By Betsy Thorpe
1918 Railroad Map Showing The Set Tracks Called Dutchman’s Curve
According To This Map White Bridge Road, was called New Bridge Road in 1918
In 2007 a group of railroad historians and local history buffs formed the Dutchman’s Curve Project to research and document the events surrounding the Great Nashville Rail Disaster Of 1918, also known as the Dutchman’s Curve Train Wreck. Terry Coats, President of the Nashville Chattanooga Preservation Society, is one of the group’s most active members.
Last week Coats visited the National Archives II in College Park Maryland to research “Depots On The NC&StL”, a book he is currently writing. In the course of his research he discovered an ICC valuation map circa 1918. The map depicts a set of tracks on the NC&Stl line known “Dutchman’s Curve”. The discovery of the map is an important find for the project because shortly after the train wreck in 1918 the tracks were slightly straightened making it difficult to determine the wreck’s exact point of impact. Now by comparing the information on the official ICC report filed in August of 1918 to the markings on the valuation map the members of the Dutchman’s Curve Project will soon be able to answer with certainty the question they are most often asked, “where did the collision actually occur”?