Exploring the Legacy of the Milstead Railroad

CONYERS, Ga. — The Milstead Railroad had a short history, but it left a lasting legacy on the small hamlet of Conyers east of Atlanta.

The railroad was one of 12 railroads chartered in the state of Georgia in 1909. The Milstead Manufacturing Co. built the three-and-a-half mile railroad, starting with $12,000 in capital.

According to the Interstate Commerce Commission Reports: Reports and Decisions of the Interstate Commerce Commission of the United States, Volume 106:

The railroad of Milstead Railroad Company, hereinafter called the carrier, is a single-track standard-gauge steam railroad located in the north-central part of Georgia. The owned mileage extends northerly from Conyers to Milstead, a distance of 2.857 miles. The carrier also owns yard and side tracks totaling 0.251 mile. Its road thus embraces 3.108 miles of all tracks owned. In Appendix 1 will be found a general description of the property of the carrier.

Corporate history.—The carrier was incorporated on June 18, 1909. under the provisions of the general railroad law of the State of Georgia, for the purpose of constructing, maintaining, and operating a railroad from Conyers to Milstead. Organization was perfected on August 11, 1909. The property was constructed in 1902 by the Milstead Manufacturing Company, hereinafter called the manufacturing company, and was conveyed by that company to the carrier by a deed dated December 16, 1909. Operations were taken over by the carrier on January 1, 1910. The carrier is controlled by the manufacturing company through ownership of a majority of the outstanding capital stock.

In 1965, Marvn A. Woolen, a cotton broker from Atlanta, purchased much of the town for $152,825. That included the Milstead Railroad, one locomotive and three-and-a-half miles of track for a total of $15,000.

The railroad continued operations until 1977.

Today, little remains of the original Milstead Railroad. Its biggest legacy may be a small locomotive, named the Dinky, that remains on display in downtown Conyers.

Between 1948 and about 1960, this small 0-6-0 steam locomotive served on the 3-mile-long Milstead Railroad between Callaway Mills in the small community of Milstead and nearby Conyers, where the line interchanged with the Georgia Railroad.

Engine No. 104, built in 1905 by Rogers, is, according to some sources, one of only a handful of this type locomotive still in existence. The engine apparently picked up the nickname “Dinky” because of its short stature.

The West Point Railroad originally owned the Dinky. Callaway Mills, formerly the Milstead Manufacturing Co., bought the locomotive in 1948 and put it into service hauling cotton over the Milstead Railroad. The locomotive is today on display in downtown Conyers, the town the Dinky once served.

Todd DeFeo
About Todd DeFeo 236 Articles
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and The Travel Trolley.