Danville to Oakdale (The "Rathole")

In 2012 and 2013, the GRS searchlight signals mounted on signal bridges along this line were replaced by Safetran signals on masts and cantilever signal bridges.

The former Southern line from Louisville trails into the former CNO&TP line from Lexington and Cincinnati from the northwest at SJ Tower (MP 113.3, 40 mph on the turnout), just south of Faulconer, where there are crossovers (40 mph on the crossovers). The CNO&TP line continues south, Two Main Tracks, Automatic Block Signals, Traffic Control, maximum speed 60 mph for intermodals and 50 mph for freights, but with local restriction to 55-50 on curves from MP 113.4 to MP 116.4, past DV Tower, where Yard Limits start with speed limit 30 mph as far as MP 118.3, into Danville (MP 116.6), where the depot is on the east side of the line and the Danville Yard on the west side, turning southwest with double track and crossovers at the end of Yard Limits at South Danville (MP 118.3), and then south again, past a speed restriction to 50 mph on curves between MP 118.8 and MP 119.0, detectors and crossovers at  Junction City (MP 120.8, 40 mph on the turnout), through moderate hills with gentle curves, to Junction City, where an east-west L&N line once crossed at grade.

At Bowen (MP 123.4, 40 mph on the turnout), where single track starts, the line edges south-southwest, and then south again past Moreland, turning southeast past a detector at MP 128.7, a restriction to 55-50 on curves between MP 130.1 and MP 130.5, Palm (MP 130.2, 40 mph on the turnout), where it turns south-southeast and double track starts again, McKinney, crossovers at Geneva (MP 132.4, 40 mph on the turnout), where it turns south, a restriction to 50-45 on curves between MP 134.3 and MP 134.7, the resumption of single track at South Fork (MP 134.8, 40 mph on the turnout), where it turns south-southeast again, a restriction to 55-50 on curves between MP 135.0 and MP 135.2, a restriction to 40 mph on curves between MP 135.2 and MP 136, a restriction to 50-45 on curves between MP 136 and MP 137.1, Sunrise Creek Trestle, a restriction to 55-50 on curves between MP 137.6 and MP 141.1, a detector at MP 138.9 on a section of line relocated away from some former tunnels, and King's Mountain, where a Cincinnati & Kentucky Southern line once trailed in on the west side, there is a road bridge overhead, and double track starts again at Kings Mountain (MP 139.2, 40 mph on the turnout).

The line heads just east of due south, past signal bridges and crossovers at Waynesburg (MP 142.1, 40 mph on the turnouts), Eubank, crossovers at Gradison (MP 148.7, 40 mph on the turnouts), a restriction to 55-50 on curves between MP 150.4 and MP 150.7, detectors at MP 151.8, Science Hill, a restriction to 50-45 on curves between MP 152.5 and MP 156.9, signal bridges and crossovers at Norwood (MP 154.8, 40 mph on the turnout), a restriction to 55-50 on curves between MP 156.9 and MP 158.9, Pulaski, a detector at MP 157.8 on the curvy section, a restriction to 50-45 on curves between MP 158.9 and MP 159.2, a restriction to 50 mph on curves between MP 159.2 and MP 160.2, a restriction to 40 mph on curves between MP 160.2 and MP 160.5, and a restriction to 55-50 on curves between MP 160.5 and MP 161.9, into Somerset (MP 160.9), where the line is briefly headed south-southeast, there is a road bridge overhead (SR 1247), a brick office building on the east side of the line, and a yard to the west.

Continuing south, the line passes the resumption of single track at Woods (Ferguson Shops, MP 161.9, 40 mph on the turnout), a detector at MP 163.1, a restriction to 45 mph on curves between MP 163.2 and MP 163.5, a restriction to 40 mph on curves between MP 163.5 and MP 163.7, and Elihu, turning south-southwest past a restriction to 55-50 on curves between MP 165.3 and MP 166.2, a restriction to 45 mph on curves between MP 166.2 and MP 168.1, and the start of Two Main Tracks at Grove (MP 166.3, 40 mph on the turnout) and then south-southeast past Burnside (MP 167.5) and across the long multi-span deck-truss Cumberland River Bridge (55 mph on the bridge for intermodals) over an arm of Lake Cumberland, with the bridge carrying US 27 to the west, and a street below on the south end of the bridge. The single track between Woods and Grove is being doubled, in 2012.

The line turns south again past a restriction to 40 mph on curves between MP 168.1 and MP 168.9, the former end of 2MT (which  now continue through) at  Tateville (MP 169.8, 40 mph on the turnout), where a lengthy (originally single-track) 1963 relocation, away from a more easterly segment through four erstwhile tunnels and Sloans Valley, begins, curving south-southeast and then south again, through deep rock cuts with road bridges overhead at Cave Springs Road, Caney Branch Springs Road, ?, and Sheldon Road, past a detector at MP 175.5, and then east past KD Tower (MP 177.5, 40 mph on the turnout), where Two Main Tracks once started again (but now continue through), a restriction to 35 mph on curves between MP 179.5 and MP 180.0, a restriction to 40 mph on curves between MP 180.0 and MP 181.0, a deep rock cutting, a dirt road grade crossing, and the end of the relocation at Greenwood, where it turns south again, to the end of 2MT at Cumberland Falls (MP 181.5, 40 mph on the turnout).

Another 1963 relocation this one still single track, through a deep rock cut near Parkers Lake, bypasses two more tunnels on a segment further east than the relocated line, which passes a restriction to 55-50 on curves between MP 186.5 and MP 187.3, a restriction to 40 mph on curves between MP 187.3 and MP 187.7, a restriction to 55-50 on curves between MP 187.7 and MP 188.2, and a detector at MP 188.3 before the end of the relocation at Flat Rock, and thence south past Marsh, a restriction to 55-50 on curves between MP 189.6 and MP 190.1, Whitley (MP 190.4, 40 mph on the turnout), with a signal bridge to the north and a grade crossing at Coopers Lake Log Road, where 2MT start again, road bridges overhead at SR 92 and Stearns Road, and a restriction to 50mph on curves between MP 192.0 and MP 192.5, to Stearns (MP 192.5).

Here, the former Kentucky & Tennessee heads away to the west while the main line turns south-southeast past a restriction to 50-45 on curves between MP 192.5 and MP 193.0, a restriction to 50 mph on curves between MP 193.0 and MP 193.3, a restriction to 40 mph on curves between MP 193.3 and MP 194.4, a restriction to 45 mph on curves between MP 194.4 and MP 194.8, a road bridge overhead at Revilo (MP 194.7, 40 mph on the turnout), a restriction to 50 mph on curves between MP 194.8 and MP 195.2, and a restriction to 55-50 on curves between MP 195.5 and MP 195.7, south at Pine Knot past signal bridges and crossovers at Silerville and detectors at MP 201.1, and across the Kentucky-Tennessee state line to crossovers at Ratliff (MP 202.4, 40 mph on the turnout), south-southwest past a restriction to 55-50 on curves between MP 203.4 and MP 203.7, a signal bridge, a bridge over a road, and Winfield, west past a restriction to 50 mph on curves between MP 205.2 and MP 206.0, a restriction to 45-40 on curves between MP 206.1 and MP 206.4, Bear Creek, and a restriction to 45 mph on curves between MP 207.7 and MP 208.0, and southwest, past a grade crossing at SR 297 and a bridge over a road, to a signal bridge at Oneida (MP 209.4), with extra track on the east side, and a road bridge overhead on the main line where the Oneida & Western once headed west (until 1954), and the former Tennessee Railroad, now an NS branch line, still heads away south.

The "Rathole" continues southwest, past signal bridges and crossovers at Pemberton (MP 211.5, 40 mph on the turnouts), aka "High Point", the highest point on the Rathole, and detectors at MP 211.8, and a restriction to 55-50 on curves between MP 211.9 and MP 212.3, and then turns south, to Helenwood (MP 215.3), where it turns south-southwest, and the end of 2MT , with signal bridge over the 2MT, at Phillips (MP 215.4, 40 mph on the turnout), where a branch that once formed the main line heads south while the single track post-1963 main line, taking a more westerly course across the massive steel deck truss, with concrete piers, New River Bridge at MP 218, later turns west-southwest before turning south again past the resumption of 2MT at Robbins (MP 221.9, 40 mph on the turnout), where the pre-1963 routing trails in on the east side, there is a grade crossing, a signal bridge voer the 2MT, and a south-facing extra track to the west.

There is a restriction to 40 mph on curves between MP 222.0 and MP 222.7, a restriction to 35 mph on curves between MP 222.7 and MP 223.7, and a restriction to 40 mph on curves between MP 223.7 and MP 226.5, as the line heads curvily south-southwest past Rugby Road, a steel multi-span deck girder bridge over a road and Black Wolf Creek, signal bridges and crossovers at Glen Mary (MP 225.8, 40 mph on the turnout), detectors at MP 226.0, a restriction to 45 mph on curves between MP 226.5 and MP 227.9, a restriction to 40 mph on curves between MP 227.9 and MP 229.5, and Huffman.

A further 1963 relocation takes the line south, where it had once continued south-southwest. past a restriction to 45 mph on curves between MP 229.5 and MP 232.2, and then southwest, past the top of the grade, to signal bridges and crossovers at Sunbright (MP 231.4, 40 mph on the turnout), end of the relocation, where it turns south, past a restriction to 50-45 on curves between MP 232.2 and MP 233.7, a restriction to 50 mph on curves between MP 233.7 and MP 235.2, and detectors at Pilot Mountain (MP 234.9), and then curvily south past a restriction to 40 mph on curves between MP 235.2 and MP 237.6 and a bridge over a road at Annadel, and southeast and then south-southwest past a restriction to 45 mph between MP 237.6 and MP 238.8, a restriction to 35 mph on curves between MP 238.8 and MP 239.6, a restriction to 45 mph on curves between MP 239.6 and MP 240.4, and a restriction to 40 mph on curves between MP 240.4 and MP 241.5, past a dirt road grade crossing, US 27 just to the east, and a grade crossing, to signal bridges and crossovers, with extra track to the west side, at Lancing (MP 241.0, 40 mph on the turnout at MP 241.6), where tehre is a road bridge overhead, the Emory River Railroad once trailed in from the east and there is a coal loader.

The main line turns curvily southeast at detectors at MP 241.8, southwest through Tunnel 23, one of only four remaining after the 1960 line relocations, with a restriction to 25 mph on Track 1 and 40 mph on Track 2 between MP 241.5 and MP 244.3, past a concrete and steel viaduct over the Emory River, to Nemo (MP 243), in the Emory River Gorge, where the Morgan & Fentress Railway once headed west, south past CW Tower (MP 244.2, 40 mph on the turnout) where single track starts, a restriction to 45 mph on curves between MP 244.3 and MP 246.3, through 2700 ft. Tunnel 24, southeast past a restriction to 55-50 on curves between MP 246.8 and MP 248.2, and the resumption of 2MT at Coleman (MP 249.0, 40 mph on the turnout), and curvily south past a restriction to 40 mph on curves between MP 251.0 and MP 251.3, signal bridges and crossovers at Camp Austin (MP 251.2, 40 mph on the turnouts), detectors at MP 251.3, a restriction to 35 mph on curves between MP 251.3 and MP 252.1, a restriction to 45 mph on curves between MP 252.1 and MP 254.4, signal bridges and crossovers at North Oakdale (MP 252.7), where the four-track yard on the west side of the line begins, ending north of a grade crossing at Main Street, Oakdale (MP 254.4), where the 3' gauge Waldens Ridge Railroad once headed east, the Emory River is to the west, beyond some trees, there is a road alongside to the east, on the curve, an erstwhile brick building once housed the crew base on the south side of Main Street, west of the line, and a road bridge overhead (also crossing the river), from which a road ramp descends to the north, on the east side of the line.

There is a turn southwest, past a restriction to 25 mph on curves between MP 254.4 and MP 254.8, single track once again (20 mph on the turnout at MP 254.8), through Tunnel 25 (MP 254.8), with a speed restriction to 40 mph on curves and through the short tunnel between MP 254.8 and MP 255.2, a restriction to 50 mph on curves through the next tunnel (a much longer one) between MP 255.2 and MP 255.5, and Tunnel 26 (MP 255.5), where 2MT resume (40 mph on the turnout), and south, past a restriction to 40 mph on curves between MP 257.6 and MP 258.7, to Harriman Junction (MP 258.2), where there are cantilever signal bridges on both tracks, north of the crossover, north of the junction where the single track line to Knoxville turns away east and the double track main line to Chattanooga continues south, with the Emory River alongside to the west.