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Trip Report

Southern Bills: Our Georgia & Tennessee Trip

June 24-29, 2004
Section 2 of 4

Photos by Alan Burden and Kevin Korell

(Click small photos to see larger; all larger photos are less than 46K)

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In St. Elmo, the track starts out almost level. When the 15-minute trip begins, the incline car begins its climb up the mountain, while at the same time, another car begins moving down from the upper station. As the car from the bottom gets higher, the track gets steeper. Like all incline rides, two cars pass each other at a short double-track section bounded by two spring switches located at the halfway point of the ride.

The odd-shaped Incline vehicle. From the Lookout Mountain upper station, a view of gauntlet track. Cars about to pass each other left-handed at halfway point of the ride.

When the vehicles passed, the operators in each one quickly and skillfully switched positions, so that we then had the operator who had taken the other car down from the top of the mountain.

The two cars pass. Single track territory begins halfway down the mountain.

As we got higher, we could see the landscape of Chattanooga and environs. It was a cloudy day, so we could not see much beyond the city. But we realized how steep the track was by the fact that we were looking out a window in the car's roof to see straight ahead at the city.

We also noticed that from the center point to the top, the operation has gauntlet track. There are actually three rails; the center one is shared by both cars.

Once at the Lookout Mountain station, we got off and began to walk around. Bill suggested we go over to Point Park, which is located at the very northern tip of the mountain. Worth the nominal entrance fee, it offers views in three directions around the base of the ridge.

Chapter 4.1.2: Point Park

Besides being a wonderful sightseeing location, Point Park also commemorates two Civil War battles that took place in Chattanooga and Missionary Ridge. Both were turning points in the war that forced Confederate forces to retreat. The park has some small museum buildings and also a cannon that was used in the war.

After Point Park, we caught the next Incline ride down the mountain. On this trip, the crews did not change places at the halfway point; they finished the rides that they had started. When we got back to the St. Elmo station, we walked around the area briefly and then returned to Bill's car for our cross-town trip to the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Once downtown, we had some time to kill, so Bill gave us a brief driving tour of the city. We then returned to the Choo Choo, and enjoyed its railroad themed attractions.

Chapter 4.2: Chattanooga Choo Choo

Michael walks down wide paths at Choo Choo attraction. Steam train 'for show' at the Choo Choo. Tennessee Valley's own passenger coach.

The Chattanooga Choo Choo is first and foremost a hotel complex. It's a sprawling Holiday Inn that has not only conventional hotel rooms, but also rooms aboard old passenger rail cars. Alan found it very interesting that the doors at the ends of the trains had locks for contemporary hotel room plastic card keys instead of regular locks that would have been expected on trains of that era.

A long way from Boston, an MBTA MU. Contemporary card-access door lock seems out of place on rail car. 'Dinner In The Diner' #4546 at the Chattanooga Choo Choo attraction.

Secondly, the Choo Choo is one of two former active rail stations which served the city. Though there was never any train by that name, the Chattanooga Choo Choo became a tourist attraction based on railroading, of course paying homage to the Glenn Miller song by the same name.

Continued in next section

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