Organized as the Atlanta & Hawkinsville Railroad in July 1886, the enterprise changed its name in 1887 to the Atlanta & Florida Railroad. The 105-mile standard-gauge line opened to Fayetteville in late 1887 and to Fort Valley in November 1888. An extension from the latter town to Cordele was planned, but never built.
In the 1889 edition of The Official Railway List, the Atlanta & Florida reported operating 5 locomotives, 4 passenger cars, and 91 freight and miscellaneous cars.
In the 1894 edition it reported 7 locomotives, 6 passenger cars, and 256 freight and miscellaneous cars.
Rather than construct its own freight and passenger facilities in Atlanta, the A&F made an agreement with the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia to use that company's stations.
The road was reorganized as the Atlanta & Florida Railway in 1893. In June 1895, it was purchased by J.P. Morgan and soon consolidated into the new Southern Railway, becoming that company's Fort Valley branch line.
The A&F entered Atlanta at Roseland, a community near the junction of McDonough Blvd. and Jonesboro Rd.
Most of the railroad has long been abandoned. Service on the northern section, from Roseland to Williamson, ended in 1939. The section between Williamson and Roberta was abandoned in 1977.