Alabama Great Southern Railroad

The Alabama Great Southern Railroad Company, Ltd., a British company, was organized in 1877 by railroad investor Emile Erlanger as the successor to the Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad. The A&C had completed about 230 miles of a planned 293-mile line from Chattanooga to Meridian, Miss. About 25 of these miles were in Georgia, including a section from Trenton to Wauhatchie that had been built in 1860 as the Wills Valley Railroad.

In the late nineteenth century, the AGS was one of the five railroads that comprised the Queen and Crescent Route between Cincinnati, the Queen City of the Midwest, and New Orleans, the Crescent City.

In April, 1890 the East Tennesee, Virginia and Georgia Railway and the Richmond and Danville Railroad purchased a controlling interest in the AGS. After 1895 it was controlled by the Southern Railway, successor to the R&D and ETV&G. Today it is in operation as a branch of Norfolk Southern Railway.

4-6-0 express engine built for the AGS by American Locomotive Company in the early 1900s. (From Railway and Locomotive Engineering, August 1905).

Poor’s 1917 Manual indicated the company had 90 locomotives and over 5000 railcars.

Maps and Timetables:

1883 map (30K)

1895 timetable (113K)

1916 map at University of Alabama Map Library

1968 map, Dade County (355K)

The 1891 Alabama Great Southern depot at Fort Payne, AL, 33 miles down the line from Trenton, GA, is now a history museum.

Suggested Reading:

Wayne Cline. Alabama Railroads. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1997.

Valley Head and the Railroad at vhhgfamilyhistory.org


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