Discussion in 'Birmingham Subdivision' started by mike, Jul 1, 2001.
Bessemer Branch - Birmingham Sub, List of Station & Mile Poles
List of Station & Mile Poles
Pratt City Bessemer, AL List of Stations and Mile Poles
Pratt City Bessemer, AL.-
M.P. Station--- Blt.- Aban. P.C.-
0.0 Pratt City- 1888 1983 KCB&M
1.2 Ensley---- 1888 1983 "
7.3 Woodward 1888 1983 "
10.8 Bessemer 1888 1983 KCM&B
1) KCM&B-Kansas City, Memephis & Birmingham RR (3)
1) Connects with Birmingham Sub, Southern Division at Pratt City.
2) Bessemer end-of-line.
Pratt City to Bessemer Branch
Eleven-mile Branch (11.06 miles plus 3.26 miles of sidings and yards) was constructed in 1888 from Pratt City to Bessemer by the Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham Railroad to serve the growing steel industries at Ensley, Fairfield and other locations. This branch served the huge Tennessee Coal and Iron mill at Ensley (a division of the U. S. Steel Company), which produced (among other products) most of the rail used on the Frisco, Thomas Works of Republic Steel Corporation at Fairfield, Butler Manufacturing Company, steel fabricators and the Pullman Car Manufacturing Company at Bessemer. Revenue off of this line was significant and the branch continued to play an important part until the decline of the steel industry and closing of the Pullman Car Manufacturing Plant.
Almost 100% of the rail and OTM (other track material) used on the Frisco came from mills located on this line and the Frisco utilized the Pullman Company as much as possible when procuring new rolling stock. This line was owned and operated by the Frisco with the Seaboard AirLine and Illinois Central as tenants. Illinois Central accounts were handled by the Frisco
After purchasing the AT&N, Frisco moved unit trains of Venezuelan iron ore from Mobile to this branch. Some 200 special cars were purchased for this service. This business required a reverse move at Pratt City, as the main line connection to the Bessemer Branch faced South. Unfortunately, and as luck would have it, by the time the Frisco needed a northerly facing connection track a large sewage processing plant had been constructed along the main line which would have necessitated a bridge over the sewage plant to complete the connection. Surveys were made, but, with the steel business declining and the opening of the Warrior-Tombigbee River to navigation (with Taxpayers Dollars) the connection was never constructed and subsequently the business was lost.
One interesting tidbit of information; on February 29, 1952, Frisco Mikado 4018, used on the Bessemer local, made the last regular steam run on the Frisco running from East Thomas yard to Bessemer and return.
I now live in MOntgomery, but had the privilege of working as a brakeman on the Frisco in the summers during college. I worked many nights on the "Bessemer Job". If things were busy we would oftentime run down to Ensley, hope in a side track and eat at "The Ensley Grill". Those were the good old days.
Re: Pratt City to Bessemer Branch
Mike - Interesting history. Thanks.
What were the special cars SLSF used on the iron ore move from Mobile up to the branch?
Did you get to work with "Jargo" an "Snooks" Bynon. The Engineer was Bill Worthington when I worked the job as a Fireman back in the 70's.
The Ensley Grill was one good place to eat. Pullman Standard was about the biggest customer by then. I can't put a date on when the Bessemer Branch was abandoned. I was hostling when it happened.
The Bessemer Branch was very dangerous, not only for employees but for people crossing the tracks. During the 5 summer I worked there I recall two significant injuries while we were backing flat cars across a road crossing. We properly marked the crossing but with you waving in some people's face they still are going to go across, even at night, if they do not readily see the train.
Re: Pratt City to Bessemer Branch
The ore hoppers were bought in the early fifties from Pullman Standard. The hoppers were short three bay hoppers with ribs on the sides. The number series were in the 80000 series. Other roads that purchsed excat copies for the same business were Southern, GM&O and L&N.
I will be modeling the steel works at Bessemer, AL. I have one poor photo of the Frisco Bessemer, AL depot. Does anyone have a floor plan for the depot, and can anyone tell me where the depot was located in Bessemer,AL. I have contacted the Greene County Historical Society and the town of Bessemer, AL, and no one knows where the Depot was located.
You were in Alabama
Mr. C. Brandt May sent me a very nice E-mail correcting me about no steel mill in Bessemer, AL; the furnace was at Woodward, AL. So does anyone have a picture of the Frisco depot at Woodward and/or a floor plan?
Separate names with a comma.