The Oneida & Western Railroad Bridge over the Big South Fork Cumberland River is located between Jamestown and Oneida, Tennessee. The line served vast pockets of virgin timber and coal mines in the Big South Fork Cumberland River region.
Construction of the Oneida & Western Railroad (O&W) began at the Cincinnati Southern Railway in Oneida on November 4, 1913. 2 By June 1915, the O&W had been completed to the Big South Fork Cumberland River 1 where a Whipple through truss, formerly located along another railroad, was erected over the river by the Nashville Bridge Company. 4
By 1930, the O&W extended as far west as Jamestown. 1 2
At its peak in 1922, the O&W featured up to three daily passenger round trips but the advent of the automobile and improved roadways saw passenger ridership decline between Jamestown and Oneida. 1 Freight use similarly declined as the Great Depression softened coal sales and the last of the virgin timber had been harvested. 2 The railroad began to bleed money in 1930 and by 1936, the railroad operated three daily roundtrips via a passenger motorcar. 1
The Jewell Ridge Coal Company purchased the O&W in 1946 and intended to use the line to access new coal reserves along the Big South Fork Cumberland River and to reach an active mine at Zenith. 1 2 With the exception of a profitable year in 1948, the O&W failed to materialize any substantial revenue with only two or three trains operating per week along the line. 2 The last train operated over the O&W on March 31, 1954. 1 2 3
The crossing was later reused for vehicles, horses, and pedestrians to access trails and campsites within the Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area.
- State: Tennessee
- Route: Oneida & Western Railroad
- Type: Whipple Through Truss
- Status: Active - Automobile
- Griffith, Josetta. “The Oneida & Western Railroad.” FNB Chronicle 8.2 (Winter 1997): n. pag. Print.
- Duke, Jason. “Oneida & Western Railroad.” Tennessee Coal Mining, Railroading & Logging in Cumberland, Fentress, Overton and Putnam Counties. N.p.: Turner Publishing, 2003. 59. Print.
- “Scott County’s History.” Scott County. 22 Apr. 2010 Article.
- “Oneida and Western Railroad Bridge.” Historic Bridges 2010. 22 Apr. 2010 Article.