A brief history of the Gainesville Midland Railroad

ATHENS, Ga. — Chartered in 1904, the Gainesville Midland Railway was a successor of the Gainesville, Jefferson and Southern Railroad.

In 1883, the Gainesville Midland’s predecessor — the Gainesville, Jefferson and Southern — completed its line between Gainesville, Ga., and Social Circle, Ga., via Winder, Ga., then known as Jug Tavern. The line — called the Jug Tavern Route after the original name of the city of Winder — closed in the late 1940s.

The Gainesville, Jefferson and Southern Railroad built a second line connecting Jefferson, Ga., with Belmont, Ga. Both lines were narrow gauge railroads.

In 1959, the Gainesville Midland sold its Athens-Gainesville branch to Seaboard Air Line.

The remnants of the Gainesville Midland can still be found throughout Northeast Georgia. Three “decapods” — 2-10-0s — survive: one on display in Winder, another on display in Gainesville and one is an exhibit at the Southeastern Railroad Museum in Duluth. A smaller 2-8-0 locomotive — No. 116 (see in the picture above) — is on display in Jefferson.

The CSX line that parallels U.S. Highway 129 into Jefferson and Pendergrass is the former Gainesville Midland line. Trains still operate over the line.

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