Crew Change (Southern)

“CREW CHANGE” by Tom Rock
Copyright © 1990, T.D.R. Productions
Sheet: 18″ x 27″ / Image: 14″ x 24″

With her relief valve hailing the heavens, Ps-4 No. 1400 leads train No. 26, the “Memphis Special” into Southern Railway’s Cleveland, Tennessee depot. Ms-4 No. 4880 bound for Cohutta, Georgia looks on as the Tennessee and Georgia crews change, in this tranquil scene of days gone by.

In 1852, the Chattanooga, Harrison, Georgetown and Charleston Railroad Company was given permission to extend its connection from Chattanooga to Charleston in Bradley County, Tennessee. In 1854, the charter of this line was added to the East Tennessee and George Railroad, and by 1858 the line was completed and in operation through Cleveland. Bradley Counties’ economic fortunes were heightened considerably with the completion of this line, and the line from Dalton, Georgia to Knoxville.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, the fact that Cleveland was important to the national war effort was made evident by the telegram sent by President Lincoln to General Henry W. Halleck on June 30, 1862: “To take and hold the railroad at or east of Cleveland, Tennessee, I think is as fully as important as the taking and holding of Richmond.”

The fall of 1869 saw the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad merging with the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad until July 7, 1894 when these two railroads were absorbed by the Southern Railway System. With passenger and freight traffic through Cleveland and Bradley County on the rise, the decision was made that a larger depot at Cleveland would definitely have to be constructed.

On September 8, 1910, Division Superintendent R.E. Simpson made the announcement in Knoxville to Agent H.L. Davis, that the Southern Railway would be building a fine passenger station in the city within the next 6 months. In the spring of 1911 the depot in Cleveland was officially opened.

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