Yesterday and Today
Welcome to Birmingham Rails, a web site about
railroads and industries in and around Birmingham, Alabama. This page is
intended to share my interests in railroads, history of technology, and my
perception that there is a lot of great railroad history and activity in
I have gathered information and learned a lot about
Birmingham since moving here in 1992. I enjoy telling the story, as I have
learned and interpreted it. In sharing this information on this web page,
I will approach this as though you are visiting my personal library and files,
which are meager. Thus, I will share freely information that I have
obtained in pursuing my personal interest.
I will treat this like a research paper, and intend to
give credit to the source of information, both written and graphic. Photos
and other graphics are borrowed freely from other sources, and I will attempt to
footnote these. The intention is not to "steal" other's
information, but to share what I have in the interest of learning about a
subject that I enjoy. If you were here, we would look at materials
prepared by others. With the internet, there is a new opportunity to share
published information on the Web. It is not my intention to abuse this
privilege, only to share this for the enjoyment of others.
There are many things of interest in the Birmingham area
relating to industrial and railroad history. In recent years the community
has added Railroad Park and Red Mountain Park to go with Ruffner Mountain Nature
Center. In addition there are active rail history groups as well as model
Check out this website and learn more
about Birmingham's rich history as well as some of the local attractions and
organizations that can help you stoke the fires of your interest.
Send email to the author: John
Stewart, author of Birmingham Rails, retired. Like many in the recent economy, the option to retire was there, but the timing of retirement was
largely dictated by business conditions. John has had an enjoyable career
as a civil engineer, and is actively seeking employment of an appropriate type.
Birmingham Rails channel on You Tube and there are now embedded videos in this
Birmingham is home to the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society (R&LHS)
Meetings are held at the
historic Leeds Depot. For more information click on the magazine
cover at the left.
District Model RR is the author's steam era HO scale layout that
seeks to interpret Birmingham's industrial district's remarkable rail
The railroad is
operations oriented using the JMRI software Operations Module.
The NMRA's local Steel
City Division (SCD) meets monthly at Vestavia Hills United Methodist
The SCD is part of the Southeastern
Region (SER) of the NMRA.
Birmingham's Railroad Park is located downtown next to Birmingham's Railroad
Reservation. This is a great amenity to downtown Birmingham and a
part of our continuing development related to our City's industrial heritage.
For current information on the
Red Mountain Park visit the Friends of
Red Mountain Park website. Be sure and check at all the features of
their website, including Dave's Blog and the You Tube links with oral history
video's. Take a look at this website's
section on Red Mountain
Park -- site of former mines.
the Bessemer Hall of History
, one of the area's great resources. Consider becoming a supporting
member -- it is a great value and a worthy historical resource.
The Birmingham Jefferson County Historical Society changed
their name to the Birmingham Jefferson Historical Association. They
have been the prime mover for the opening of a Birmingham History Center. The museum is located in the historic
Young and Vann Building, 1701 1st Avenue North, in Birmingham. This is
convenient to I-65 and located in the same building with the Regional Planning
Commission of Greater Birmingham, Region 2020 and the Auburn University Urban
Design Studio as well as across the street from the Birmingham Police
The Spring 2006
issue of Classic
Trains Magazine has a wonderful view of Birmingham industrial railroad
Fires of Birmingham by Birmingham rail historian Thomas Lawson, Jr.
The November, 2003 issue of Railroad
Model Craftsman Magazine contained a great article on a Birmingham theme
model Railroad, Birmingham,
1950. Additional pictures of Ken's
Newfound Creek Trestle on the Cane Creek
Branch burned 5/23/06. This is a great loss in Jefferson County -- one of the highest RR trestles
in the southeast at about 115 feet tall and about 650 feet long. Originally
built between 1901 and 1903, the trestle was rebuilt at least once to reach its
most recent configuration. The fire
photo is by Paul Kennedy, courtesy of Marshall Farmer. Reports
indicate that fireworks may have caused the fire. The photo of the aftermath is
by Eric McFerrin.