The Middle Tennessee and Alabama Railway

Fayetteville, TN to Jeff, AL

In 1887, the Decatur, Chesapeake and New Orleans Railway was chartered to build a line from Gallatin, TN to Aberdeen, MS. However, only 37 miles of track was actually laid between Fayetteville, TN and Lax, AL. The railroad soon faced financial trouble, and the Middle Tennessee and Alabama Railway purchased the line in 1893 in hopes to complete the line as far as Decatur, AL. The MT&A only got as far as a station called "Jeff", just northwest of Hunstville, AL. In 1897, the line was purchased by the Nashville, Chattanooga and Saint Louis Railroad, part of the Louisville and Nasvhille family of lines.

Hard times befell the NC&StL during the Great Depression, and the line was abandoned in 1929, with the rails removed in the early 1930s. The respective rights-of-way were sold to both Tennessee and Alabama, each transforming the railbed into a state road, "Old Railroad Bed Road", which is still there today. Otherwise, no evidence remains of this railroad abandoned long ago.

From the rail yard in Fayetteville (where the former The Huntsville Branch of the NC&StL connects), the line followed Elk River to a tributary at Cold Water, TN. It then ran through Taft, TN and south into Alabama. Whistle stops along the way were Elkwood Section, Bobo, Ready Section, Madison Crossroads (Toney), Harvest, Clark and finally Capshaw.

The MT&A tell-tales are still in place even after the right-of-w...
The MT&A tell-tales are still in place even after the right-of-way was converted to automobile use as "Old Railroad Bed Road". Sumner's crossing over the Elk River is in the background. Picture taken circa-1940s. Photo by Thomas E. Bailey, Submitted by Phillip Kennedy.
*Top:* The MT&A passenger station at Coldwater, TN, shortly afte...
Top: The MT&A passenger station at Coldwater, TN, shortly after abandonment. Bottom: The MT&A crosses over the Elk River at Sumner's Crossing, a two-span through-truss bridge. Photo by Thomas E. Bailey, Submitted by Phillip Kennedy.

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