The Gregarious Railfan
The Rat Hole
Norfolk Southern's historic route from Cincinnati OH to Chattanooga TN
GPS:  Cincinnati's Gest Yard: N 39.1101, W 84.5411  (Northern terminus)
Chattanooga's Debutts Yard: N 35.05779, W 85.27002  (Southern terminus)

Scanner: (?) NS  160.245 [9], 160.830 [48], 160.950 [56], 161.310 [80], 161.370 [84], 161.460 [90] maybe

Railroad:  Norfolk Central Division, CNO&TP Sub (aka CNOT Sub)
North of Danville it is the First District CNO&TP.
From Danville south to Oakdale, TN it is the Second District CNO&TP. (technically this district is the 'Rat Hole'
where all the tunnels were, but the entire rout carries the nickname)
The Third District is from Oakdale to Chattanooga.

Railfan Access:   Access in lots of towns along Route US-27. But some spots are not conducive to railfanning.
Cincinnati Union Terminal
             Danville, KY  (dividing line for districts 1 & 2)  The Danville Station on Main Street
              looks inviting but is posted "no trespassing"
             Somerset, KY
Burnside, KY  
             Whitley City, KY & Stearns KY and other Kentucky towns along US-27 so many have
              limited parking or views
             From Cumberland Falls south to the Tennessee border, the CNO&TP is never more than a
              mile or so away from US-27
             Oneida, TN along Depot St and US-27  
             Oakdale,TN  (dividing line for Districts 2 & 3)
             Chattanooga, TN
             Quite frankly, the best way to fan the line is to go out and explore it. Some of the
             locations you just need to go WAY out of your way to get to, but with the high volume
             it is usually worth the trip.

Description: The ‘Rat Hole’ is the nickname for Norfolk Southern’s busy main line through Kentucky which once had
many tunnels, most of which have been daylighted, or bypassed in the first six decades of the 20th century, with wide
cuts to accommodate heavy, double stack intermodal traffic. The nickname once aptly characterized the middle section
of the CNO&TP, where 27 tunnels helped the line traverse 160 miles of rugged mountain country between Wilmore,
Ky., and Emory Gap, Tenn.

TRAINS Magazine had a feature article December 2013:  "Rat Hole Revisited"  Probably the most complete story of
the history of 'daylighting ' the "Rat Hole"
90 Years to "Daylight"  by SOUTHERN RAILFAN
Some day!
TRAINS - Norfolk Southern's Rat Hole  Full access for TRAINS subscribers only
A weekend on the Norfolk Southern CNO&TP 2nd District, the Rathole!!! by LinemanRailfain Includes a
Roadrailer at the end of the video
Note: The reason this page is a description and not a Mini Guide is that as stated below,
many if not most access places are not conducive to real railfanning. This is Appalachia,
many times even in the larger towns there is no parking, no amenities, and lots of no
trespassing signs. A hard core foamer or rail photographer might enjoy it for there are still
plenty of trains and beautiful scenery, but...
Many more videos on You Tube
Denver Todd is The Gregarious Railfan
Todd Sestero publishes the RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.   
Disclaimer: I have not been to this location. Info is from the internet.  I would welcome pictures, additions, or
corrections to this page. Pictures and new info will be credited on the page. e-mail me at
Clik on Thumbnails to enlarge
Map 1
Map 3
Map 2
Map 4
Some of the locations on these maps are cities and towns which can be found on roadmaps,
and some of the locations are railroad timetable places which will not be found on roadmaps.
These excellent Maps are
courtesy of Todd Sestero