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.