This abandoned railway line started out as the Winchester and Alabama Railroad in 1852. While originally planned to run between Decherd (on the Nashville, Chattanooga and Saint Louis Railroad mainline) and Huntsville, AL, to the south, the W&A got as far as Elora, TN before running short of money. Instead of continuing the line southward until running completely out of money, the W&A decided to set their targets to Fayetteville, TN, to the northwest. The American Civil War wreaked havoc on the W&A, and the line went into receivership soon after, being purchased outright by the state of Tennessee. Consequently, the line went dormant.
A few years later in 1877, the NC&StL (then owned by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad), interested in reaching Huntsville, AL, purchased the line from the state of Tennessee, and in 1887, they begin building south from Elora into Alabama as the Elora-Huntsville Railroad. As they approached Huntsville from the northeast, the E-H joined with the Memphis and Charleston Railroad (coming from the east into Huntsville) at Chase, and used the M&C line to reach Huntsville while their line into Huntsville was being completed. Once finished, the switch at Chase, called "Fearn Switch", was removed, with both railroads entering Huntsville on their own lines.
The line between Decherd and just outside of Chase was abandoned in 1985, just a few years after the L&N and Seaboard Coast Line formed the Seaboard System. A segment of the line outside of Chase, about 5 miles to the start of the abandonment, is still in operation by volunteers of the North Alabama Railroad Museum, who operates an excursion train over the line.
See also the southern end of this line from Norton to Hobbs Island.