WINDER, Ga. – The small town of about 10,000 owes a lot to the railroad. Its name, for starters. In 1893, the town of Jug Tavern, as Winder was once known, changed its name to Winder to honor John H. Winder, a general manager with Seaboard Air Line. The town’s railroad past is on display next to its historic depot on Porter Street: Gainesville Midland No. 208. Built by Pennsylvania-based Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1930, the decapod – as the locomotive is known because of its 10 drive wheels – originally operated as No. 530 on the Seaboard Air Line.
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.
WINDER – For decades, an aging relic has stood as the icon of this city’s railroad past. Now, thanks to donations from some area businesses, the 76-year-old Gainesville Midland steam engine No. 208 has a new coat of paint. “It’s a source of civic pride,” said Alex Hill of Hill’s Ace Hardware & Lumber Center in Winder, which donated the paint for the restoration project. “It’s a part of our past here that ought to be remembered.” Workers are repainting the steam engine, which now sits on display off Porter Street in downtown Winder. Gainesville Midland No. 208 was built
One of the great things about commuting regularly between Athens, Ga., and Winder, Ga., is the fact that the road runs parallel to the CSX main line. As such, I often bring my camera to catch some railfanning action.
ATHENS, Ga. — For better or worse, 2005 began and ended with the railroad industry in the headlines. On Jan. 6, two Norfolk Southern trains collided in Graniteville, S.C. The National Transportation Board later ruled the crew of a Norfolk Southern train failed to return a main line switch to the normal position after the crew completed work at an industry track. Fast forward 12 months. In December, the subway drivers in New York City went on strike, an illegal strike at that. It was eventually resolved, with the union coming out of the deal with what it wanted. But
Short-line rail companies continue to carry their weight on routes that otherwise might have been abandoned The train grinds to a halt, and engineer Eddie Pitchford breaks out his cell phone. Two locomotives with coal cars in tow sit idle in a wooded area north of downtown Athens, and the train’s progress rests on the word of an anonymous dispatcher 300 miles away. “Some days we get hung up here,” Pitchford said. The Hartwell Railroad freight train must cross CSX Transportation’s main rail line running between Atlanta and Wilmington, N.C., before it can proceed into downtown Athens. From his cell