburg and Catoosa and features a picnic area and a nice campground as well as hiking trails. There is also an old road bridge adjacent to the new one that you can walk out on over the river. I have always been fond of the Obed Gorge and its large rock cliffs.To get to Nemo take Catoosa Rd. out of Wartburg for a few miles until you rapidly descent down into the Gorge and come to the Nemo river bridge. To access the south portal turn left on a somewhat rough dirt road right before the river bridge and travel down past a kayak launch and some primitive campsites to the current railroad grade. If you look to the right and the leaves are off the trees you may see the decaying bridge abutment of the 21 mile long Morgan and Fentress RR which was destroyed by a large flood in 1929 and again in 1940 when it was finally abandoned. Nemo, meaning “no one” in Latin, was once a sizable town and was where the two railroads met prior to 1940. Anyway, the old tunnel is in a deep cut to the left of the new tunnel. The trains on this track come frequently so be careful and stay away from the tracks as they appear suddenly out of the tunnel. The south end is flooded with a foot or so of water depending on how wet it has been lately. Hearty souls in a high clearance vehicle can take a ride through the tunnel and yes the water is deeper in some spots but the tunnel dries out at the midway point and makes for an interesting trip. Just make sure you have your windows rolled up or you might get rather wet.

The north portal isn’t fairing as well as the south and looks as if it will fall off eventually. In places the portal is separated from the lining of the tunnel and you can see up above the lining. This end seems to have more ice around it in the winter which likely contributes to its poor condition. If you don’t feel up to the drive through the flooded tunnel there is another rougher road directly across the paved road you came in on originally that leads to the north portal and more primitive campsites as well as tunnel 23. It has some huge rocks and would be safer to hike than drive, and that comes from experience. This concludes our look at 24, an interesting artifact of a bygone day of railroading. More tunnels to come in the future. Nemo is certainly worth a visit just for the beauty of nature herself and hiking along the high bluffs with the river gurgling far below can’t be beat.

*****4/3/11 UpdateI just recently learned that the decaying north portal collapsed a few months back and the number stone is missing. this is a sad but expected development as the portal was already completely separated when I visited in October. I will return to get new pics as soon as I find the time.