Copper Creek Railroad Double Trestles: Clinchport, Virginia
Posted by: PersonsMD
N 36° 39.279 W 082° 44.812
17S E 343863 N 4057983
Quick Description: Two trestles crossing copper creek and the clinch river. Norfolk Southern is on the bottom and CSX is the tall trestle.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 1/2/2009 9:38:16 PM
Waymark Code: WM5G56
The Marker Reads:
the Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio Railway built the taller of the two structures which stand before you in 1908. At 167 feet over the Copper Creek - Clinch River junction, the Copper Creek Viaduct was then one of the tallest railroad bridges in the eastern United States. Construction of this trestle -- and many other bridges and fifty five tunnels -- by the CC&O opened up coal deposits in Virginia and Kentucky via a superbly engineered direct rail route to numerous cities in the Carolinas, Georga, and Florida. Prior to its compltion, alternate rail routes to these markets were over on hundred miles longer and featured some of the steepest grades in the United States.
More than a century later this viaduct is still a vital link in the rail network of Clinchfield's successor company, CSX transportation. An average of 18 to 24 coal trains currently pass daily over this bridge, keeping the lights on in such major cities as Charlotte, Columbia, Jacksonville, Orelando, and Charleston. Northbound coal empties are returning to the rich coal seams of Eastern Kentucky, Virginia, and Southern West Virginia. Additional trains carrying general merchandise, grain, plastics, lumber, chemicals, and aggregates also pass over the trestle.
The lower bridge was constructed by the Southern Atlantic & Ohio railroad around 1890 and is currently owned by Norfolk Southern corporation. Close to one hundred per cent of the business is handled by Norfolk Southern, though they are competitors, allow each to use the others tracks, so trains of both railroads can often be seen on either of the Copper Creek trestles.
Making a straight shot through Clinch Mountain took more than just a long tunnel. It required a short bridge on the north side, a short tunnel, and then the famed Copper Creek Trestle. Southern and the highway department took the easy way out by having let a river cut a path through. This little detour took the V&SWRR, now NS,30 miles out of it's way. The V&SWRR also crosses Copper Creek but it's trestle is dwarfed by the Clinchfield's. This is not a condemnation of the V&SWR, but rather just an example of the Clinchfield's determination to lay a straight track!
The diminutive NS trestle is to the right. This small trestle built by the V&SWRR is part of the 30 mile avoidance by the V&SWRR to penetrate Clinch Mountain. NS & CSX have joint trackage rights over these trestles.
The highest trestle is over Copper Creek in southwest Virginia, and is known as the Copper Creek viaduct. From the surface of the stream to the track or rails on top of the trestle the height is 185 feet, and its length is 1,160 feet.
Bridge Usage: Railroad
Bridge Type: Not listed
Moving Bridge: Not listed
Please provide a photo taken at the time of visit.