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.
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