BIG SOUTH FORK TENNESSEE: Rails To Trails; Along The O&W

Real Estate Agent with Tennessee Recreational Properties

Riders Crossing Former O&W Railroad Trestle BridgeThe O&W railbed is a popular trail ride in Big South Fork National ParkOne of my favorite trail rides in the Big South Fork National Park is along the former railbed of the Oneida and Western Railroad, a ride we call simply "the O&W."  Defunct railbeds all over the country have provided thousands of miles, reclaimed for use as bike trails, hiking trails, walking trails, running trails and equestrian trails. 

In the early 1900s, large tracts of land rich with virgin timber and coal lay in what is now the Big South Fork National Park. The remote and rugged terrain from which these resources had to be extracted rendered them almost inaccessible. Both the Stearns (KY) Coal and Lumber Company and the Tennessee Coal and Lumber Company began building railroads for the purpose of transporting these raw materials.

Construction started on the O&W Railroad in November, 1913 at Oneida, Tennessee and was completed to Bridge No. 6 near the Big South Fork River (10.2 miles) in June, 1915. Five more miles extended the line to Gernt in 1916. Another three miles was completed that year to Christian. It took two years to complete the 6.8 miles to Stockton. And, in 1921, the line reached five more miles into East Jamestown. A total of thirty miles! 

The Jamestown Railroad Station was built by the Oneida & Western Railroad when rail service was extended another seven miles past "the end of the line" in 1930. It was hoped that the addition of passengers and cargo to and from Jamestown, Tennessee, the Fentress County seat, would increase the  profitability of the  line. Passengers could board a train in Jamestown for the 37-mile trip to Oneida, where they could connect to the Southern Railway.

 It was a case of "too little, too late," though, as the advent of automobiles took its toll on the railroad's passenger service. Rail freight service was also meeting competition from trucks that were now able to traverse the new highways and bridges constructed in the early 1930s by Teddy Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps.

Jamestown Tennessee: Derelict O&W Railroad Depot

The last train left this station on March 2, 1954. The Jamestown depot was sold and used as a feed business. Today, animal feed is sold through the Fentress Farmers Co-op and the old depot stands derelict.

For information on horse properties and big SouthFork real estate, go to


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Real Estate General Information
Tennessee Fentress County Jamestown Big South Fork
Horse Property Specialists
Equestrian Properties
Farms, Ranches, Acreages and Land
big south fork
trail riding
jamestown tennessee
big south fork tennessee
big south fork national park
ow railbed

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Melissa Polce
ERA, Wilkinson Real Estate Charlotte - Huntersville, NC
Lake to Land, I've Got It Covered!

wow, that just looks great, we love to go to parks and hike, I think the 3.3 mile one would be perfect! Thanks

Sep 10, 2009 07:01 AM #1
Leslie Helm
Tennessee Recreational Properties - Jamestown, TN
Real Estate For Trail Riders

I don't think you'd like the's a LOOOOONG downhill to the river. Once you get there, the old railbed runs along the river and it is level and breathtakingly beautiful but then you have to come back up the LOOOOONG uphill! Best to ride this one and let the horse do the work....LOL. There are many gorgeous hiking trails here, and horses for hire. Come for a visit won't want to leave!

Sep 10, 2009 07:16 AM #2
Sharon & Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette, IN - Lafayette, IN
West Lafayette homes for sale


Are their any plans to attempt to preserve the old train depot in the picture?  It would be a shame for the building to be torn down or slowly decay due to neglect.


Sep 10, 2009 08:14 AM #3
Leann Houston


Sep 10, 2009 10:52 AM #4
Leslie Helm
Tennessee Recreational Properties - Jamestown, TN
Real Estate For Trail Riders

Sharon and Leann....Hi. Thanks for commenting.

Sargeant Alvin C. York was a famous sharpshooter in WWI; Gary Cooper portrayed him in a 1941 movie, "Sargeant York. He is from this area and he founded a school so that poor children could receive an education. The building fell into a terrible state of disrepair and was all but un-recoverable, with a new school had been built next to it. There was a bitter and prolonged battle between the faction that wanted it torn down and the faction that wanted it preserved for its historic value. I'm pleased to report that the preservationists won and the work is well underway! But I don't think there are any plans to rescue and restore this lovely building, the old train depot.

Leann, you may not know that your comment has to be at least 50 characters in order to count for points.

Sep 10, 2009 12:56 PM #5
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Leslie Helm

Real Estate For Trail Riders

Additional Information