A Hartwell Railroad locomotive as seen on Feb. 7, 2015. (Photo by Todd DeFeo)
A Hartwell Railroad locomotive as seen on Feb. 7, 2015. The GP9R locomotive is a former Chicago & Northwestern. (Photo by Todd DeFeo)

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — The Hartwell Railroad is an old-time Georgia railroad that today operates in a different incarnation from the original company.

The railroad traces its origins to 1878 when the company was chartered to construct a line between Hartwell and Bowersville in Hart County, Ga. The railroad completed its 10-mile line the following year.

The railroad, along with two others, is owned by B.R. Anderson. Anderson also owns the Athens Line, which is operated by the Hartwell Railroad, and the Great Walton Railroad, the parent company.

The Great Walton Railroad runs between Social Circle and Monroe, Ga., and between Covington, Ga., and Shady Dale, Ga. The Hartwell Railroad operates trains on tracks between Elberton, Ga., and Toccoa, Ga., and between Hartwell, Ga., and Bowersville, Ga.

The Hartwell Railroad also operates The Athens Line, which connects with Norfolk Southern in unincorporated Center, Ga., and through downtown Athens and past Sanford Stadium on the University of Georgia campus.

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