Singing In The Rain
Debra and Dave Vanderlaan
Photograph - Photography
an old railroad track
in the Smoky Mountains
near Granny Squirrel, North Carolina,
the rain-slick rails and cross-ties
led into a tunnel dynamited
into the mountain.
This area is so historical
with the old railway,
an old trestle in near-by Murphy,
North Carolina, and is the beginning
of the Trail of Tears
for the Cherokee Indians
who were relocated out west.
The tracks between Andrews and Murphy are still in place but have not been in use since the late 1980s after Norfolk Southern decided to close the leg because of a lack of freight traffic. When the railroad began eying the rest of the Murphy Branch past Dillsboro for closure the state of North Carolina stepped in and purchased the tracks to keep the right-of-way alive. It later sold the tracks to the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad which had leased them from the state for a number of years. This section of the Murphy Branch has the distinction of being the first stretch of track the state ever purchased in modern times and began a long running practice for the state of North Carolina that eventually became the state's "Rails to Trails" program which maintains railroad rights-of-way for future use.
The Murphy Branch was extremely important to Southwestern North Carolina in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as it opened up the isolated and rural mountains west of Asheville to the outside world allowing easy travel and improved commerce. It can easily be said with confidence that these tracks made Western North Carolina what it is today.
August 25th, 2011
Viewed 853 Times - Last Visitor from Boulder, CO on 07/19/2015 at 12:03 AM