Red Gap Branch
The Red Gap Branch was a segment of the Birmingham Mineral Railroad that ran along the south slope of Red Mountain from Lone Pine Gap (18th Street South) southwest as far as Grace's Gap and northeast toward Red Gap near Gate City, providing freight access to iron ore mines along its route.
The branch line was constructed between 1888 and 1890. It crossed Cahaba Road at Hedona, which became English Village during the development of Mountain Brook. It met up with the main line at Red Gap Junction at the foot of Ruffner Mountain. There the line connected to the BMRR's Gate City Branch toward Vanns and Trussville, as well as to other carriers serving Irondale, Trussville and Leeds and points beyond.
Ore mining activity in the Birmingham District dropped off precipitously during the Great Depression and operation of the Red Gap Branch was interrupted several times. The western section from Lone Pine Gap to Grace's Gap north of Oxmoor was abandoned on November 14, 1933 and the 18th Street bridge was removed for widening of the surface road connecting Birmingham to Homewood.
By 1946 residents near the crossing at Hedona were complaining that continuing railroad activity there was a nuisance. The Red Gap Branch from Lone Pine Gap to Hedona was abandoned on January 6, 1953. The last section, from Hedona to Gate City, was abandoned on July 29, 1954.
- Historic Birmingham Mineral Railroad Signs Project website
- 1917 map at bham-mrr.com