KINGSTON, Ga. — This north Georgia town, though today a quiet hamlet, once served as a crossroads and as an important railroad city.
It was here the Rome Railroad and the Western & Atlantic Railroad came together. And although no railroad buildings are still standing in Kingston, the remains of the former depot and the former rail yard’s right of way remain.
The Rome Railroad, a roughly 18-mile railroad, connected Rome, Ga., with Kingston, a line built since the Western & Atlantic Railroad skipped Rome. Kingston is perhaps most famous for its role on April 12, 1862. Members of the Andrews Raid were stranded in the yard for 64 minutes waiting for southbound freights to pass.
If not for the lengthy delay, which allowed the party pursuing the raiders to nearly catch up, the Andrews Raid might have turned out quite differently with the complete destruction of the Western & Atlantic Railroad.
Kingston’s history changed in 1943, when the Rome Railroad stopped its passenger service and the tracks were abandoned. Likewise, passenger service on the Western & Atlantic Railroad continued to decline in the 1950s and 1960s and ultimately ceased on the railroad, then leased by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.
“The significance of the railroad to postwar Kingston cannot be overstated,” according to roadsidegeorgia.com. “The trains would stop at the downtown railyard and passengers and crews alike would walk to nearby churches. Fame came to the ministers of these churches … Regulars would often take an excursion to the town from Atlanta just to hear these men speak.”
Today, CSX operates trains along the tracks and through Kingston. Dozens of trains still pass through town, but no longer do they stop. Although there is no train depot in the city, the remains of the former depot’s foundation can be seen.
The former rail yard is still noticeable and a majority of the area is a public park. Two historical markers recognize the Rome Railroad and the city’s role in the Andrews Raid.