“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Speers Ferry in Scott County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

The Copper Creek Railroad Trestles

The Copper Creek Railroad Trestles Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 5, 2010
1. The Copper Creek Railroad Trestles Marker
Inscription.  The Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio Railway built the taller of the two structures which stand before you in 1908. At 167 feet over the Copper Creek-Clinch River junction, the Copper Creek Viaduct was then one of the tallest railroad bridges in the eastern United States. Construction of this trestle - and many other bridges and fifty-five tunnels - by the CC&O opened up coal deposits in Virginia and Kentucky via a superbly engineered direct rail route to numerous cities in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. Prior to its completion, alternate rail routes to these markets were over one hundred miles longer and featured some of the steepest grades in the United States.

More than a century later this viaduct is still a vital link in the rail network of Clinchfield's successor company, CSX Transportation. An average of 18 to 24 coal trains currently pass daily over this bridge, keeping the lights on in such major cities as Charlotte, Columbia, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Charleston. Northbound coal empties are returning to the rich coal seams of Eastern Kentucky, Virginia, and Southern West Virginia. Additional trains carrying general merchandise,
Markers at the Clinch River Pull-off image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
2. Markers at the Clinch River Pull-off
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grain, plastics, lumber, chemicals, and aggregates also pass over this trestle.

The lower bridge was constructed by the South Atlantic & Ohio Railroad around 1890 and is currently owned by Norfolk Southern Corporation. Close to one hundred per cent of the business handled by Norfolk Southern consists of both empty and loaded coal cars to and from Virginia coal mines. Contractual agreements between CSX and Norfolk Southern, though they are competitors, allow each to use the other's tracks, so trains of both railroads can often be seen on either of the Copper Creek trestles. Note the CSX trains on both trestles in the photograph to the left.
Erected by Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation and Scott County Virginia.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical year for this entry is 1908.
Location. 36° 39.272′ N, 82° 44.809′ W. Marker is in Speers Ferry, Virginia, in Scott County. Marker is on Orby Cantrell Highway (U.S. 58), on the right when traveling north. Located at a pull off providing a view of the Clinch River and railroad bridges. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Duffield VA 24244, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Natural Tunnel: Railroading and Recreation (here, next to this marker); The Wilderness Road Crossing of the Clinch River
CSX Trestle image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 5, 2010
3. CSX Trestle
The taller trestle rises well above the trees. The lower trestle, that of Norfolk Southern, is barely visible through the trees.
(here, next to this marker); Speers Ferry (within shouting distance of this marker); Carter’s Fort (approx. 2.8 miles away); The Natural Tunnel Route (approx. 3.2 miles away); a different marker also named Carter’s Fort (approx. 4.6 miles away); Scott County / Lee County (approx. 8.1 miles away); First Settlers (approx. 9.1 miles away in Tennessee). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Speers Ferry.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 23, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,777 times since then and 113 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 23, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

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May. 18, 2021