Old Tennessee Central Rwy Stones River Bridge
Photo taken by C Hanchey in March 2012
License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)
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BH Photo #362761
The original bridge was destroyed by a load shift. The load appeared to be some sort of huge centrifugal pump. It was loaded on a Trailer Train flatcar. It shifted and struck the western hip beam, then several beams of the truss, wrecking the bridge. As a fuel tank car was coupled to the TT flatcar, the casting was driven into the end of the tank, puncturing it. The flammable liquid poured out, bursting into flame. This quickly burned the air brake hose, setting the train brakes to emergency stop. The still-emptying fuel tank poured fuel onto the eastern approach timber trestle.
Two giant winches were strapped to huge (sycamore?) trees. The truss bridge was tipped over into the Stones River where it was cut up for scrapping. A replacement bridge was found on a disused railroad line, brought to the river crossing and installed. As it was a few feet different in length, a pier had to be widened. The approach was repaired and the new-to-here bridge returned to service.
This took place sometime around 1970 when I was driving a 1960 MGA 1600. A dirt road led from the end of Brandau Road, which is on the roadbed of the former Lebanon branch of the NC&StL Ry./Tennessee and Pacific RR. The dirt road is now blocked with a fence. Somewhere I have many photos of the incident. If I find them I will be sure to donate them to the Tennessee Central Railway Museum.