By Todd DeFeo
WARNER ROBINS, Ga. – Trains first passed through Warner Robins in 1889 when the Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad opened between Macon, Ga., and Valdosta, Ga.
The railroad was chartered in 1885 with the idea of building a railroad between Macon and Palatka, Fla. Tracks between Valdosta and Palatka opened in 1890. And five years later, in 1895, Southern Railway assumed control of the railroad as financial troubles grew.
At that time, Warner Robins was known as Wellston and was little more than a whistle stop on the railroad. However, on March 5, 1943, the city of Warner Robins was incorporated as Robins Air Force Base was being built in the area.
In 1944, a brick depot opened in Warner Robins, replacing a smaller structure. Though not used by the railroad since 1970, the depot is today home to Warner Robins’ Welcome Center.
Norfolk Southern today operates the Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad as one of its subsidiaries. Tracks connect Macon and Lake City, Fla.