The Columbus & Rome Railroad, a narrow gauge line organized in 1871 as the North & South Railroad, opened its first section sometime around 1873. This 20-mile
stretch north of Columbus was extended about three miles to Hamilton
The railroad entered receivership in 1874 but construction slowly continued. In March 1882 the company was reorganized and renamed the Columbus & Rome Railway, and the tracks were extended to Chipley (now Pine Mountain) that same year. By early 1885 the line reached 17 additional miles to Greenville.
In 1889 the railroad had 4 locomotives, 5 passenger cars, and 41 freight and miscellaneous cars.
While operating its 51 miles of 3-foot gauge line between Columbus and Greenville, the C&R came under the control of the Central of Georgia. It was merged into that company's Savannah & Western Railroad in 1888. In 1895 the S&W was sold at judicial sale and conveyed to the reorganized Central.
In 1905-06, the Central extended the railroad north from Greenville to Raymond and converted the entire line to standard gauge.