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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

O&W Bridge - Big South Fork

O&W Bridge - Big South Fork

The Oneida & Western Railroad ran from Oneida, TN westward to Jamestown. The primary goal was to haul coal. Despite being a short line, the railroad had many difficult gorges and hollows to navigate. One such construction project was the bridge you see here, which crosses the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River, at a picturesque spot of river rapids. This bridge is a Whipple Through truss built by the Nashville Bridge Co. and placed here in 1915

Railroad Travel was officially abandoned along the line in 1953. Later on, much of the area was encompassed by the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and Eventually this bridge became more easily accessible. To get here, start in Oneida and head west. Specifically find O&W road, which out of town becomes a 6 mile long gravel road that is the old O&W railroad bed. The National Park Service converted this bridge into something you can drive over. With its nice wooden planks, it was scary enough to walk across as it creaks under your feet and you can see the gaps in the wood. I couldn't imagine driving over it, but a few SUVs and trucks did in the hour I was here.

Finally, here's a link to a video of the area:

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