By Todd DeFeo
MACON, Ga. – Railroads in this central Georgia city date to 1838 when the Monroe Railroad opened between Forsyth and Macon.
Macon, partly because of its location, was a major railroad hub and served a connection point between several railroads.
Years after the Monroe Railroad, in 1842 or 1843 the Central railroad was completed to Savannah. The route proved to be an important one because it gave Macon direct access to a key Atlantic port.
A later incarnation of the Monroe Railroad, the Macon & Western Railroad, started operating train between Macon and Atlanta in 1846. The railroad later became a part of the Central of Georgia Railway.
In 1845, the Southwestern Railroad started building its line from Macon to Southwestern Georgia.
By 1867, the Macon & Brunswick Railroad was operating trains between Macon and Hawkinsville, about 50 miles away. The East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad in 1881 purchased the Macon & Brunswick Railroad.
Three years later, the Macon & Augusta Railroad started building its line between its two namesake cities. In 1873, the Georgia Railroad opened a branch to Macon, in part operating over the Macon & Augusta Railroad.
In 1885, the Macon, Dublin & Savannah railroad was chartered. Six years later, the railroad opened a line between Macon and Vidalia, and in 1904, the Atlantic Coast Line took control of the railroad.
That same year, the Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad opened its line between Macon and Valdosta.
Perhaps Macon’s most visible railroad relic is Terminal Station.
Built in 1916, the building once served hundreds of passenger trains from several railroads over the years, including Southern Railway and Central of Georgia Railway.
The building remained in operation until the 1970s, around the time the last passenger train departed from Macon. Today, the city owns the historic structure.
Today, city leaders hope to revitalize passenger railroad service between Atlanta and Macon.
Published in the October 2005 edition of The Cross-Tie.