NW-Mailing-List Digest, Vol 126, Issue 19 N&W Potts Valley Branch

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Oct 15 10:25:36 EDT 2015

I've studied the C&O Potts Creek Branch and have found a 1910 general properties map of Potts Creek Valley (drawn by Charles Picket Barnett) showing that the C&O/Low Moor Iron Company line was surveyed, and possibly pioneered, to the water shed abutting up to the end of the N&W Potts Valley line.  
All photos we've found so far of the incline trams were those which were straight with two tracks with one full car pulling the empty car back up.  If a turn was needed they had an interchange tipple between the tramways to turn the cars.  They also had mule pulled cars/carts to handle loads on gentle sloping curved lines. 
Al Kresse 
Romeo, Michigan 

Subject: N&W Potts Valley Branch 

I am researching for a book I am writing dealing with the Potts Valley 
Branch of the N&W Railway.  I have gathered much information and am eager 
to learn as much as possible about this line.  I am very new to "railroad 
speech" and if I do not understand or ask you what you meant, I mean it 
with the utmost respect. 

There was an article written by Mr. Will Sarvis in 1995 about the Potts 
Line and the Tri-State Incline lumber company.  This company ran a single 
car inline from the bottom of Potts Mountain near Johns Creek to the top of 
the mountain and then down the other side in an area called Ray's Siding. 
This incline operation was one of only a few that did NOT used a 
cantilevered system of 2 cars, but used 2 steam winches tied to trunks. 

In his article, Mr. Savis indicated that the incline was not straight, but 
included a few curves, one as large as 75% curvature. To keep the cars 
aligned to the track he stated that the company used pulleys in the curves 
to guide the cable which was attached to the cars. 

My question that I have for you guys is this: 

How did they get the cable off the pulley as the car came upon the pulley? 
If there was too much tension, then the car would stop at the pulley. 

Was there an attachment that went around the pulleys with the cable and 
thus the cable would be a loop instead of a single length? 

I am sure this is easy for you guys, but I can't quite grasp how it was 
done, or how it looked and it would make a great piece to add into the book. 

Thanks in advance. 

Jeremy Hatcher 
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