KENNESAW, Georgia — Railfanning.org Editor and Publisher Todd DeFeo led a group of roughly 30 on a bus tour of the Western & Atlantic Railroad on behalf of the Southern Museum.
The Saturday, April 1, tour started at Kennesaw’s Southern Museum, where DeFeo provided a brief overview of the railroad’s history, including the Great Locomotive Chase during the Civil War.
From there, the group headed for its first stop in Cartersville, where DeFeo highlighted how the railroad shaped the community. While in Cartersville, DeFeo spotlighted some of the hotels that operated in the town, including the Shelman Hotel and the Braban Hotel.
“If you stand … here, we’ve got the train depot right behind us, and what else you might notice about this is all the buildings in the town square are facing the train tracks, and they’re facing the train depot,” DeFeo told the group in Cartersville. The “railroad was at the center of the community. It stood at the center; when the trains came in, that was the big happening of the moment.”
From there, the group headed to Kingston, where the conversation turned to how the community evolved with the railroad’s arrival and how the end of passenger service and the demise of the Rome Railroad changed the community.
Passing through Calhoun and Resaca, the group stopped for lunch in Dalton. After enjoying a passing northbound Norfolk Southern freight train, DeFeo discussed Dalton’s role during the Great Locomotive Chase.
After lunch, the group headed back south, making one last stop in the community of Adairsville, where the discussion turned to the historic depot. After returning to Kennesaw, the group spent a few minutes admiring the General, the locomotive made famous during the Great Locomotive Chase.