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 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 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 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 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.