The Atlanta Northern Railway was interurban line that connected Atlanta and Marietta, Georgia, starting in July 1905. The line ceased operations in early 1947, giving way to competition from motor vehicles. The interurban line more or less paralleled the Western & Atlantic Railroad, a state-owned line that connected Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The Atlanta Street Railway was the first streetcar system in Atlanta, initially chartered by the state of Georgia on February 23, 1866, by George Hillyer, John Westmoreland, and John Thrasher. The city placed onerous demands on the company, including paving swaths of the then-unpaved town, and the charter remained inactive for years. On January 1, 1869, the city reduced most of these demands. Richard Peters and George Adair bought out the charter in April 1871 and later opened the first section of the railway in September 1871, connecting Five Points to the West End and passing by their homes. By 1889, the line owned 15 miles of track, fifty streetcars, and 200 horses and mules, with Edward Peters taking control after his father, Richard Peters, passed away. In 1891, the company merged with the Atlanta Consolidated Street Railway.
The Bostwick Railroad began operations in about March 1907 on its roughly six-mile-long line between Bostwick, where it reached by about February 1907, and Apalachee, Georgia. Passenger operations on the line began in April 1907. In Apalachee, it connected with the Macon-to-Athens branch of the Central of Georgia Railway. The railroad was named for its president, John Bostwick. By August 1911, a receiver’s sale was announced for the railroad, including a 15-ton locomotive, a gondola, a baggage car and a passenger coach with two compartments that each sat 24 people. The Greene County Railroad, named for its president, Forrest Greene, purchased the assets of the Bostwick Railroad.
The state of New Jersey chartered the Camden & Amboy Rail Road and Transportation Company on February 4, 1830, the same day it chartered the Delaware and Raritan Canal Company. The railroad opened its line between Bordentown, New Jersey, and South Amboy, New Jersey on December 17, 1832. Later, after the incorporation of the New Jersey Rail Road & Transportation Company, the Camden & Amboy build a line between Trenton, New Jersey, and New Brunswick, New Jersey. In early 1867, the Camden & Amboy and the New Jersey Rail Road combined to make up the United New Jersey Railroad and Canal Company, which the Pennsylvania Railroad leased in 1871 for 999 years.
The Cartersville & Van Wert Railroad was chartered in 1866 in 1887 and built a rail line between Cartersville and the Selma, Rome & Dalton Railroad at Prior, Georgia, near the Georgia/Alabama state line. By 1870 the railroad had 14 miles of five-foot gauge track connecting Cartersville to Taylorsville, Georgia. However, further growth was seemingly stymied by deceitful financial dealings by then Georgia Governor Rufus Bullock, Hanniball Kimball and others. In October 1870, the Cherokee Iron Company purchased the railroad and reorganized it as the Cherokee Railroad.
The Cherokee Railroad, organized in 1870 to take over operations from the failing Cartersville & Van Wert Railroad, initially operated from Cartersville, Georgia, to Taylorsville, Georgia. The new owners extended the railroad to Rockmart, Georgia. The new owners also converted the track from a five-foot gauge to a three-foot gauge. Despite the changes, the railroad's financial problems continued. In 1879, the owners sold the railroad to the Cherokee Iron Company, who leased the Cherokee Railroad's lines to the East & West Railroad of Alabama. In 1886, East & West Railroad purchased and merged the line into its operations.
The Tennessee state legislature chartered the Edgefield & Kentucky Railroad on Feb. 13, 1852, to build a line between Edgefield Junction near Nashville, Tennessee, and the Tennessee-Kentucky state line (Guthrie, Kentucky). The railroad completed its line toward the end of 1859. It consolidated with the Evansville, Henderson & Nashville Railroad, chartered in 1867, in 1871. In 1879, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad purchased the Evansville, Henderson & Nashville.
The state of Georgia chartered the Gainesville, Jefferson & Southern Railroad on Aug. 23, 1872, to build a narrow-gauge railroad from Gainesville, Georgia, to a point on the Georgia Railroad via Jefferson, Georgia. The railroad ultimately built a line, which was completed on March 11, 1884, between Gainesville and Social Circle, Georgia, with a branch to Jefferson. By March 1897, the railroad was in receivership. A judge in July 1903 ordered the railroad sold, but the sale was ultimately postponed. However, by May 1904, a judge approved the sale of the line, and by July 1904, most of the line was sold at foreclosure to the new Gainesville Midland Railway.
The state of Georgia established the Gate City Street Railroad Company on September 26, 1879. Movers and shakers such as Laurent DeGive, Levi B. Nelson, Captain Augustus M. Reinhardt and John Stephens founded the company. In 1884, the company constructed a line that began at the Kimball House and went through Pryor, Wheat, and Jackson Streets to Ponce de Leon Springs. The original builders operated the line until selling it in January 1887. In October 1887, the line changed directions to run along Jackon Street to Ponce de Leon Avenue and then to the springs. It also built a branch to Piedmont Park.
The Georgia, Carolina & Northern Railway was founded in 1886 to build a line between Atlanta, Georgia, and Monroe, North Carolina. Construction on the line started in 1887 in North Carolina, and by 1892 the railroad had nearly completed its plan. However, a court injunction halted its progress into Atlanta, and the Georgia, Carolina & Northern developed the Seaboard Air Line Belt Railroad, running eight miles from Belt Junction, Georgia, to the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway, which it used to reach Atlanta. In 1898, Georgia, Carolina & Northern acquired the Loganville & Lawrenceville Railroad. Three years later, in 1901, the Georgia, Carolina & Northern merged into the Seaboard Air Line Railway.
The Greene County Railroad was incorporated on July 27, 1911, to build a line between Monroe and Bostwick, Georgia, and purchase the assets of the former Bostwick Railroad. By 1907, the Bostwick Railroad built a line between Apalachee and Bostwick. In Apalachee, the railroad interchanged with the Macon-to-Athens branch of the Central of Georgia Railway, and in Monroe, it interchanged with the Gainesville Midland. The 19.69-mile-long Greene County Railroad was abandoned in 1942.
The Hartwell Railroad chartered in 1878 (or 1879) to build a 10-mile-long line between Hartwell, Georgia, and Bowersville, Georgia, where it connected with the Elberton Air-Line Railroad (later the Southern Railway). The railroad, originally built as a narrow gauge line, completed grading by about September 1879. Southern Railway assumed control of the line in 1902. A group of local residents purchased the line for $40,000 in 1924, even though the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) appraised the line at $120,000. A local businessman, B.R. Anderson, purchased the line in 1990.
The genesis for the Indiana, Alabama & Texas Railroad dates to the late 1860s and 1870s. The railroad formally emerged after merging three lines: the Mobile, Clarksville & Evansville Railroad, the Princeton & Ohio River Railroad and another company named the Indiana, Alabama & Texas Railroad. The railroad was unable to raise the capital needed to build much of a railroad and completed only about 30 miles of narrow gauge line between Clarksville, Tennessee, and Gracey, Kentucky, by 1886, when the Louisville & Nashville purchased the line. The Louisville & Nashville subsequently broadened the railroad to standard gauge and abandoned the route in May 1933.
The Lexington & Ohio Railroad was the first railroad in Kentucky, and its charter proposed establishing a link between Lexington and Louisville at the Falls of the Ohio by way of Frankfort. The line's first rails were laid by October 1831, and two miles were in operation by August 1832; the railroad initially used horse-drawn trains. The line to Frankfort was completed by January 1834. While work on the line from Frankfort to Louisville began in 1835, the entire line was never completed, and it collapsed in the wake of the Panic of 1837, and the commonwealth acquired operations and then leased the line. The Lexington & Frankfort Railroad acquired the Lexington & Ohio on February 29, 1848, and subsequently merged with the Louisville & Frankfort Railroads to form the Louisville, Cincinnati and Lexington Railroad.
The Loganville & Lawrenceville Railroad was incorporated on March 30, 1898, and its 10.33-mile line between Loganville and Lawrenceville, Georgia, opened for operations on December 1, 1898. The Seaboard & Roanoke Railroad and the Raleigh & Gaston Railroad, subsidiaries of the Seaboard Air Line Railway, began leasing the line in 1898. The Seaboard Air Line Railway acquired the line in February 1902. The Loganville & Lawrenceville Railroad was abandoned in 1932.
The Louisville & Nashville Railroad (L&N) was incorporated in 1850 and built a rail line between Louisville, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee. Over time, it built or purchased various branches. In 1902, financier J.P. Morgan delivered control of the Louisville & Nashville to its rival, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. However, the Louisville & Nashville continued to operate independently. In 1971, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad's successor, the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad, purchased the remainder of the Louisville & Nashville shares it did not own, making the company a subsidiary. By 1982, the Seaboard Coast Line absorbed the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. In 1986, the Seaboard System merged with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to form the Chessie System. The combined company became CSX Transportation.
On February 4, 1852, the state of Tennessee chartered the Nashville & Memphis Railroad to build a line between Memphis and Paris, Tennessee, roughly 60 miles west of Clarksville and 130 miles east of Memphis. On Dec. 16, 1853, the Tennessee Legislature passed an act allowing the railroad to change its name to the Memphis & Louisville Railroad. On Jan. 24, 1854, the railroad's board of directors decided to change its name once again, this time to the Memphis & Ohio. The line would ultimately connect with the Memphis, Clarksville & Louisville at Paris. The Louisville & Nashville seized an opportunity to buy the line on July 1, 1867, after the Memphis & Ohio Railroad defaulted on its interest payments.
The state of Tennessee chartered the Memphis, Clarksville & Louisville Railroad to build a line between Paris, Tennessee, and the Tennessee-Kentucky state line. The railroad would connect with the Memphis & Ohio in Paris, Tennessee, and the Louisville & Nashville's Memphis Branch at Guthrie, Kentucky, to create a Louisville-to-Memphis line. The railroad began operations in 1859 and completed its line in November 1861. The Louisville & Nashville supported the Memphis, Clarksville & Louisville from its inception, and the Louisville & Nashville purchased the Memphis, Clarksville & Louisville in 1871.
The Monroe Railroad and Banking Company chartered in December 1833. However, it was not until 1838 that it opened for business with a five-foot gauge line from Macon, Georgia, to Forsyth, Georgia. It extended to Griffin in 1842. However, an economic depression halted construction, but when the railroad started building again, it managed only another 11.25 miles toward Atlanta before falling into bankruptcy. After it was purchased in foreclosure, the railroad changed its in 1845 to the Macon & Western Railroad. This new railroad built 21 more miles of track to complete the line to Atlanta. The Central Railroad and Banking Company of Georgia bought the line in 1872.
The Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad was chartered on Dec. 11, 1845, to build a five-foot gauge line between its two namesake cities and was Tennessee’s first railroad. Its first train, pulled by a locomotive named Tennessee, operated in April 1851 between Nashville and Antioch. After the Civil War, the railroad acquired other companies, and in 1873, the company amended its name to the larger sounding Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway. Despite its new name, the railroad did not St. Louis, and in 1880, the rival Louisville & Nashville Railroad obtained a controlling interest in the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway. However, the two lines remained independent until they merged in 1957.
The Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway began as the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, chartered in Nashville, Tennessee, on December 11, 1845. Built to five-foot gauge, the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis was the first railway to operate in Tennessee. In 1880, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad took a controlling interest through a hostile stock takeover. The railroads operated separately until merging in 1957.
The New Jersey & New York Railroad traces its origins to the Hackensack and New York Railroad, which was chartered in 1856 and eventually operated between Rutherford, New Jersey, and Hackensack, New Jersey. In 1866, the company rechartered as the Hackensack and New York Extension Railroad and later reorganized as the New Jersey and New York Railroad. It extended its line north of Hackensack, reaching the village of Haverstraw by 1887. The Erie Railroad leased the railroad for 99 years starting in 1896, and it remained an Erie subsidiary until 1960 when the Erie merged to create the Erie Lackawanna Railroad, which subsequently merged in 1976 to form Conrail. Today, the line between Hackensack and Spring Valley, New York, is part of N.J. Transit’s Pascack Valley Line.
The state of New Jersey chartered the New Jersey Rail Road and Transportation Company on March 7, 1832, to build a line paralleling the Camden & Amboy. The new line would terminate at Jersey City across from New York City. The Camden & Amboy, worried about competition, exerted its influence in the state legislature, and the New Jersey Rail Road only built between New Brunswick and Jersey City. In early 1867, the Camden & Amboy and the New Jersey Rail Road and Transportation Company combined to make up the United New Jersey Railroad and Canal Company, which the Pennsylvania Railroad leased in 1871 for 999 years.
The Paducah, Tennessee & Alabama was created following a July 1889 consolidation of several earlier companies. However, by the end of October 1893, a federal judge appointed a receiver for the road following a lawsuit filed by creditors in St. Louis. The move made it a prime candidate for a takeover. In October 1895, J.W. Phillips of St. Louis purchased the company for $1 million. He also secured the Tennessee Midland with the intent of merging the lines into a single company. It was soon revealed the Louisville & Nashville was behind the acquisition. The owner resold the companies to the Louisville & Nashville on December 14, 1895.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly chartered the Philadelphia & Trenton Railroad on February 23, 1832, to build a line between Kensington, Pennsylvania, and the Trenton Bridge at Morrisville, Pennsylvania. On April 16, 1834, the Philadelphia & Trenton Railroad opened an eight-mile stretch between Morrisville and Bristol, using horses to pull trains. In 1836, the Camden & Amboy gained a controlling interest in the line. On June 30, 1871, the Pennsylvania Railroad leased the Philadelphia & Trenton and started operating the line on December 1, 1871. A portion of the line folded into what is today the Northeast Corridor.
The Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad was created through the merger of four earlier railroads: the Philadelphia and Delaware County Rail-Road Company; the Baltimore and Port Deposit Rail Road Company; the Delaware and Maryland Rail Road Company; and the Wilmington and Susquehanna Rail Road Company. The new line formed a single road between Philadelphia and Baltimore. The Pennsylvania Railroad took control of the company in 1881 following a fight with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. In 1902, the Pennsylvania Railroad merged the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore and the Baltimore & Potomac railroads to create the Philadelphia, Baltimore & Washington Railroad.
The Rome Railroad incorporated in December 1839 as the Memphis Branch Railroad and Steamboat Company of Georgia. The 18-mile-long line opened in December 1849 between Rome and Kingston, Georgia, where it interchanged with the Western & Atlantic Railroad. The Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway purchased the railroad circa 1894 and effectively operated it as an extension Western & Atlantic, which it leased from the state of Georgia starting in 1890. A Rome Railroad locomotive, the William R. Smith, played an important role in the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862 during the Civil War. The Interstate Commerce Commission granted approval for the railroad to abandon the line in 1943.
The Roswell Railroad was chartered on April 10, 1863, but it wasn’t until Sept. 1, 1881, that the railroad began operations. The line operated from Roswell Junction, where it connected with the Atlanta and Charlotte Air Line Railway (in modern-day Chamblee), and the Chattahoochee River (near Roberts Drive in present-day Sandy Springs). In 1902, the 2.7-mile-long Bull Sluice Railroad branched off near Dunwoody to help the Georgia Railway and Power Company build its hydroelectric Morgan Falls Dam. The railroad initially built the line to a narrow, three-foot gauge; it was broadened to standard gauge circa 1903. The railroad likely operated a combination passenger coach and baggage car, two boxcars and four flat cars. Ike Roberts served as the railroad’s only engineer. The federal government operated the railroad between Jan. 1, 1918, and March 1, 1920, and afterward, the railroad determined it was no longer a viable line; it ceased operations in 1921.
The Seaboard Air Line Belt Railroad began after a court barred the Georgia, Carolina & Northern Railway, building toward Atlanta from Monroe, North Carolina, from building into Atlanta in 1892. The belt line was chartered in 1892 to build an eight-mile-long line between the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway (the Western & Atlantic Railroad) at Howells and Belt Junction, Georgia, located near Emory University. The Georgia, Carolina & Northern used Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis tracks to enter Atlanta.
The Tallulah Falls Railway traces was organized in March 1898 to buy the Blue Ridge & Atlantic Railroad and extend it to Franklin, North Carolina. The Blue Ridge & Atlantic laid tracks from Cornelia, Georgia, to Tallulah Falls, Georgia. The Tallulah Falls successfully extended tracks to the North Carolina State line in early 1904 and Franklin in June 1907. However, a receiver was appointed for the 57.2-mile-long line in January 1908. Southern Railway took control of the reorganized line. The railroad was not successful throughout its history and was known as “The TF” and “TF & Huckleberry.” The railroad switched from steam power to diesel in 1948, and it ran its final run on March 25, 1961.
The Walton Railroad was incorporated on Aug. 17, 1872, and amended later to build a 10-mile line between Monroe and Social Circle, Georgia. By 1874, work on the railroad was underway. The railroad’s operations commenced on Sept. 1, 1880. In 1884, the Walton Railroad consolidated with the Gainesville, Jefferson & Southern Railroad. At that time, workers changed the line from standard gauge to narrow gauge to match the Gainesville, Jefferson & Southern Railroad.
The state of Georgia chartered the Western & Atlantic Railroad on December 21, 1836, and the state-owned line eventually built a railroad between Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tennessee. The railroad, which formally opened on May 9, 1850, was instrumental for the founding and location of Atlanta, helping it grow from railroad crossroads to a logistics hub. The Western & Atlantic was an integral road during the Civil War. On April 12, 1862, Union spies stole a locomotive with the intent of destroying the line. The state leased the line to a private company for the first time in 1870. CSX Transportation currently leases the line from the state of Georgia.