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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Post Card Tuesday: Hiawasee Loop

When L&N decided to build a line from Marietta, Ga to Etowah, TN, they experienced some geographical challenges on what became known as the Hook and Eye Line. The route from Farmer to Copperhill was particularly hilly and it resulted in what is depicted in this post card, the Hiawasee Loop, or "The Eye." Railroads can not have more than about a 1.5% grade, and to make it north of Farmer, the engineers determined the best way about it was a trestle leading to Bald Mountain, then a counter-clockwise loop around the mountain almost twice until it reached a low enough altitude to travel alongside the Hiawasee River southwest to Copperhill.

L&N eventually became part of CSX and they continued to use this loop until 2001 when they abandoned the track. The area is inaccessible by car or pretty much any means other than train. The good news is the Tennessee valley Railway has an excursion train that goes through the loop on occasion. Farmer and the loop are both in Polk County, which is the Southeastern-most county in the state. The loop is literally 500 feet from the North Carolina border.

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