It’s February 7th, 2019 and we’re trackside once again in the Volunteer State. We would be spending time along Norfolk Southern’s former Central Division, now known as the “Alabama Division,” on both the K&O District and the CNO&TP just west of Knoxville, Tennessee.
The Norfolk Southern K&O District crosses over top the CSX KD Subdivision at Dossett Yard. It’s rare, but sometimes, trains from both railroads occasionally meet here. We were fortunate to have stumbled upon CSX Q542 at Dossett, but would spend the rest of our day on Norfolk Southern after receiving word that 23G, the southbound Louisville, KY to Norfolk, VA intermodal train would be taking the K&O District east around 10AM.
The Chestnut Ridge and Copper Ridge Grades are located between Clinton and Powell, Tennessee on the K&O District and are known for being two of the steepest active mainline railroad grades on the Norfolk Southern System. Chestnut Ridge’s peak is 3.53% near Pat Shawn Drive, immediately followed by Copper Ridge which has an average gradient of 1.7% over its entire length. These two intense gradients pose a difficult challenge for train crews along the K&O and helpers are almost always required for trains to make it over the grade.
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