ATLANTA – On Dec. 21, 1836, the Georgia state Legislature authorized the construction of a railroad between Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tenn., forever shaping the state’s history. Surveying for the railroad, which would become the Western & Atlantic Railroad, began in 1837. Construction began in November 1839, and the complete line was opened in 1850. The first train between Atlanta and Marietta, Ga., ran on Dec. 23, 1842. It would be another three years before regular rail service would begin on the stretch of track. The railroad’s southern terminus, Atlanta, was a growing railroad town, which by the mid 19th century
TENNESSEE RIDGE, Tenn. – April 27, 1898, marked the beginning of a very obscure railroad that was built to serve the community’s iron industry. That day, the Tennessee & Cumberland River Railroad was incorporated, and the 13.95-mile line was built at a cost of $110,000. The railroad remained in operation until 1917. According to Elmer Sulzer’s 1975 book “Ghost Railroads of Tennessee,” the railroad owned one locomotive, one passenger coach and 13 freight cars. In Tennessee Ridge, the Tennessee & Cumberland River Railroad had a junction with the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. On the other end, the railroad terminated in
ATHENS, Ga. – Athens Terminal Co. was incorporated on Oct. 4, 1906. Both the Gainesville Midland Railway and Seaboard Air Line owned Athens Terminal Co., according to Douglas van Veelen’s 2006 book, “The Gainesville Midland and Her Sister Short Lines.” The railroad terminated near the intersection of East Broad and Foundry streets in downtown Athens.
ROME, Ga. – The Rome Railroad was founded on Dec. 21, 1839, as the Memphis Branch Railroad and Steamboat Company of Georgia. The line’s 20-mile route between Rome, Ga., and Kingston, Ga., was completed in 1849. The following year, the company changed its name to the Rome Railroad Company. “From Rome, cotton and other commodities were shipped down river on the Coosa to Gadsden, Alabama and other points,” reads a historical marker in Kingston. The route was sold to the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway in 1894, which by that time leased the Western & Atlantic Railroad, which passed
GUTHRIE, Ky. – The Elkton & Guthrie Railroad was incorporated on Feb. 10, 1871, as the Elkton Railroad Company. “Work on the railroad was very slow and 13 years later, only the right of way had been cleared and the roadbed graded,” Dennis Mize wrote in his 1999 book L&N’s Memphis Line. “To make matters worse, the line was out of money and the prospects of raising additional funds for laying track and purchasing rolling stock were bleak,” Mize wrote. “The problem was solved by turning to L&N’s president, Milton H. Smith, who signed a contract on Aug. 30, 1884