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 through Kingston. A rail yard where the two lines connected was operated in that city.
The railroad was abandoned in 1943.
A locomotive from the Rome Railroad played an important role in the Andrews Raid on April 12, 1862. The pursuing party steamed into Kingston on the Yonah, a small switching engine. Rather than navigating the Kingston yard, the pursuers commandeered the William R. Smith, an engine used for passenger service on the Rome Railroad.