Norton to Hobbs Island
This abandoned line forms the southern part of The Huntsville Branch. It ends at Hobbs Island on the Tennessee River, where trains were loaded onto railroad ferries. These ferries would then float down the Tennessee River to Guntersville Landing, where the trains would be transferred back to land for the last leg of the trip to Gadsden, AL.
There were a number of switchbacks in the area due to the steep grading necessary to reach the level of the river. The segment of line between Norton and Huntsville is still operated by the Port of Huntsville Railroad.
Thanks to Phillip Kennedy for contributing information.
My grandfather was born @ Hobbs Island, Madison Co AL. He was born in 1893. I would like to know what was going on at Hobbs Island then to cause his parents to move there. His father was from Marshal Co. AL. Was there a farming plantation there maybe? I know of this railroad. I know so little of his life & parents. It is amazing but I have not been able to find much at all on the net. Thank You, Pam
Pam, he may have settled in Clouds Cove. There was a place there called Clarksville Landing, on the Tennessee river, close to the mouth of the Flint river. It was a trading post & Cherokee indians visited the owner, Mr. James Clark.
Go to topomaps & you might locate where it was. Cotton was loaded onto barges there or close by, at Ditto Landing.
There is an old Yard Limit sign right near the end of the Huntsville & Madison County Railroad's (HMCR) line.
The switch shown is actually just north of the Hobbs Island Rd. crossing. I was out at that crossing today and I have proof. The tracks that go off to the right are for a spur that leads to what appears to be a factory.
To freebrick: The L&N line runs from just north of Clinton Ave. more or less parallel to South Memorial Pwky. past Hobbs Rd. and past the old Coyne Cylinder factory at Green Cove and Chaney Thompson Rd. to the Praxis Air factory just off Hobbs Island Rd. I think it connects to that portion of track you saw, but I haven't checked it myself. That line is active these days, with an engine hauling one to three cars up and down the line almost daily.
Back in April, somebody derailed a Trackmobile and a few cars at Hobbs Island Road on the HMCRR.
The old Sage Brush Special still ventures South and back to the old NORTON, now Gobain,plant but in olden days serviced LINDE CORP and several lumber companies along the way... People don't realize that there were freight stations at Lily Flagg and Hobbs Island at Parson's Store. There is a still standing Sears Roebuck catalog order complete house still standing on Hobbs Island Road.