Tag: ‘Bessemer train station’

Maps of Birmingham’s Steelworks and Connecting Railroads

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Map of Birmingham's Steelworks hanging in Bessemer's Hall of History Museum

 

 

Watercolor by Bob Moody of Bessemer's Hall of History Museum (in former train station)

Early in the 20th century, railroads crisscrossed through Birmingham to connect steel mills and transport natural resources mined in our area throughout the country.  I found this old map (above) in Bessemer’s Hall of History Museum, housed in a refurbished and very interesting old train station (seen in watercolor on left), which put it in better perspective for me.  Many of these tracks and industrial sites have been abandoned and incredible images of the decay are posted HERE.  Bob wants to paint a map of the railroads currently in use through Birmingham, but it’s been difficult for us to find information and connect all the dots.  We’ll keep looking but suggestions are WELCOMED!

 

 

Segment of a 1935 Birmingham Railroad Map from www.bhamrails.info

Birmingham Rails is a GREAT site for Birmingham railroad information.  We found this 1935 rail map here This is just one small piece of a very extensive map scanned by Birmingham Rails in 8 1/2 x 11 inch segments and shows the downtown area.

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Birmingham is RICH in railroads!

Friday, March 4th, 2011

With the recent focus on Railroad Park,  we’ve developed a deeper appreciation for the unique and expansive railroad history of Birmingham.   It inspired us to explore a few tracks in our area including

 

those downtown near Morris Avenue, but also those in Bessemer, Irondale, Ensley, Fairfield, and the coal loading rail-to-barge stations in Port Birmingham (also known as Bimingport) on the Warrior River.  We discovered that Birmingham Southern Railroad is one of the busiest railroads in the country.  And through sites called American Rails.com, and American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, Wikipedia, Birmingham Historical Society, and an excellent local hobbyist site called Birmingham Rails, we found a list of all the railroads that continue to serve Alabama as well as the history of our railroads. There are even some interesting maps of the railroad lines.  It’s amazing what we have right here in Birmingham!  Even today, over 20 trains a day come right through Birmingham.  We can be extremely proud of our railroad heritage!

So here’s a preview of Bob’s watercolor tribute to the railroads and industry of Birmingham. I think he makes our railroads look beautiful!  And if you get interested in the railroads like we did, take a tour of the area.   There’s lots to see just within Jefferson County!

Finally, railroads are still a leisurely way to travel and if you have the time, we can personally recommend taking the AmTrak sleeper car from Morris Avenue to Washington D.C.’s Union Station.  You board at Morris Avenue in the afternoon, and arrive the next morning in the heart of Washington D.C. in the completely renovated Union Station.  It’s a great trip for kids AND adults!

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