Meridian to Birmingham (27th Street)

From the passenger station at Meridian (MP 295.0), where the speed limit is 25 mph, where the depot is on the north side, with three platforms and umbrella sheds serving three tracks, and there are private cars (or a museum) in a spur on the north side at the east end of the station, the double track, ABS, line heads just north of due east, with a six-seven track yard on the east side of the line, KCS line heading northeast, and a CSX line turning away south and then east, past a track on the southeast side serving a LaFarge plant, a grade crossing east of the junction, a bridge over a street, and a grade crossing, northeast past Intermediate Signals at MP 293, a road bridge overhead, a bridge over a stream, a grade crossing and Breyer (MP 292.7), where the speed limit is 70-55 and the double track reduces to single track, just north of east past a bridge over a stream, a dirt road grade crossing, dual road bridges overhead, a dirt road grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at Russell, a grade crossing, a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over a stream, two grade crossings, a road alongside to the north, Intermediate Signals at MP 287.x, a dirt track grade crossing, a bridge over a road, a detector at MP 284.5, Intermediate Signals at MP 284.x, a grade crossing, [old] Toomsuba, Toomsuba, a 7,266 ft. siding on the south side at Smith (MP 280.8), where the speed limit is 75-55 and there is extra track, as well as a spur curving away on the north side near the east end, a bridge over a gulley, a bridge over a stream, dual road bridges overhead, and Intermediate Signals at Kewanee, where the speed limit is 55 mph, edging south-southeast into Alabama and then north-northeast, past a road alongside to the north, two grade crossings in a town, a dirt track grade crossing, a detector at MP 275.3, Intermediate Signals at Cuba (MP 272), where the speed limit is 65-55, a dirt road grade crossing, and McConnell, the west end of a 6,295 ft. siding on the south side extending to York (MP 268.3), with extra track, as well as a former Southern line trailing in from the west and then leaving to the east, and a one time flat crossing with a former Frisco north-south line, and two grade crossing in the sidings near the east end, past which the speed limit drops to 50 mph to MP 267.8 and rises to 75-55 thereafter.

The main line departs to the northeast, past a 7,132 ft. siding on the south side, with a grade crossing, a road alongside to the north, and a grade crossing within the siding, to its east end at McGregor, a bridge over a stream, a dirt track grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at MP 264.x, a clearcut (in July 2006) area in the piney woods, a dirt track grade crossing in the woods, Intermediate Signals at Hixon, a dirt road grade crossing, a siding on the north side, a detector at MP 260.4, a bridge over a stream, Intermediate Signals (South Park), where there is extra track on the south side, a bridge over a road, a bridge over a stream, an old depot fenced off on the north side, a bridge over a road, a grade crossing, and Livingston (MP 259.0), west end of an 11,478 ft. siding on the south side, where a spur heads away to industry on the north side, which extends to Parker (MP 255.0), where, the speed limit falls to 60-55 and the line turns north-northeast, past a dirt road grade crossing, the line intermittently in cuttings, a detector at MP 254.7, where the speed limit falls to 50-45, Intermediate Signals at MP 252.x, a dirt road grade crossing, a turn east-northeast, where 70-55 resumes, a dirt track grade crossing, a road bridge overhead, Intermediate Signals at Epes, where a spur heads away to the southeast, the speed limit falls to 65-55, the through girder bridge over the Tombigbee River (MP 249.3, speed limit 55-50), a viaduct for a short distance with the river just to the north, a detector at MP 246.8, where the speed limit is 79-55, Intermediate Signals and a detector at MP 245.5, a grade crossing, a dirt road grade crossing, the 11,559 ft. siding on the south side from Miller to Bollgee (MP 242.8), where there is extra track on the north side near the east end, a flat crossing with the former Frisco (MP 242.5, speed limit 40 mph), a short siding on the north side, a road bridge overhead, Allison, a spur on the south side at Bermul, a dirt road grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at MP 240.x, a road bridge overhead, a bridge over a big stream, a dirt road grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at MP 237.x, a dirt road grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at MP 234.x, a detector at MP 233.1, two grade crossings, and a road bridge overhead.

The line turns east at Eufaw, west end of the 12,345 ft. siding on the south side (MP 230.1), with a grade crossing and a dirt track grade crossing, a spur trailing in from the southeast, and a dirt track grade crossing  within the siding, where the speed limit falls to 60-55, to McClure (reaching almost to the bridge), a turn east-northeast across the through girder bridge over the Warrior River (MP 229.3, speed limit 25 mph across the bridge with 40 mph briefly on either side), which has a bridge tender and signals on either side, past an embankment, a detector at MP 224.7, where the speed limit is 75-55, a bridge over a dirt road, a dirt track grade crossing in the woods, and the 8,366 ft. south side siding at Akron (MP 223.8), where there is extra track on the south side, a grade crossing within the siding, also crossing the extra track, a line once trailed in from the south, and the line turns northeast past the east end of the siding at Stewart, a detector at MP 222.1, two dirt road grade crossings, a grade crossing, a bridge over drainage, and Intermediate Signals at Cypress, where the speed limit is briefly 65-55.

There is a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over drainage, a grade crossing, a spur from industry on the south side curving in, Powers, a grade crossing, a 6,243 ft. south side siding at Moundville (MP 213.1), where there is extra track and a grade crossing within the siding, a turn east-northeast past a detector at MP 212.7, a grade crossing and a spur from industry trailing in on the south side, and curvily just east of north (with speed limit 60-55 to MP 204.7), past a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at MP 211, and a dirt road grade crossing, northeast across Big Sandy creek trestle (MP 209.8, speed limit 40 mph), past fields beyond the line of trees, a grade crossing, and Hull, and just east of north past a spur trailing in on the south side, Phifers, a bridge over drainage in the woods, Maxwell, a grade crossing in the woods, Englewood, a detector at MP 202.3, where the speed limit is 70-55, a stream alongside to the south, Crabtree, dual road bridges overhead, a bridge over a stream, a sewage farm on the south side, a grade crossing just west of an industry, extra track on the south side from an industry trailing in, and the 10,088 ft. Tuscaloosa Siding (MP 200.0), to a flat crossing (MP 198.9, 30 mph with 45-40 briefly on either side) with a former Mobile & Ohio line owned more recently by GM&O (Gulf, Mobile & Ohio), ICG (Illinois Central Gulf), Mid-South, and now Kansas City Southern, two extra tracks (or a connector) on the south side curving in in the southeast quadrant, a wide road bridge overhead, and the passenger station, with a brick depot on the north side, at Tuscaloosa (MP 198.4), with a grade crossing just east of the depot.

The line turns east (speed limit 40 mph to MP 196.5 and 50-45 to MP 193.2), with a KCS line on its north side and trees between the lines, past four yard tracks on the south side, a grade crossing, three extra tracks on the south side, a road bridge overhead, extra track on the south side trailing in, four grade crossings, a bridge over a divided highway below, before heading for open country past a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at MP 193.x, Bryant, a grade crossing, a road alongside to the north, a grade crossing just west of a detector at MP 192.5 (speed limit 55 mph), Intermediate Signals at MP 191.x, a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at MP 189.x, and Cottondale, where the speed limit rises to 60-55, south past a grade crossing at the top of a steep ramp from the road alongside to the north,  extra track from industry on the south side trailing in, a road bridge overhead, and a grade crossing, to Johnson, where a spur from industry on the south side trails in, east past the 9,436 ft. siding at on the south side Fleming (MP 186.5), with a grade crossing and MP 186 within the siding, extra track on the south side serving industry at Coaling, three grade crossings, west-facing extra track on the south side, Intermediate Signals at MP 183.x, a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at MP 181.x, Clements, where the speed limit rises to 65-55, two dirt road grade crossings, and a bridge over a river.

There are sidings with tight curves at a Mercedes plant on the north side of the line [new between 1986 and 2006], signals at Mercedes, where the sidings trail in, and Dudley, east-northeast past three grade crossings, a large lumber facility on the south side (not rail served), a detector and Intermediate Signals at MP 177.7, a grade crossing, a dirt road grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at Vance, where the speed limit falls briefly to 60-55, a road bridge overhead, Bibbville, Blocton, where the speed limit drops to 10 mph, a road bridge overhead, the 15,214 ft. south side siding (with extra track on the south side) at Woodstock (MP 172.3), where 70-55 resumes and a branch trails in from the south (and once continued north, when owned by the L&N), a road bridge overhead at the east end of the siding, Green Pond, where it turns northeast (60-55 on the curves), east past Intermediate Signals, a detector at MP 167.3, where 70-55 resumes, and northeast at Standford, past a grade crossing, Tannehill, a grade crossing just west of the 11,835 ft. siding on the south side at Kimbrell (MP 164.5), a spur curving away north to serve a large facility, Intermediate Signals at MP 161.x, Baylor, a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at MP 158.x, McCalla, a line trailing in on the northwest side, two grade crossings, MP 157, a grade crossing, a bridge over a stream, a spur curving away on the southeast side to the Selma line, and Burstall (MP 156.0), where a Track-Warrant-controlled  line from Selma trails in from the south and the main line expands to double track, with west-facing extra track on the southeast side.

The line now passes through the various steel-making communities, including Jonesboro, where a line once left to the north, with trees all along the north side of the line, past a bridge carrying a former Seaboard line overhead, a street alongside to the north, a grade crossing, MP 156, three grade crossings, an extra track on the south side trailing in, crossing the easternmost of the three, a detector at MP 155.3, a grade crossing, a former railroad bridge overhead (but the embankment has been removed over a nearby street), two grade crossings, Bessemer (MP 154.3), where the depot on the north side is behind a fence, and is now a museum, and there is a street alongside to the south, a bridge over a road below at MP 154, former L&N track alongside to the north, then trails in on the north side, remains of former steel mills on the north side of the former L&N, a bridge over a former L&N line, the former L&N Bessemer Yard and then the former Southern Bessemer Yard on the northwest side, a former L&N line still running parallel on the northwest side, extra track on the south side, crossing a grade crossing, MP 152, a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at MP 150.x, a grade crossing, Woodward Junction, where a Birmingham Southern line once bridged overhead, Wheeling, as the line starts to curve east-northeast, another location where a Birmingham Southern line once bridged overhead (one of the two BS bridges is still in place), a bridge over a stream, a grade crossing, a rail-served lumber yard on the north side of the former L&N line, which then ends, a grade crossing, a rail-served sand facility, MP 149, a spur heads away on the north side, Intermediate Signals at MP 148.x, Hillman, Powderly, West End, a grade crossing, a road bridge overhead at an angle, Intermediate Signals at MP 147.x, a street alongside to the north, a detector at MP 147.1, a grade crossing, Elyton, where the line has completed its curve east-northeast, a grade crossing, two grade crossings with an intersection on the north side of the tracks, two grade crossings, MP 146, poor neighborhoods all along the north side, often behind trees, two grade crossings, MP 144.0, where the speed limit drops to 30 mph, a bridge over a dry creek, a rail-served scrapyard to the north, a track trails in on the north side, a road bridge overhead, 14th Street (MP 143.5), with a complex of trackwork where a double-track former L&N line (now the CSX Elysian sub.) trails in from the southwest, a Seaboard line once trailed in from the west, and Birmingham Southern and Frisco lines once joined from the north, and downtown Birmingham is just to the north (13th Street).

Birmingham Amtrak Station (MP 143.0), on its own 10 mph track on the north side of the line (a group of two tracks and a group of four tracks further south), has its depot to the north, at a lower-level than the tracks which are accessed from an upper floor, with stub end tracks facing west, two platforms with umbrella sheds, and two tracks between them. There are two road bridges overhead, a large parking lot on the north side of the line, a road bridge overhead east of the lot, MP 391 [not on the NS line!], the lines start to separate, and there are dual road bridges overhead. Just east of the station is the complex of junctions at 27th Street (MP 142.0), with a former Southern line departing north-northwestward at a single-track wye on the north side, and a double-track former L&N line departing northward within the wye at the west apex, crossing the double track east leg at grade on its way, and a connection departing on the south side, east of the east apex of the wye, to the two-track former Seaboard line that now starts parallel to the former Southern main line on the south side, with the [closed?] SLOSS steel mill buildings alongside to the north.