In 1889, the Savannah, Americus & Montgomery Railway obtained a charter for a new railroad, the Albany, Florida & Northern Railway, which would connect with its main line at Cordele. Two years later, in 1891, the AF&N opened the 35-mile line between Albany and Cordele. The following year the line was leased to the SA&M.
According to Poors 1891 Manual, the AF&N planned to extend the line from Albany via Bainbridge to the Gulf coast, from Albany via Quitman to Florida, and from Cordele via Augusta to South Carolina. The company’s president was Nelson Tift, a leading citizen of Albany.
The SA&M entered receivership in 1892 and was sold under foreclosure in 1895 to an investor group who reorganized the line as the Georgia & Alabama Railway. The Cordele-Albany line was not included and was spun off as a separate independent company, the Albany & Northern Railway.