WINDER, Ga. — Scattered across Northeast Georgia are three relics of the past, which hearken back to the days when steam giants ruled the rails.
Though they haven’t steamed up in nearly six decades, they are a window into the past, into an era when railroads were the centerpiece of a city and the primary means of transportation.
Today, they are pieces of civic pride, delegated to the side of the tracks and overshadowed by the modern machines that replaced them. These decapods — known as such because of their 10 drive wheels — are all that remain of the Gainesville Midland Railroad.
During the 1950s, the Gainesville Midland purchased three decapods. The locomotives remained in service until 1959, according to George H. Drury’s Guide to North American Steam Locomotives, and the locomotives were built by Pennsylvania-based Baldwin Locomotive Works.
Gainesville Midland No. 208 was built in 1930, and the locomotive first served on the Seaboard Air Line as engine No. 530. After its retirement, No. 208 was given to the city of Winder.
Gainesville Midland No. 209 is on display in the city of Gainesville, near the Gainesville Midland Railroad’ former terminus.
Gainesville Midland No. 203 is an exhibit at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, Ga. Baldwin build the engine was in 1928 for the Alabama, Tennessee & Northern railroad.