Thursday, Nov. 1, 1906, was a momentous day for the city of Athens, Ga. The first Gainesville Midland train pulled into town.
“Here’s to the Gainesville Midland; may it live and prosper,” the Weekly Banner newspaper heralded.
Roughly two months earlier, the first standard gauge train arrived in nearby Jefferson, Ga. At the time, the Gainesville Midland only connected Gainesville, Ga., with Social Circle, Ga. (via Winder, Ga.) and Jefferson, Ga.
Construction on the line to Athens was delayed as the railroad awaited the rails to be laid.
“Just now the trains will necessarily be mixed trains and the schedule time will be slow,” the Weekly Banner newspaper reported. “This will be so until the road can be gone over again and some necessary work attended to.”
The first train to depart Athens included 21 freight cars, presumably in addition to passenger coaches.
“That is a pretty good start for the new road in the way of freight,” the newspaper reported. “But it is simply a forerunner of the success that is to come for this splendid new road.”
Interestingly, by the end of November 1906, passenger service on the road was suspended “on account of the unsettled condition of the road-bed,” the Banner reported.
“The freight service will be continued as usual bye the passengers will not be carried on the freight trains,” the Banner reported.