The A&B was originally chartered on Oct. 24, 1887 as the Waycross Air Line Railroad. Its first section of track, a 25-mile stretch from Waycross to Sessoms, opened in 1890. The line was extended to Nicholls in 1897, to Douglas in 1900, and to Fitzgerald in 1901. In November of 1901, the railroad’s charter was amended to authorize an extension to Birmingham and to change the name to Atlantic & Birmingham Railroad.
The first section of line under the enlarged charter powers was completed between Fitzgerald and Cordele on May 25, 1902. Cordele to Montezuma, 31 miles, was put into operation in March, 1903, and surveys were being pushed from Montezuma to Birmingham in that same year. (Poors 1903 and 1905 Manuals).
In 1903 the A&B purchased the Tifton & Northeastern Railroad and the Tifton, Thomasville & Gulf Railway. These were merged into the parent company, which was renamed the Atlantic & Birmingham Railway.
In March, 1904, the A&B bought the Brunswick & Birmingham Railroad, which operated lines from Brunswick to Nicholls and from Bushnell to the Alapaha River at Crystal Lake. This purchase gave the railroad an important connection to the port at Brunswick.
In 1905 the Atlanta, Birmingham & Atlantic Railroad was organized to buy the A&B and extend it west to Birmingham and north to Atlanta. At the time, the A&B was a 340-mile system with tracks from Brunswick to Montezuma, Waycross to Nicholls, Fitzgerald to Thomasville, and Bushnell to Crystal Lake.
Maps and Timetables:
1903 system map (303K)
1903 timetable (211K)
1904 Hammond map (68K)
1904 system map (250K)
1904 timetable (524K)
1904 Crowell map (180K)
1905 Rand McNally map, Brunswick to Fitzgerald (314K)
1905 Rand McNally map, Fitzgerald to Montezuma (313K)